in good Meet Your Doctor Amherst Town Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein reflects on his 46 years as medical doctor and how he transitioned from medicine to politics — and what he will do when his term as supervisor ends later this year
July 2017 • Issue 33
Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
on the Rise 100 ‘Deadliest Days’
AAA says more teens die in crashes between Memorial Day and Labor Day than in any other time of the year
Practitioners say more people are benefiting from integrative medicine. Over 30 percent of adults and approximately 12 percent of children use nonWestern health care, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Take a Ride on the Healthy Side of Food Trucks Garden Walk Buffalo
City comes alive with brilliant natural colors during the Garden Walk July 29-30
What My Garden Has Taught Me Author of “Live Alone and Thrive” talks about lessons learned while gardening
Ginger It’s official: ginger can enhance calorie burn and reduce feelings of hunger. Studies have linked ginger to positive changes in cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, inflammatory proteins and liver health. See SmartBites inside
Aesthetics and modesty aside, what health benefits do bras provide, if any? We interviewed several experts. See WOMEN’S HEALTH inside
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amilies seeking to cool off don’t expect to pick up a nasty infection. Yet, outbreaks of a diarrhea-causing parasitic infection have doubled in recent years at swimming pools and water playgrounds in the United States, health officials warn. At least 32 outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis were reported in 2016, compared with 16 outbreaks in 2014, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Crypto is the most common cause of diarrhea, the CDC says. It spreads when people come in contact with the feces of an infected person. Otherwise healthy people can be sick for up to three weeks with watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting, the CDC warns. The infection can become life-threatening in people with compromised immune systems. The cause? Adults or children sick with Crypto-caused diarrhea are swimming in public pools despite their illness and further spreading the parasite, said Michele Hlavsa,
chief of the CDC’s healthy swimming program. During a diarrheal incident, “a typical person who’s sick with Cryptosporidium can release 10 million to 100 million oocysts, which is the infectious stage of Crypto,” Hlavsa said. “Swallowing 10 or fewer of these oocysts can make you sick. Looking at a typical-sized pool, even swallowing a mouthful of water can make us sick.” People also can contaminate pool water with Crypto through physical contact, said Lilly Kan, senior director of infectious disease and informatics with the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO). The findings were published May 19 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. People should not swim if they are sick with diarrhea, and they should keep children with diarrhea out of the pool, Hlavsa said. If they have been diagnosed with Crypto, they should wait two weeks after diarrhea has stopped to go swimming.
If you think something is wrong with this picture, you should see what’s being served up in stores. Tobacco companies spend billions on colorful signs, special discounts and promotions in stores where kids can see them. And the more kids see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking. It’s time for tobacco marketing to hit the road.
Tobacco companies place most of their advertising in stores where
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shop at least once per week
facebook.com/TobaccoFreeNYS Page 2
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • July 2017
TAKE CHARGE Get Informed More than 60 million Americans have some form of heart disease. Heart disease is hereditary in some cases. But in many cases, making healthy lifestyle choices may help reduce the risk of getting heart disease. If you have more questions, you should talk to your provider.
Partner with Your Provider To determine whether you have a heart condition, your health care provider will do diagnostic tests and procedures. If you have heart disease or have had a stroke, members of your family may also be at higher risk of having the disease. It’s very important to make healthy choices now to lower risk.
Be Heart Smart A healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons in the fight against heart disease. Here are healthy tips that help protect your cardiovascular system. ♥Get Active ♥Eat Better ♥Lose Weight ♥Control Cholesterol ♥Manage Blood Pressure
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Always talk with your doctor(s) about the care that is right for you. This material does not replace your doctor’s advice. Source: www.Heart.org.
WellCare (HMO) is a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in WellCare (HMO) depends on contract renewal. A sales person will be present with information and applications. For accommodation of persons with special needs at sales meetings, call 1-877-6993552 (TTY 711). There is no obligation to enroll. Please contact WellCare for details. WellCare complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. ATTENTION: If you speak a language other than English, language assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-877-374-4056 (TTY: 711) ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-877-374-4056 (TTY: 711). 注意：如果您使用繁體中文，您可以免費獲得語言援助服務 。請致電 1-877-374-4056 (TTY: 711) 。 Y0070_NA029115_WCM_FLY_ENG CMS Accepted 05242015
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IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Anti-Stigma Coalition Launches Campaign
“Join The Conversation” is a new platform aimed at stopping stigma surrounding mental health
he Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition has recently launched “Join the Conversation,” a public awareness campaign to address the stigma surrounding mental illness. The campaign is designed to start a community conversation to educate the public on the real facts surrounding mental illness and give those who suffer a voice in an effort to reduce or eliminate stigma in Erie County. Fifteen well-known community organizations came together in the fall of 2015 to form the coalition. “We came together in the pursuit of one common goal to change how people in our community view mental illness in order to reduce or eliminate stigma in Erie County and Western New York,” said coalition chairman, Max Donatelli, “ Mental illness is a disease. As with any disease, prevention, early intervention and treatment save lives. Stigma is a known barrier to seeking and receiving treatment. The coalition believes normalizing the conversation around mental health issues is the first step in helping those who suffer get help and leads to creating a healthier community for all. According to Michael Ranney, Erie County commissioner of mental health and coalition member, “Approximately one in five Western New Yorkers are living with a mental health condition. Yet many of these people suffer in silence because of the discrimination that goes along with it. By starting a community conversation where people can share their stories, their struggles and their successes, we’re hoping to reduce stigma. Through this effort, we hope that people dealing with mental health
challenges will know they are not alone, help is available and recovery is possible.” Research shows that stigma prevents people from seeking help. It restricts resources from being allocated and it discourages others from lending their support. One of the best ways to stop the stigma is to learn more about mental illness. Separating the truth from the stigma can help increase awareness, understanding and acceptance for those who live with a mental health challenge. The cornerstone of the campaign is the website www.letstalkstigma. org and its social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where individuals can find facts, information, other people’s stories and experiences, available resources and, of course, a place to join the conversation. Coalition founding partners are: • BryLin Behavioral Health System • Children’s Mental Health Coalition of Western New York, Inc. • Community Partners of Western New York • Compeer • Crisis Services of Erie County • Erie County Department of Mental Health • Erie County Office for People with Disabilities • Fellows Action Network • Fuerst Consulting Corporation • Jewish Family Service of Buffalo & Erie County • Mental Health Association of Erie County • Millennium Collaborative Care • Preventionfocus, Inc. • Telesco Creative Group • The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation
Breast cancer survivor yoga seminar The Breast Cancer Network of WNY is conducting the third of its planned 10-part educational seminar series about the benefits of yoga to cancer patients. The seminar will feature Julia Kress of the Himalayan Institute presenting on “The Benefits of Yoga for Breast Cancer Survivors.” This free program will begin at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, July 5, at The Catholic Health Administration Building, 144 Genesee St., Buffalo. Light refreshments will be offered. Free parking is available in the Catholic Health Genesee Street parking ramp. Registration is available by calling 716-706-0060 or online at www.bcnwny.org. The Breast Cancer Network of WNY, a local nonprofit organization, has scheduled monthly seminars that focus on wellness for breast cancer survivors. A complete list of the seminars can be found at www. bcnwny.org. The seminar series is supported with funds from the New York state.
Amyloidosis Support group meets in Rochester The Amyloidosis Support group will hold its annual meeting from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., July 15, at the Weiner Conference at Rochester General Hospital, 1425 Portland Ave. in Rochester Amyloidosis is a life threatening, rare illness. According to Mayo Clinic, amyloid is an abnormal protein that is usually produced in the bone marrow and can be deposited in any tissue or organ. Symptoms depend on which organs are affected. They may include swelling, fatigue and weakness, shortness of breath, and numbness, tingling, or pain in the hands or feet. Guest speaker will be hematologist Ron Go from Mayo Clinic. For more information, send an email to MaryAnn Kraft at email@example.com or Muriel Finkel at info@ amyloidosissupport.com. Complimentary light breakfast & lunch provided.
Amherst Senior Center holds summer courses Several courses will be offered this summer by Amherst Senior Center. The organization, located at 370 John James Audubon Pkwy., in Amherst, has published a catalog listing all the courses. Among them: • Woodcarving for Beginners, starting June 7 • Astrology, starting July 6 • Computer Use/Basics, starting June 2 • Using the Internet, starting Aug. 4
• Voice Lessons, starting June 26 • Handmade Greeting Cards, starting June 21 • Pressed Flower Creations, starting July 24 • AARP Driver Safety Class, starting June 28 Check the course catalog online at the town of Amherst website at www. amherst.ny.us by clicking on the “Senior Services Department.”
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IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • July 2017
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It’s now fifth-leading cause of cancer death in men and No. 8 among women
iver cancer is the fastestgrowing cause of cancer deaths in the United States, a new study reports. Liver cancer cases have been on the rise since the mid-1970s, a trend expected to continue through at least 2030. Death rates from the disease have doubled since the mid-1980s — the fastest increase of any cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, which conducted the study. About 41,000 new cases of liver cancer and 29,000 deaths from the disease are projected in the United States this year, the cancer society said. Liver cancer is now the fifthleading cause of cancer death in men and the eighth-leading cause in women. About 1 percent of people will be diagnosed with the disease during their lives. Only one in five survives five years after diagnosis,
said the researchers led by physician Farhad Islami. Islami is strategic director of cancer surveillance research and health services research at the cancer society. A key reason for the liver cancer surge is a higher rate of hepatitis C virus infection among baby boomers. Among people born between 1945 and 1965, 2.6 percent have hepatitis C, a rate six times higher than among other adults. Rising rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes have also contributed. Other risk factors for liver cancer include alcohol, which increases risk by about 10 percent per drink per day, and tobacco use, which increases liver cancer risk by about 50 percent, according to the findings. The study was published June 8 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
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IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
By Chris Motola
Barry A. Weinstein, M.D. Nearly a Third of Drugs Hit by Safety Issues After FDA Approval Study found serious side effects often arose after medications OK’d for sale
afety problems emerge with nearly one in three prescription drugs after they’ve been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a new study reveals. Researchers examined data on drugs approved by the FDA between 2001 and 2010, with follow-up through 2017. The investigators found that 32 percent of the drugs had safety issues after approval. “That is very rarely a drug withdrawal, but more commonly a black-box warning or drug safety communication issued by the FDA to let physicians and patients know that new safety information has been determined,” said study leader, physician Joseph Ross. He is an associate professor of medicine and public health at Yale University. Of 222 drugs approved by the agency during the study period, three were withdrawn, 61 received boxed warnings and 59 prompted safety communications, the findings showed. Drugs most likely to have postapproval safety concerns included biologics, psychiatric drugs and medicines approved through the FDA’s accelerated approval process. The report is timely because the FDA is under pressure to accelerate drug approvals, the study authors noted. “It shows that there is the potential for compromising patient safety when drug evaluation is persistently sped up,” Ross said in a university news release. At the very least, the study should inform the ongoing debate about pre-market drug evaluation, the researchers suggested. To assess experimental drugs for safety and effectiveness, the FDA relies on pre-market drug testing and clinical trials. Most of the trials involve fewer than 1,000 patients studied over a period of six months or less. This makes it hard to detect safety issues that might surface once more patients use the drug over a longer time period, the researchers explained.
Amherst town supervisor reflects on his 46 years as medical doctor and how he transitioned from medicine to politics — and what he will do when his term as supervisor ends later this year Q: How did you make the transition from medicine to politics? A: I was first elected to the school board in 1982 and later elected to county legislature in 1997, and then the town supervisor position in 2007. I’d been practicing medicine for 46 years. I retired last year. So I didn’t move from one to the other; I did them both. Q: What initially led you to want to become more involved in local politics. A: I wanted to serve the community. Q: To what degree are the skills between medicine and politics transferrable? A: The 200,000 patient contacts I’ve had have certainly given me a lot of practice in dealing with people one-on-one, or one-on-two. I’m much stronger at answering questions than I am at giving speeches. Mostly my law background helped me in terms of politics. Q: Were you practicing law at the same time you were in medical practice? A: I practiced law in the ‘80s and ‘90s. I did some medical law, real estate law. But mostly law school taught me how to read, write and speak properly. Q: Do you miss medicine? A: I miss helping people with some of the most significant issues of their lives. I also miss all the advice and opportunities. Q: What have been some of the major issues you’ve dealt with as town supervisor? A: At my three
different levels of political experience I dealt with cultural diversity. Excellence in education at the school board level. At the county level, I dealt with the budget crisis of 20042005. At the town level, I’ve had a number of successes in reducing expenses and reducing taxes while retaining services. Q: Have you encountered any complications due to the rapid political changes in health care law? A: Under my leadership we went to self-insured some years ago. We’ve had almost no change in our health insurance costs since then, with the exception of the bludgeoning we’re getting, along with everyone else, from the drug companies. So I was able to make a difference there. Q: Can you expand on what self-insurance looks like in your jurisdiction? A: We have over 600 policies. We’re a large enough group that we could be self-insured. We budgeted so much for our health insurance and we’re able to come in beneath that amount. We’ve done very well. We’ve had only one increase in our insurance premiums, 3-5 percent just last year. Q: Do you think that’s something other towns can mimic? A: You need a certain amount of employees in order to have an adequate group. The County of Erie could do it if they haven’t already. You need enough contracts to make it work. That’s what health insurance companies do. They combine smaller entities and sell a policy and make a profit or put it into their reserves.
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • July 2017
Q: Looking back on your medical career, what’s changed from the time you got into the medicine to the time you got out?
A: Medicine’s changed a lot. I went in in 1970, spent 46 years seeing patients. It’s changed substantially and I changed with it for a number of years. For example, around the time I went into politics, I stopped going into hospitals. I found the hospital specialists were much more efficient at inpatient care than I was. I stopped excepting new patients so that much practice started to shrink. Q: Are you involved in any physician groups? A: I’m not a member of any physician organizations anymore. I’ve been out of touch with them for about a decade at least. Q: What do you want your political legacy to be? A: We showed that ordinary people could lower the cost of running a municipality. We lowered the costs by over $3 million and reduced the tax levies. We tried to show that anybody could do it. Q: Was the self-insurance one of the causes or effects of that? A: Health insurance was one of a number of areas where we lowered costs. It was mostly to stem the spiral of out-of-control health care costs. They were going up 10, 15 percent a year, year after year. We bid out our administrative costs. We bid out our pharmacy component. So we actively lowered costs. We negotiated with the hospital providers. Q: Knowing what you do now, if you were to reenter medicine as a young doctor, what would you do differently? A: I would probably join a group and focus on seeing patients. Let the group take care of the business aspects. I did all of that for the last 40 years. Q: Do you see yourself staying in politics in some capacity? A: I’m term-limited, so this is my last year as town supervisor. I’m not planning on running for anything next year. Last year I went from two full-time jobs to one. Next year, I’m going from one to none. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with myself. In politics you have to wait for a proper opening, so you never know what’s going to happen. I don’t think I’ll be going back to medicine anytime soon. We’ll see what happens.
Name: Barry A. Weinstein, M.D. Position: Amherst Town Supervisor Hometown: New Rochelle, NY Education: SUNY Buffalo. Bachelor’s degree, 1965; medical degree, 1969; law school, 1976 Affiliations: N/A Career: Emergency room physician, Rochester, 1970-1973; ER physician, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, 1974-1975; family medical practice, 1973-2016; Erie County legislator, 19982007; Amherst councilman, 2008-2009; Amherst town supervisor, 2010-present; interim purchasing director, 2010-2016 Organizations: Erie County Industrial Development Agency; Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority; various town committees Family: Four daughters; seven grandchildren Hobbies: Golf (Westwood Country Club champion 1985, 1987)
Smartphone: How to Tell If It’s Become Your BFF? Cleveland Clinic: Cell phone overuse can be just like any other kind of addiction
s great as smartphones are, you can get too attached to the gadgets. According to experts at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Behavioral Health, cell phone overuse can be just like any other kind of addiction. And here are two warning signs: your smartphone is interfering with your life, and you get withdrawal symptoms when you try cutting back. Ask yourself these questions to check on the health of your relationship with your phone. • Is using your smartphone getting in the way of work or making it hard to concentrate on tasks? • Do you think about your
smartphone even when you’re not using it? • Do you feel impatient and irritable if you’re not holding it? • Do you check your phone constantly, and for longer than you intended? Do family members say you use it too much? If your smartphone use is in the danger zone, take steps to cut back. Try to set aside a few hours of no-phone time every day. Set goals and keep track of what you’re doing without your phone, such as reading or being with your family. Set aside time at the end of the day for relaxing activities like meditation or listening to music. Turn your phone off during these
breaks. If that’s too stressful, then turn off the alerts. Above all, don’t let your phone interfere with getting enough restful sleep. Stop using it at least an hour before you go to sleep — looking at gadget screens too close to bedtime can interfere with the body’s natural
process of winding down before bed in anticipation of shuteye. And be sure not to charge it in your bedroom if you charge it overnight so that it can’t wake you if you get a message. Editor’s Note: BFF stands for “best friends forever.”
Healthcare in a Minute By George W. Chapman
The Republican-controlled Senate is planning to vote on a revised American Health Care Act bill by the end of June. (This may or may not have happened by the time you read this.) Congress goes into summer recess July 4. The Senate seems to be rushing this through without much analysis, especially after the Congressional Budget Office projected 23 million people would lose their insurance if the ACHC passes as is. Political insiders think the Senate wants to vote before recess (get it out of the way) so it can concentrate on other issues like tax reform and infrastructure funding when they return to work. If the bill is put up for vote before recess and does not pass the Senate, many believe nothing or little will be done until much later in the year. Consequently, the ACA (ObamaCare) would remain law of the land.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed to ban any insurer from participating in NYS Medicaid if they exit from the NYS insurance exchange where individuals go to buy insurance, sometimes subsidized depending on income. The ban does not prohibit insurers from selling employer-based health insurance. The ban extends to any contracting with state agencies. Cuomo does not want the state “to go backwards” when it comes to healthcare. Insurers doing business in NYS must continue to provide the 10 essential health benefits and pre-exiting conditions guaranteed under the ACA. The bill currently under consideration in the US Senate (TrumpCare) would allow states to reduce some or all of the 10 essential benefits including hospitalization, mental health, pediatric and maternity services.
NYS Universal Healthcare Bill
Overshadowed by the constant media attention on TrumpCare, on
May 27 the NYS Assembly quietly passed a universal healthcare bill, called the New York Health Act, 92 to 52. The universal health bill would cover the 9.7 million New Yorkers (49 percent of 19.8 million total residents) currently covered through their employers. The remaining 51 percent of New Yorkers are covered by either Medicaid, Medicare, VA or federal employee insurance. Like many states, because of the uncertainty of the AHCA in Washington, NYS is taking matters into its own hands. Proponents estimate it will save New Yorkers money saying the NYHA could be funded by an income assessment averaging 8.1 percent of payroll. Currently, employer contributions to insurance averages 12.8 percent of payroll. Opponents argue it would be more expensive than what employers are paying now. The NYS “normal” budget is expected to be about $82 billion the first year of the NYHA, 2019. Critics figure the NYHA will cost an additional $91 billion and that would prove to be prohibitive. But if the NYS Senate does not pass the bill, all speculation is for naught. To pass, all 31 democrats, virtually half the Senate, would have to vote yes.
New Medicare Fraud
Typically, Medicare fraud is committed by a legitimate provider of care billing for services never provided or by an illegitimate/phony provider billing for services never provided. Now insurance companies can get in on the act. America’s First Choice Holdings of Florida was fined $32 million in a case brought by a whistle blower. Medicare pays Advantage plans a premium for each member enrolled by them. The premium is based on an individual’s claims experience. Basically, the sicker a member (one requiring a lot of services), the higher the premium paid to the Advantage plan by Medicare. In order to maximize premiums received, First Choice “made material misrepresentations”
which means inflating the sickness or utilization score of patients enrolled. United Health Care has also been accused of similar fraud but is fighting Medicare.
Kudos to Crouse Hospital
C-sections are the most common surgeries performed by hospitals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost a third of babies are delivered via Csection and almost half the C-sections performed are unnecessary. Consequently, Health and Human Services has set a goal of 24 percent C-section rate for low-risk births. Only 44 percent of hospitals are currently under 24 percent threshold. Crouse Hospital in Syracuse had the lowest rate in the country at just 6 percent.
Everyone seems to agree drug prices in the US are absurdly high and something has to be done. Both Trump and Clinton campaigned for allowing the US to import cheaper drugs from Canada and other countries. And this would include drugs literally made in the US and imported from other countries back to the US. Drug stocks stumbled when president elect Trump vowed “to bring down drug prices.” This is one of the few things all Americans want and something both parties could agree upon in Congress and get something done. Then the powerful drug lobby reared up. Suddenly, despite reassurances that the FDA would approve imports as it does now, staunch supporters of drug importation developed “real concerns over safety.” One senator had the audacity to proclaim the importation bill didn’t meet his safety standards. Ironically, 40 percent of all drugs sold in the US are already imported from all over the world. The pharmacy manufacturing industry spent over $900 million on lobbying between 1998 and 2005, or well over $100
July 2017 •
million a year. There are about 1,300 registered drug lobbyists which is about 2.4 per member of Congress.
Ideas for Change
Physician Jim Weinstein, CEO of New Hampshire-based DartmouthHitchcock Health, has always been an outspoken advocate for redesigning our faulty healthcare system. Some of his ideas, recently presented at a national healthcare symposium are: 1. Mandate the transparency of a procedure cost and expected outcome. You have the right to know both. 2. Focus on top 5 percent of healthcare utilizers who account for a staggering 50 percent of all costs, while half of us account for just 3 percent. 3. Quickly transition from fee-for-service reimbursement to value-based payments. It’s still all about the almighty buck instead of quality. 4. Require those who make over $100,000 annually to contribute more to their healthcare. Eliminate the maximum taxable earnings for Social Security ($127,200) to shore up Social Security and level the playing field among us. 5. Perform preventive or routine care visits remotely. (Telehealth).The 50 percent of us that consume only 3 percent of costs would be the prime audience. 6. Trump wants to incentivize drug manufacturers to return overseas profits to the US through tax breaks. Drug companies should then establish endowments for people who cannot afford their products. George W. Chapman is a healthcare business consultant who works exclusively with physicians, hospitals and healthcare organizations. He operates GW Chapman Consulting based in Syracuse. Email him at gwc@ gwchapmanconsulting. com.
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Live Alone & Thrive
By Gwenn Voelckers
Practical tips, advice and hope for those who live alone
What My Garden Has Taught Me Gardening is ripe with life lessons for those of us who live alone. It has taught me the value of planning, preparation, patience and pleasure — four essential “P’s” for a bountiful garden and … a bountiful life. Fertile ground exists in each of us, and a little tending can produce beautiful results. Here’s what I have learned: Plan: Realizing the garden of your dreams begins in your imagination, followed by careful planning. Diagram your garden and it will help you avoid planting bulbs on top of bulbs or mistaking a poppy for a weed. Likewise, envisioning your life goals and committing them to writing can help you flourish and grow. Cultivate: Good, cultivated soil promotes healthy, deep roots. When you add fertilizer to your garden and mix it up you are rewarded with abundance. Adding essential ingredients to the foundation of your dream garden (and your dream life) will nourish all that follows.
You can’t go wrong with good, nutritious food; a walk in nature; a good book; soothing music; or saying “yes” to a new adventure that’s been tugging at your heart. Plant: So many choices! Revisit your plan and embed your carefully selected seeds or seedlings with a tender, loving touch, being careful not to overcrowd or plant more than you can manage. And remember: We reap what we sow, so follow your dreams. Plant a rose and you get a rose; plant a dandelion and you get a dandelion. Seed your future with healthy choices that promote wellbeing. Weed: We all need room to breathe and positive space in which to blossom. It holds true for your garden and your life. Gardening is all about consistent caretaking. Slack off, even for a few days, and all things unwelcome show up and take root. Weed out the negativity and any dream-stealing toxins that contaminate your life, dash your hopes, or spoil your fun. When you pull out the bad, you can more easily
Crisis Services: There for the Community 24/7 Nonprofit agency provides support for those in need By Jana Eisenberg
espite its name, the staff at Crisis Services wants everyone in the region to know that you can call its hotline any time, for any reason. You don’t have to be in crisis; you don’t have to be sick in any way. “People can and do call us when they need supportive counseling, information or referrals,” said Jessica Pirro, the nonprofit agency’s chief executive officer. “Our volunteers and staff can walk people through whatever they’re going through — whether they are a potential client or the family, friend or neighbor of someone.” The staff and organization’s expertise encompasses advocacy and assistance with suicide prevention, outreach to the homeless, domestic violence, rape crisis, trauma, and elder abuse, offering a variety of services and programs across many counties in the region. Pirro, who has worked at Crisis Services in a variety of increasingly responsible positions since 2001, also hosts a radio program on VoiceAmerica Internet Radio Network called “The Journey: Stories of Crisis and Hope.” Page 8
A core piece of the organization’s work is 24/7 crisis response. With 80 full- and part-time staff plus 75 professionally trained volunteers, it is considered, along with law enforcement and emergency medical personnel, among the cadre of “first responders” in situations such as suicide, sexual assault, and other mental health and trauma-related occurrences. “When someone dies by suicide, say a student in a school, we offer critical incident stress management,” said Pirro. “So when you hear ‘crisis counselors will be available’—that’s us, usually in partnership with the school.” “We’re also a designated 24-hour responder in rape crises,” Pirro said. “When victims go to the hospital emergency room, we support them — help answer their questions, and afterwards, continue to help with free case management services: we can go to court with them, help them if they need an order of protection, and work through the experience.” Pirro said that one of the agency’s challenges is still stigma
focus on the good in your life. Prune: When weeding is not enough, a major pruning may be just what the arborist ordered. A job, relationship or home that no longer satisfies or meets your needs may need a hard look. It may be time to pull out that pair of “life loppers.” Mulch: Mulching keeps weeds at bay and the ground moist, and returns nutrients to the soil. It also adds a finishing touch. Mulch offers a blanket of protection, in the same way that regular doctor appointments, insurances, and safety measures protect our lives. You can learn a lot from mulching. Wait: We all know that “good things come to those who wait” and it’s not just what comes out of the Heinz ketchup bottle. When you exercise patience, go slowly and enjoy the gradual unfolding of a flower, an idea or a friendship, your life can be savored and more deeply appreciated. Each year, I look to my garden to remind me that growth takes time. Enjoy: Before you know it, your labor of love and patience will pay off. Take pleasure in the transformation as the colors, textures, and fragrances emerge. Too often, we fail to “stop and smell the roses” in our gardens and in our lives. So get busy, then step back and take a good look. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as admiring what you’ve accomplished. It’s reason to celebrate! By osmosis, gardening has taught me how to take better care about discussing and treating mental health. “Our vision is to help to keep the community stable and safe,” she said. “To accomplish this vision, we need the community to invest in it, with both financial donations, and the gift of your time, as volunteers.” Ariel Llewellyn, 25, is one such volunteer. She spends 12-16 hours per month working on the24hour hotline. “Talking to people is something I’m good at — I try to do it to the best of my ability,” said Llewellyn. “The community is my family; when the community thrives, I thrive. Many people in our community feel like they don’t have anyone who cares about them. I want to be that person who does care.” She screens calls for suicide, and gives supportive counseling over the phone. “It’s like a friend, who would give that second opinion. Callers will say, ‘Oh, I didn’t think of it that way,’” said Llewellyn. “And they usually feel better and thank the volunteers. If I think someone’s at high risk, who might harm to themself or others, I will call our outreach department; they can go and do a mental health assessment in the field.” Other areas where Crisis Services is involved include training and education — in schools, on college campuses, and with law enforcement professionals. “On campuses, in our work with sexual violence and prevention work, we educate on healthier sexual behavior and relationships,” said CEO Pirro. “‘Crisis’ can have different definition for each person. People need empathy and compassion,
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • July 2017
of myself. I have absorbed its rich messages and learned how to nurture my inner garden and growth as a women on her own. I encourage you to grab a spade and join me. Beauty, growth, and an energizing sense of renewal can be yours, season after season after season. Gwenn Voelckers is the founder and facilitator of “Live Alone and Thrive,” empowerment workshops for women held throughout the year in Mendon, NY. For information or to contact Voelckers, call 585-6247887 or email: gvoelckers@rochester. rr.com. so that they feel connected and supported,” Pirro summed up. “Hopefully you will never need to access our services, but we want to make sure that everybody always has somebody there for them and are never there alone.”
Jessica Pirro is the chief executive officer of Crisis Services, a local nonprofit that provides round-the-clock help to those who need support. “Our volunteers and staff can walk people through whatever they’re going through — whether they are a potential client or the family, friend or neighbor of someone,” she says.
Tomatoes, Potatoes, Apples…Quail Eggs? Rabbit Meat?
Farmers’ markets throughout the region continue to grow, diversify By Daniel Meyer
Diversity at markets “There are a ton of awesome vendors who aren’t agriculture-
Canadians with the lung disease live about 10 years longer on average, study finds
eople with cystic fibrosis are living longer than ever, but those in Canada live nearly 10 years longer than those in the United States, a new study finds. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive tract. It causes the production of a thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs. This may cause life-threatening lung infections. People with cystic fibrosis also have difficulty properly breaking down and absorbing nutrients from food, the researchers explained. Between 2009 and 2013, the average Canadian with cystic fibrosis lived to just under 51 years. In the United States, someone with the lung disorder could expect to live an average of close to 41 years, the study found.
f you haven’t recently shopped at a local farmers market, there is a very good chance you will be surprised at some of the unique items being peddled by neighborhood vendors. While tomatoes, potatoes, apples, oranges and decorative flowers and plants remain staples, there are many new products available for purchase at farmers markets across Western New York, helping the seasonal marketplaces to grow and diversify in an effort to retain longtime customers while also attracting new patrons. “Variety is the spice of life,” says Jamie Decker, senior director of marketing and business development for the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, the organization that coordinates weekly farmers’ markets in the villages of Hamburg and Blasdell. “Fresh fruit, vegetables, plants and flowers will always be available, but what we’ve done at both of our farmers markets and what you are seeing at other markets in our region is the introduction of products that are helping to broaden your palate and try something new, and I think that is pretty incredible.” Vendors who specialize in selling specific foods and other items not previously available at traditional farmers’ markets report positive feedback from their customers. “There is something for everybody with how things have evolved and changed over the past few years,” says Clara Beiler, one of several family members who owns and maintains Jara Farms in Alfred. “We sell our products at five different markets, including the Clinton Bailey Farmers Market in the city of Buffalo. Some people are amazed at what we have because it’s not your typical fruits, veggies, plants and flowers. I think what I like the most is seeing other new vendors doing the same thing in providing a choice and true variety to people who want to support their local market.” Among the unique products available at farmers’ markets throughout Erie County include maple syrup, whole grain bread, chicken sausage, quail eggs, rabbit meat, seafood pot pies, gourmet cupcakes, trail mix, homemade dog treats, barbecue sauces, doughnuts, horseradish, homemade pierogies, hummus and made-to-order breakfast crepes. Specialty beverages are also a new trend, made available in large part to the recent opening of craft beer and winery businesses throughout Western New York.
Cystic Fibrosis Survival Better in Canada Than in U.S.
Linsey Schiavi and her husband, David Heraty, bake vintage homemade American desserts inside their Buffalo home that are later sold to farmers’ market patrons in the Southtowns. based but they provide a quality product or service and there’s no better way to make sales and introduce your company to the public than at a farmers market,” said Kara Schanbacher, who serves complimentary wine samples on behalf of Winery of Ellicottville. “If I can introduce someone to a wine they had never tasted before and encourage them to visit us or check out our website, then I’ve had a good day at the market. You may not expect to see someone pouring wine but after you stop over and we talk and you sample something you will learn that we are a local business selling something just like the local people who are selling fruits or vegetables or hanging flower baskets.” Ready-to-eat food products prepared off-site are also available at farmers’ markets, a relatively new component for most of the seasonal markets in the Buffalo area. “People are very busy and many eat on the fly or want to buy baked foods and desserts for an event or party they are going to later that day,” says Linsey Schiavi, who owns Liberty Belle Baked Goods, which is based in Buffalo. “The ability to purchase a vintage homemade dessert at what is essentially an openair organic grocery store appeals to a lot of people, which is why we have had as much success selling our products.” The desire of many patrons to avoid the large corporate grocery store chains and instead shop in a relaxed, natural environment provides an advantage for seasonal market organizers. “All of these relatively new and exciting items make our farmers markets in Hamburg and Blasdell and the other markets around us a
Kara Schanbacher of Lake View pours wine samples from Winery of Ellicottville every Saturday morning at the Hamburg Farmers’ Market. one-stop-shop for many people,” says Decker. “The concept of ‘meet me at the market’ has been around for some time now. It is a weekly social gathering for many, a true destination as a casual community meeting space. Being able to buy duck eggs or tart cherry concentrate or gourmet pasta and avoid the same-old, same-old at the grocery store is the best of both worlds. We are seeing farmers markets being taken to the next level and I think we are going to continue to see more vendors introduce fascinating new products in the future.”
July 2017 •
Why the difference?
Although the study didn’t specifically look at the reasons behind the gap, possible reasons include diet, better access to lung transplants and universal health insurance, according to study lead author, physician Anne Stephenson and her colleagues. Stephenson is a cystic fibrosis researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. The study authors noted that people with cystic fibrosis in Canada began eating a highfat diet in the 1970s, something not implemented in the United States until the 1980s. Consuming more calories improves nutrition, which has been linked to improved survival in people with cystic fibrosis, the researchers said. Normally, progressive lung disease is a common cause of death for cystic fibrosis patients, the researchers added. But people with cystic fibrosis in Canada are more likely to receive a lung transplant. A transplant is one of the few treatments that can have an almost immediate positive impact on survival, the study authors explained. “Achieving a better understanding of the drivers behind differences in survival rates is critical to our mission to improve and extend the lives of people with cystic fibrosis,” said lead study investigator , physician Bruce Marshall. He is senior vice president of clinical affairs for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The study included data from more than 45,000 people in the United States and nearly 6,000 people in Canada with cystic fibrosis. The study data stretched from 1990 to 2013.
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Garden Walk Buffalo City comes alive with brilliant natural colors By Nancy Cardillo
hat started as an optimistic idea conceived by a local college professor and his artist wife — a weekend tour of gardens in their city of Buffalo neighborhood — has grown to become the largest private residential garden tour in the country. While the scope of Garden Walk Buffalo has changed, its goal has remained the same: to encourage neighborhood beautification and promote community pride. Garden Walk Buffalo took root in July 1995 when Marvin Lunenfeld and Gail McCarthy persuaded 29 of their neighbors in the Norwood Avenue/West Utica Street area to open their gardens to the public. Today, more than 400 private and public gardens are open and on view each summer as part of the garden walk, which is always held the last full weekend in July. It has truly become one of Buffalo’s signature summer events, attracting close to 65,000 visitors each year from all over the world. This free, self-guided tour, which this year takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 29-30, covers nearly three square miles — from the Buffalo History Museum to Canalside and from the Peace Bridge to Main Street.
It’s impossible to see every garden, even if you walk both days, so you’re better off with an organized plan to ensure you see the neighborhoods, garden features and particular flowers you are interested in. Your best bet is to pick up a map, either through the website, www. gardenwalkbuffalo.com, or at select sponsor locations beginning in early July, or at garden walk headquarters (there are two) on garden walk weekend. The maps list every garden on the walk, with specific location, highlights, and restrictions. Also listed are the headquarter locations, shuttle bus routes and stops and landmarks along the way. If you’re determined to see as many gardens as possible or if there are specific highlights you want to see, best to get the map ahead of time and plot your course. What will you see on the Walk? Well, there are the gorgeous gardens, of course, and they feature everything from perennials, annuals, hellstrips, espaliers, trees and shrubs, but there’s also Buffalo’s historic architecture, unique city back yards (one even has a putting green), outdoor kitchens, koi ponds, and
Garden Walk Buffalo This free, self-guided event, which this year takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 29-30, covers nearly three square miles — from the Buffalo History Museum to Canalside and from the Peace Bridge to Main Street. Leave pets and kids at home, organizers say. For more information about Garden Walk Buffalo, visit www. gardenwalkbuffalo.com sculptures.
Plan your strategy
There’s plenty of free parking along the way, or you can choose to park the car and ride one of the five shuttle buses that operate both days of the walk, complete with an Explore Buffalo tour guide on each bus. When you need a break, visit any garden walk headquarters, where you can rest in cool comfort, use the bathrooms, get water and purchase garden walk items. Be sure to dress for the weather, which means wearing comfortable walking shoes. You might also want to bring an umbrella, hat, sunglasses, water and sunscreen. Most gardeners welcome questions and allow photographs, so bring the camera. But it’s always polite to ask before taking pictures, particularly when you are on private property. No photography for profit is allowed
anywhere on the walk. You might also want to bring a pen and notebook, because you’re sure to see flowers you want to remember to get for your garden. Garden Walk Buffalo really isn’t a kid-friendly event but, if you do bring the kids, be sure they are respectful of the properties and gardens, and keep a close eye on them. Leave the pets at home, though, as it can get pretty crowded in some of the back yards and even on the sidewalks. Garden Walk Buffalo has always been organized and managed by volunteers and remains free of charge. Financial support comes primarily from donations, sales of merchandise and corporate sponsorships. For more information about Garden Walk Buffalo, visit www. gardenwalkbuffalo.com. Can’t make it to Garden Walk this year or want more? You’re in luck! Almost every summer weekend, there’s an organized garden walk/tour in one or more Buffalo-area neighborhoods or communities. Check the garden walk website for the list. On Thursdays and Fridays in July, you can tour more than 70 gardens throughout Buffalo and Niagara as part of The Tours of Open Gardens. Learn more about the open gardens event at http:// gardenwalkbuffalo.com/index.php/ component/content/article/191tours-of-open-gardens.
‘Deadliest Days’ New teen drivers face triple the risk of a fatal crash
ewly minted teen drivers in the United States have almost triple the risk of being involved in a deadly crash than adults, a new study finds. The study looked at national data, and also found that drivers aged 16 to 17 are almost four times more likely than drivers aged 18 and older to be involved in a crash. Compared to drivers aged 30 to 59 years old, new teen drivers are 4.5 times more likely to be involved in a crash, and more than three times as likely to be in a fatal collision. The findings were released at Page 10
the start of the “100 Deadliest Days.” That’s the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. During that time, the average number of deadly crashes involving teen drivers is 15 percent higher compared to the rest of the year, the study authors said. Over the past five years, more than 1,600 people were killed in crashes involving inexperienced teen drivers during this deadly period. The study was released June 1 by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This study “found that that inexperience paired with greater
exposure on the road could create a deadly combination for teen drivers,” David Yang, executive director, said in a foundation news release. “Statistics show that teen crashes spike during the summer months because teens are out of school and on the road,” he said. Fatal teen crashes are on the rise and increased more than 10 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. Three main factors associated with fatal teen crashes are distraction,
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • July 2017
not buckling up and speeding. AAA says parents can help reverse this trend by getting more involved and talking to their teens about the dangers of risky driving behaviors. “Parents are the front line of defense for keeping our roads safer this summer,” Jennifer Ryan, AAA director of state relations, said. “It all starts with educating teens about safety on the road and modeling good behavior, like staying off the phone and buckling your safety belt.”
A customer who didn’t want to be identified buying food from The Healthy Scratch at Niagara Square in Buffalo in mid June.
Cavette Chambers enjoys a healthy chicken option from Ted’s Hot Dogs in downtown Buffalo.
Keep on Food Truckin’ Take a ride on the healthy side of food trucks
are community event organizers like Independent Health that work food trucks into their events and venues, providing they offer healthy alternative options. For still other truck owners, being healthy is just a way of life. One of the newest trucks to hit the Buffalo streets is The Healthy Scratch, a brainchild of Jessie and Kelly Pegula.
By Catherine Miller
Healthy food on the go
hat do Niagara Square, Roswell Park Institute, Buffalo History Museum, The Amberleigh, and most local neighborhood farmers markets have in common? They are venues where you are likely to find legions of food trucks that have settled into the Western New York area in the past few summers. And what better time? When the activity schedules of families grow to include baseball practices, summer jobs, and staycations, there are times when cooking in a kitchen is just not top on your priority list on a sunshine-filled summer eve. But is eating from a food truck the best food choice when you are watching your summer waistline? It can be. More than two dozen food trucks have taken to the roads in the area and are each equipped with at least a few healthy choices to make eating on the run both healthy and handy. “I like going to the food trucks because they are convenient,” admits Cavette Chambers, one of the many busy downtown Buffalo workers that enjoys the accessibility of the Thursday afternoon Niagara Square food trucks. “They come to us.” Chambers lists the grilled chicken and tomato sandwich on a gluten-free roll from Ted’s Hot Dogs as one of her favorites. “I also enjoy the grilled fish and chicken options at the Flaming Fish truck,” added Chambers. “You can ask for corn shells for a gluten-free option, or ask them to make your meal as a salad.” There are many reasons for healthy alternatives available to the food truck community. Most truck owners realize that their customer base is health-conscious. Then there
Food truck just outside City Hall, during a recent Thursday Food Truck Rodeo.
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Kristina Black, general manager of The Healthy Scratch food truck, said she believes in the quality and benefits of organic and clean eating, and the business has been welcomed into the Buffalo area with open arms. “Many people appreciate the healthy options and the speed of the grab-and-go selections,” Black said. “It was our mission in launching this truck to bring the healthy food options to the community, and the people have been appreciative of the opportunity to pursue healthy living.” Black lists the High Key smoothie as one of the most popular items. With cold brew coffee, banana, cacao powder, chia seeds and almond milk, it packs a great mid-day health punch. The turkey cranberry almond wrap is another favorite and is one of the many grab-and-go options, along with other smoothies, wraps, salads, overnight oats and cold-pressed juices. While The Healthy Scratch is one of the new Buffalo food trucks this year, there are many others, and they are found in shopping plazas and area events. Each has its own unique menu, and many assist patrons in making a healthy meal selection. They will also improvise items as needed for a patron’s dietary restrictions. While you can get something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich or slice of pizza, more exotic food choices include pickled eggs on a bed of greens from the Asian Gourmet, and shrimp jambalaya from the Louisiana Cookery. The food trucks that have entered our area bring a world of foods that can be enjoyed by the most health-conscious consumers right to our front door, allowing time to enjoy all that summer has to offer.
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
The skinny on healthy eating
Relieving Nausea Just One of Ginger’s Powers
oes ginger really help you lose weight? Recent research gives it a thumbs-up. The new studies, published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, suggest that consuming ginger can enhance calorie burn and reduce feelings of hunger, and that it’s associated with weight loss in overweight adults. More good news: Studies have also linked ginger to positive changes in cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, inflammatory proteins and liver health. Although the field is in its infancy, says Marie-Pierre St-Onge, associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University, the research is promising. For now, she adds, people should know that ginger is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, and that “including it in their diet certainly won’t hurt—and might even help a great deal.” Ginger’s latest perks seem fitting, especially since so many of us already prize ginger for its health benefits. What are those benefits? Let’s take a look. Of all the spices, ginger seems to be the go-to spice for stomach woes, from nausea to indigestion to motion sickness. Ginger soothes the stomach because it contains the compound gingerol, which helps to relax the G.I. tract by blocking receptors that cause nausea. I drank ginger tea for
morning sickness while pregnant and continue to drink it today whenever I feel queasy. Fresh ginger is a natural antiinflammatory, thanks again to the gingerol compound. Some studies suggest that ginger may provide symptomatic relief of pain and swelling for individuals with inflammatory health problems like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, consuming fresh ginger may also help arthritis-related problems with aging knees. Besieged by painful periods? Ginger may be your ticket to a more comfortable day. On the cancer front, ginger is showing some true grit. Researchers from the University of Minnesota have indicated that ginger may inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells. Likewise, Dr. Rebecca Lui and her colleagues from the University of Michigan showed that ginger induces cell death in ovarian cancer cells. In both studies, all roads lead back to its acclaimed gingerols. Must we consume an entire ginger root in one sitting to reap any benefits? Not likely. Because the active substances in ginger are so concentrated, experts say you don’t have to use very much to get the goods. For arthritis, some people have found relief consuming as little as ¼-inch slice of fresh ginger cooked
in food. For nausea, some have had their rumbles righted with a few ½-inch slices of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water.
vinegar, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper, and sesame oil. Whisk it all together until incorporated. While whisking with one hand, slowly drizzle in the canola oil until well mixed. Pour the dressing over the carrot and edamame mixture. Toss to combine. Top with the chopped avocado pieces. Garnish the dish with more sesame seeds and cilantro if you like.
Gingery Carrot Salad with Edamame and Avocado (Serves 4-6) Adapted from “The First Mess” cookbook
5-6 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed 1/4 cup black sesame seeds (optional) 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (mint or basil also good) salt and pepper, to taste 1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
Ginger citrus dressing:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice juice of 1 lime 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated 1 garlic clove, minced salt and pepper, to taste few drops of toasted sesame oil 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
Combine the carrot matchsticks, thawed edamame, sesame seeds and chopped cilantro in a large bowl. Season the whole mixture with salt and pepper and toss lightly. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, lime juice, red wine
Select fresh ginger roots that are firm, smooth and free of mold and soft spots. Next, take a whiff: it should be pungent and spicy. Fresh, unpeeled ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. My favorite tip for storing ginger: Peel several large roots with a paring knife, finely grate roots in a food processor, scoop the resulting mixture into an ice cube tray, and freeze. Once frozen, place individual cubes in a freezer bag and then, before you cook with a cube, thaw it at room temperature or for just a few seconds in the microwave.
Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle
columnist, food guru, and seasoned cook, who has perfected the art of preparing nutritious, calorieconscious dishes. She is hungry for your questions and comments about SmartBites, so be in touch with Anne at email@example.com.
Is Butter Better? Once deemed as a really-bad-for-you food, butter has seen a comeback: consumption has skyrocketed
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
utter consumption: it’s spreading. Once blacklisted as one of the worst foods imaginable (thanks to butter taking the blame for clogging arteries), butter is back on the menu. Topping foods from the morning toast to dinner veggies, butter has made a comeback. Americans eat an average 5.6 pounds of butter each annually, up from 4.1 pounds in 1997, according to the National Milk Producers Federation, a trade organization in Arlington, Va. The federation also predicts continued strong sales of butter. Why the shift from substitutes to butter? The “foodie” movement has sparked more interest in decadent foods. Numerous websites, periodicals and television programs feature cooking that doesn’t obsess about nutrition, calories and fat. For these media, it’s all about richness and flavor. The focus on “real foods” has Page 12
heavily influenced butter’s return to the table. Since butter contains only churned cream and salt, it’s a simple, whole food, especially compared with the numerous ingredients found in many shelf-stable spreads. Erin Burch, certified dietitian nutritionist and owner of Erin Burch Nutrition in Buffalo, said that butter provides more nutritional value than substitutes. She prefers butter made from milk from grass-fed cows because she said that it contains higher amounts of vitamin K, omega-3 fatty acids and also a fatty acid that offers anti-cancer properties. “The body requires some fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins,” she added. “I would rather trust my grandparents’ choice — butter — than a chemist.” Burch also believes that cholesterol isn’t the enemy — and she doesn’t obsess over calories. She views the “low-fat” trend that started in the 1970s as unhelpful in combating the nation’s health woes. “We’re brainwashed to think
we’re clogging arteries with cholesterol from fatty foods,” she said. “It’s really inflammation we need to eliminate: sugars and simple carbohydrates like breads and pastas. More and more people need to realize this.” Butter is highly caloric based on volume. One .2-oz pat (one square inch by .03-inch thick) of butter contains 36 calories, which is comparable to many margarine spreads. But adding a small amount of butter to vegetables for flavor can help people eat more vegetables. Not everyone is pro-butter. Allyson Odachowski, registered dietitian and owner of Custom Dietetics in Buffalo, said that it makes sense to focus on the type of fat we consume. She wants more people to use monounsaturated fats found in sources like nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocado. “If consumers
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • July 2017
are looking for something to spread on bagels or for its taste, look for something with heart-healthy fat. It should be olive-oil based.” She added that choosing spreads isn’t as important for people who use them sparingly, such as once a day. But those who use them more frequently should consider switching to olive oil. She suggested refrigerating olive oil so it solidifies, or trying a spread high in monounsaturated fats. “Compare that to the amount of polyunsaturated fats and transfats,” She said. “You want the majority to be monounsaturated sources.”
on the Rise Practitioners say more in the medical industry accepting the benefits of what they call ‘integrative medicine’ By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
n recent years, non-Western medicine has grown in popularity and availability. Most insurers cover at least some modalities. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 30 percent of adults and approximately 12 percent of children use non-Western health care. A few prestigious medical schools have begun offering dual certification programs, which has raised the esteem for integrative practitioners. Well-known medical doctors such as Mehmet Oz, Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil and Mark Hyman also use and endorse modalities that originate outside Western medicine. Shawn Marie Cichowski is a certified life and intuitive energy coach at her practice, Western New York Life Coaching in Williamsville. She has observed steady growth in the interest shown in her educational classes. “People are looking for alternatives to Western medicine,” she said. “People are moving toward a holistic health care and they’re tired of being sick.” While she believes Western medicine fills an important role, she thinks clients want to “fill in the gaps in health care.” Cichowski — who has bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology — also believes that increased awareness of integrative health
has helped more people seek nonWestern health modalities to self-heal and prevent disease. “Many diseases have a lifestyle behavior basis,” she said. “The modern society we live in is generally interested in a quick fix. If we slow down and listen to our bodies, the body has a remarkable ability to self-heal.” Physician Sanford Levy practices integrative medicine in Buffalo. He is careful to use the word “integrative” as it reflects the use of both Western and non-Western health care together to treat patients. “Much of it is consumerdriven,” Levy said. “It’s a response to consumer demand. Among practitioners like myself, there’s a recognition of the limits of conventional medicine.” He added that conventional, Western medicine primarily treats trauma and acute conditions, but proves “limited in treating and managing chronic conditions,” he said. “Among practitioners, there is interest in striving to get to the root cause instead of the symptoms.” Levy thinks that one factor that hampers the growth of integrative medicine is that insurance companies tend to drive the direction of medical care. Integrative medicine takes time but many physicians are time-strapped to meet insurance requirements for sufficient reimbursement. If they don’t meet
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 30 percent of adults and approximately 12 percent of children use non-Western health care. a minimum number of visits daily, they cannot meet their expenses. Levy believes that public perception of integrative health care has contributed to its expansion, “particularly with younger people, there’s a disillusionment with the system. For so long, the reimbursement methodology is incompatible with spending time and counseling and that’s what people want. Conventional medicine is limited in what it can offer for chronic condition.” He added that many baby boomers with chronic conditions also feel that conventional medicine doesn’t offer them much relief.
Jennifer Jennings, doctorate nursing practice and owner of Cardea Health Integrative in Cheektowaga and Dunkirk, is finding that more and more patients are becoming dissatisfied with the conventional health care they receive and want to take charge of their health. “They realize that the fact that they have insurance isn’t eliminating their out-of-pocket expense,” she said. Co-pays for numerous conventional medicine specialists, medications, and follow-up visits to treat symptoms add up quickly. Jennings thinks that more people — and providers — will embrace evidence-based, personalized medicine when more educational institutions begin offering programs. She listed Vanderbilt, Duke, and Cleveland Clinic as trailblazers. “The future of health care will rely on integrative medicine,” Jennings said. “It will change if we amend the educational system. The time is very ripe for a program change. “The research shows that eight out of 10 prescriptions are strictly for symptoms management, not disease management. We’re in a cycle of writing prescriptions for symptoms and then more prescriptions for the side effects. We need to research for the root of disease, and not symptom-ology.”
Experts we spoke with, from left, are Shawn Marie Cichowski, Western New York Life Coaching; Physician Sanford Levy, who practices integrative medicine in Buffalo; Jennifer Jennings, Cardea Health Integrative in Cheektowaga.
July 2017 •
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Essential Oils. Do They Work? Experts say they are effective for pain treatment, stress relief, relaxation By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
f you don’t use them in your home, you’ve likely experienced essential oils in a diffuser at a business or friend’s home. Extracted from plants, essential oils have become a popular means of freshening the air. But they can also do much, much more. Shawn Marie Cichowski, a certified life and intuitive energy coach at her practice, Western New York Life Coaching in Williamsville, said that many clients use essential oils for pain management and stress relief. Others use essential oils to support various functions of the body, and as cleaning agents. “I encourage people to follow their curiosity with essential oils,” she said. “Self care is so important.” She teaches clients how to integrate them into how they care for their health and homes. Cichowski, who has bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology, said that the popularity of essential oils represents the do-it-yourself trend as well as the natural health movement.
Many people want to take preventive steps to take care of themselves instead of relying so much on others. Young Living, a popular brand of essential oils, sells more than 80 essential oil types, plus numerous blends. With all this selection available, it may be difficult to know what to use. Cichowski said that buying from a consultant knowledgeable in essential oils can help provide guidance. It’s also important to buy a quality product. “Look at the company’s reputation,” she said. “There are some main players that charge more, but the cost is sometimes the purity.” Since essential oils are highly concentrated, most people need only a drop in a carrier oil for use topically, for example. Carrier oil may include coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. Kristen MacNeil owns Hamburg Essential Oils. She said that many people contact her for recommendations for relieving cold symptoms. She often blends
several oils in a carrier oil, such as eucalyptus, lemon and more to support respiratory health. “If they’re not used to using it in a diffuser, they can put it on the bottom of their feet using a carrier oil,” she said. She became interested in essential oils when looking for a natural insect repellant and turned to lavender. The fragrant oil also is known for helping in relaxation and reducing inflammation. MacNeil calls it the “Swiss army knife of oils” for its multiple uses. “Always be aware of how you react to an oil, like anything else,” MacNeil said. “Try it a little and see how you react. It’s like food
or medication. Learn how you respond.” She said that essential oils are generally safe, but most people shouldn’t topically apply or ingest oils neat unless they’re accustomed to using them and know how they’ll react. Some practitioners advise taking essential oils internally; however, extreme care should be taken because they’re so concentrated. Since the FDA doesn’t regulate essential oils, users should seek products from a well-known company to help ensure the product is organic and pure. MacNeil sells Young Living brand essential oils.
Yoga, Meditation May Ease Some Breast Cancer Symptoms
he diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer can come with a lot of anxiety, depression and other symptoms that affect quality of life. But mind-body therapies, such as yoga or meditation, may help ease these troubling concerns, a new study suggests. The researchers reviewed previous studies done on 80 integrative therapies. “We have good evidence that [some] mind-body therapies — such as meditation, yoga, relaxation — can provide benefit to breast cancer patients during and after treatment,” said study researcher Heather Greenlee. She’s an assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “And we do have evidence that acupuncture is very useful in managing pain,” she added. Evidence about dietary supplements and botanicals, however, are lacking when it comes to helping symptoms and side effects, she said. Greenlee and her colleagues conducted the study to update clinical guidelines for the Society for Integrative Oncology. Greenlee is past president of the society. She said that past research indicates that as many as eight in 10 people with cancer turn to complementary or integrative therapies at some point. The study looked at Page 14
complementary and alternative therapies, defined as those outside the range of conventional treatments. Complementary treatments are those used along with conventional care, she said. Alternative treatments are often used instead of conventional care. She prefers the term integrative therapy, which describes the use of non-conventional treatments in conjunction with conventional care. The researchers limited the study to integrative therapies for breast cancer patients. Use of these treatments is popular among women with breast cancer, and there is evidence for some treatments. The research didn’t include information on any potential survival benefits, because the studies are lacking that evidence. The integrative therapies were graded. An A grade indicates there is strong evidence in favor of that treatment, and B is moderate. C represents preliminary evidence. D means the evidence suggests the treatment is not effective. H means the treatment has the potential to be harmful. Meditation got an A. This therapy was found to have the strongest evidence, recommended for lessening anxiety, improving depression and quality of life. Yoga and music therapy got a B for lessening anxiety and improving mood. Yoga also got a B for improving quality of life. Yoga,
acupuncture and hypnosis got a C on fatigue improvement. Acupuncture and acupressure, when added to conventional drugs for lessening chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, got a B. One supplement, acetyl-Lcarnitine, can cause harm, the study found. This supplement is used by breast cancer patients to help with fatigue or with nerve problems associated with chemotherapy, according to the study. But the investigators found the supplement
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • July 2017
was ineffective for fighting fatigue, and could worsen nerve problems. The new guidelines are welcome news, according to Matthew Loscalzo. He’s a social worker and the executive director of supportive care medicine at the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif. Loscalzo’s program includes mind-body and other treatments with conventional care, and he said the treatments recommended by the guidelines do help reduce stress and other symptoms. He also agreed with the finding about supplements. Loscalzo said that his biggest concern is patients who turn to the unproven supplements and don’t seek conventional medical care. “I have women coming in with cancers that would have been cured a year ago,” he said, if they hadn’t chosen to seek only alternative treatments. In particular, Loscalzo said that he especially cautions people to avoid St. John’s wort, used for depression, and mega doses of supplements. Some treatments can interact with chemotherapy, he explained. But mind-body therapies are helpful for treating emotional stress and other problems that can accompany a cancer diagnosis, Loscalzo said. Patients need to start with their doctor when considering a nonconventional therapy, he suggested. “Your doctor should be able to direct you,” Loscalzo advised.
Things You Should Know About Mammograms By Ernst Lamothe Jr.
ven though there has been a gradual reduction in breast cancer incidents rates among women 50 years of age and older, the statistics are still staggering. Breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women with one in eight in the United States being diagnosed, according to the National Cancer Institute. The World Health Organization stated the disease claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year with one woman dying every 13 minutes just in the United States. It is the reason many physicians are passionate about this topic. “This is why we preach early detection saves lives,” said physician Ermelinda Bonaccio, clinical chief of breast imaging at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. “We need to continue increasing awareness, especially as the health care industry keeps improving treatment options for breast care.” Bonaccio offers six thoughts about mammography.
Get a mammogram starting at age 40 There have been various arguments saying that women can wait later in life to have a mammogram, even until age 50. Yet the evidence also shows that because early detection is key, it might not be wise to wait this long. “All the organizations that have reviewed the data from multiple studies agree that we save the most lives if women get a mammogram starting at age 40,” said Bonaccio. “If you have a mammogram every year, we are more likely to find a cancer when it is small and a woman is more likely to be cured. Organizations that have recommended starting at an older age or only having a mammogram every other year are trying to reduce the risk of having a false-
positive mammogram. However, the approach that saves the most lives is annual screening mammography beginning at age 40.”
Most mammography appointments are free Because it is considered a preventive measure, major health insurance companies cover the majority of annual breast care examinations. It is considered a wellness visit and many times there is not even a co-pay for the appointment. “We even have a program in New York state that helps women who are uninsured or underinsured so that they don’t have to pay for screening mammography,” added Bonaccio. “At Roswell, we will help facilitate that.”
You can pick where you go for your appointment Options are important with anything in life, especially when it comes to your health care choices. People are connected to their physicians or locations of treatments. It was one of the key debates with the Affordable Care Act when people wondered if they would be able to keep their physicians under the new plan. When it comes to mammogram appointments, the choice is yours where you want to go. You can pick the hospital or clinic that has physicians who have the most expertise, or award-winning service or simply the friendliest receptionists, all keys to providing a comforting environment before the exam. “Environment and comfort level is key for any exam,” said Bonaccio. “Most people don’t get excited about their yearly mammograms. They sometimes get scared, but know they must do it and it is important. That’s another reason being able to pick
where you want to go is so essential. You are not being forced to only go someplace that is close.”
Mammograms are not comfortable but not painful either Women know that it isn’t relaxing to have your breast compressed so that a technician can scan the tissue. However, it is necessary to make sure that a thorough exam has been done. “Mammograms are not timeconsuming, but we understand that it isn’t always pleasant,” she said. “But we want women to know that this process is important to make sure that they are able to detect a cancer as early as possible.” Bonaccio suggest that if an exam was painful that they talk to the technician about adjustments that can be made immediately or for future visits.
The technology is getting advanced. The dawning of tomosynthesis or 3-D mammography has revolutionized mammogram exams. Instead of only seeing twodimensional images, now the images are sliced into three-dimensional panels, which allow physicians to take a more detailed look at the tissue. The new technology increases the ability to find cancers by preventing normal glandular tissue from hiding. It also allows for less repeated visits after an exam. “It wasn’t that long ago that you would have a test and sometimes it could take a little longer because they would have to keep taking more pictures to get a better view. About 10 percent of the time, patients are called back for additional mammographic views of an area that looks abnormal on their mammogram,” said Bonaccio. “Sometimes they would call people
1 in 5 U.S. Cancers Is ‘Rare’ Little-known malignancies harder to diagnose and treat, study says
are cancers account for one in five cancers diagnosed in the United States, presenting special challenges to doctors and patients, a new study shows. “Continued efforts are needed to develop interventions for prevention, early detection, and treatment to reduce the burden of rare cancers,” said researchers led by Carol DeSantis, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society. “Such discoveries can often
advance knowledge for all cancers,” the team added in a cancer society news release. A rare cancer is one that’s diagnosed in fewer than six cases per 100,000 people a year. Overall, the analysis of national cancer data showed that 20 percent of all cancers are rare cancers. These infrequently seen cancers can be tougher to diagnose because most research focuses on more common cancers, and they’re tougher to treat for the same reason, the
researchers said. “There is less preclinical research and fewer clinical trials for rare cancers, which are often limited to select high-volume cancer centers” they wrote. Their analysis found that rare cancers make up almost one-quarter of cancers diagnosed in Hispanics and 22 percent of cancers in Asian/ Pacific Islanders. The rates for blacks and whites were 20 percent and 19 percent, respectively. The researchers also found that
July 2017 •
Physician Ermelinda Bonaccio, clinical chief of breast imaging at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. back for additional tests and that can be very worrisome waiting to come back. With 3-D imaging, it really has eliminated those causes and you get improved scans so we can truly see if there are any issues. It has significantly decreased any false positives.”
Family history is one factor but not the only. Family history plays a key role in any medical issue. That is one of the reasons why many hospitals have set up genetic counseling and testing in key health areas including mammography. Women at increased risk for breast cancer may need to start screening earlier or have additional test every year. However, it is not the only factor that could lead to breast cancer. Your own medical history impacts your future more. “A lot of patients get scared if they have a family history of breast cancer,” said Bonaccio. “Sometimes women who do not have a family history of breast cancer feel that they do not have to get a mammogram every year. But most women who get breast cancer do not have a family history. There could be many other risk factors that play a role such as if you had any previous history of biopsies or had any radiation treatment for any other health ailments.”
71 percent of cancers in children and teens are rare, compared with less than 20 percent of cancers diagnosed in adults 65 and older. Also, rare cancers tend to be diagnosed at a later stage, and the five-year survival rate for adults with unusual cancers is lower than for other cancers. In men, for example, the rates are 55 percent versus 75 percent. Children, however, have a better shot at survival than seniors. More than eight in 10 children and teens with rare cancers survive five years compared to less than half of older adults (aged 65 to 79) with rare cancers, the study found. The study was published May 19 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
Bras: Do They Do Anything for Women? By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
ost American women wouldn’t dream of leaving home without wearing a bra, but they unhook — if not remove them — once they’re home for the evening. Most feel culturally obligated to align to the “proper” silhouette and make sure they’re covered up. Aesthetics and modesty aside, what health benefit do bras provide, if any? Area experts offered two viewpoints. “They decrease the weight that the thoracic spine carries,” said Dorothy E. Foigelman-Holland, who has a doctorate in physical therapy and serves as CEO and director of Ken-Ton Physical Therapy in Buffalo. “By being a holder of a weight of tissue that can strain the back, a bra lifts in the front and stabilizes in the back so it’s very important.” She said that brassiere discomfort usually stems from wearing poor adjustment or the wrong size. For more support and greater comfort, she recommends that athletic women wear sports bras while exercising and competing to hold the breast tissue closer to the body. Some people theorize that
wearing a bra weakens ligaments that support the breasts, but that’s not the case, according to Emese Kalnoki, a new surgeon practicing at Quatela Center in Rochester. She specializes in aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgery and body contouring procedures. But Kalnoki also said that it’s not true that a bra will prevent natural sagging once they’re removed. “So, go ahead and wear your favorite bra — or don’t,” Kalnoki said. She listed pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss and gain, and aging as contributory causes of sagging breasts, not whether or not a woman wears a brassiere. “The type of collagen that you inherit from your parents also affects the perkiness of your breasts throughout life,” she added. Many women keep wearing the same-sized bra despite changes in their breasts. Others don’t have their brassieres adjusted correctly or wear the wrong size. Kalnoki recommends an annual bra fitting. Hand washing and air drying brassieres helps them retain the proper shape and last longer. While proper bra fitting can increase comfort for many women, breast reduction surgery can help
Safely Eating for Two By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
mid the many changes a pregnant woman makes in her lifestyle to nurture and protect her baby, her diet can be among the most important. What a woman eats can directly affect the baby’s health, both positively and negatively. Danyel Brewer, registered dietitian at Balanced Nutrition of WNY in Amherst, said safe food handling can help prevent listeriosis, a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The infection can cause
miscarriage, stillbirth and premature delivery. “Babies’ immune system is compromised so food must be handled and cooked properly,” she said. One surprise to many women is that deli slices of meat can cause problems because of the frequency of Listeria outbreaks with this type of food. While many sandwich shops lightly toast subs, Brewer said that the meat must be heated to steaming hot to kill Listeria.
What to Eat While Pregnant
Three experts offer their suggestions • “Protein needs increase during pregnancy. Eat protein at every meal and snack, like an apple with almonds or peanut butter; cheese and crackers; celery and peanut butter. In the morning, eggs are great. Look at vegetarian choices like black, navy and kidney beans and lentils. • “Fiber is also important. There’s a lot going on with digestion during pregnancy. Make sure everything is moving nicely. Make sure it’s 100 percent whole grain crackers, pasta and bread. Oatmeal or fresh popped popcorn is a good Page 16
snack. • “What you drink can really impact your overall diet. Water is the way to go. If you’re not a water drinker, add fresh fruit to it, like cucumber and mint or berries to add flavor.” Danyel Brewer, registered dietitian at Balanced Nutrition of WNY in Amherst. • “I’m a big proponent of colorful fruits and vegetables. Try them in all colors. They are packed with vitamins and minerals. • “Eat four servings of calcium rich foods per day.
women with uncomfortably large breasts. “A number of women complain of back pain, shoulder pain, and headaches after a long day,” Kalnoki said. Excessive breast tissue can cause their posture to suffer. For those with larger breasts “breast reduction is very beneficial and most women are extremely pleased to have the procedure done,” Kalnoki said. In the mid-90s, a rumor circulated that underwire bras raise women’s risk of breast cancer because they supposedly hamper the body’s lymphatic system and cause toxins to build up, eventually leading to breast cancer. “The problem with this hypothesis is that there is no
scientific evidence to support it,” Kalnoki said. “The largest culprits affecting women’s breast health is not about the bra you wear but rather about the lifestyle you live.” Eschewing smoking and avoiding weight gain represent the best ways to reduce risk of breast cancer. Abdominal weight gain “has been found to be more active in producing chemicals and hormones that cause the growth of breast cancer cells,” Kalnoki said. She added that women who smoke 10 or more cigarettes a day for 20 or more years raise their risk of developing breast cancer and those who started smoking before age 15 raise their risk by nearly 50 percent.
A juicy, grilled steak with a pink center may sound enticing, but it should be well done with a minimum internal temperature of 145 F. (Ground beef should be 160 F and poultry 165). Natalie Robertello, registered dietitian with OB-GYN Associates of Western New York in West Seneca, listed other foods frequently contaminated with Listeria include unwashed produce, raw egg, soft cheeses and unpasteurized milk and other beverages. She added that raw seafood is something pregnant women should avoid, such as sushi. “At picnics and potlucks, be careful because you may not know how long that potato salad has sat out,” Robertello said. “You need to
have hot things hot and cold things kept cold.” After two hours at room temperature, bacteria multiply very rapidly. Allyson Odachowski, registered dietitian and owner of Custom Dietetics in Buffalo, advises pregnant women to limit their consumption of large fish known to be contaminated with mercury, which can harm baby’s developing nervous system. These include large fish like tuna, swordfish, and king mackerel. Pregnant women must strictly avoid alcohol and tobacco products, as these cross through to the baby. “Don’t overdo caffeine,” Odachowski said. “One cup of regular coffee a day is okay. Black tea isn’t as caffeinated as coffee.”
• “Eat whole grains, like quinoa, whole grain bread, oatmeal, brown rice. • “By the second trimester, calorie needs increase, but it’s not by that much. Don’t use the next nine months to eat what you want and become sedentary. Use this time to nourish yourself and your baby. Erin Burch, registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Erin Burch Nutrition in Orchard Park.
Allyson Odachowski, registered dietitian and owner of Custom Dietetics in Buffalo.
• “All pregnant moms should take prenatal vitamins each day. It’s easier to take them at night for moms with morning sickness. It’s similar to a multi-vitamin and will have the daily allowance of folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects.”
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • July 2017
• “Protein needs increase throughout pregnancy. Eat 1.1 gram of protein per kilogram of the mother’s body weight, about 75 to 100 grams daily. Eat things like lean beef, chicken, low-mercury fish, pork tenderloin, nuts and seeds, eggs, hummus, beans and legumes, yogurt and dairy, nut butter, quinoa, and couscous. A lot of women don’t eat a lot of protein. Spread it out thorughout the day.” Natalie Robertello, registered dietitian with OB-GYN Associates of Western New York in West Seneca
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By Jim Miller
How to Hire a Home Helper Dear Savvy Senior,
I would like to hire a personal assistant/home helper for my mom to assist with some simple household chores like house keeping, errand running, driving her to the doctor, and keeping her company. But mom doesn’t require personal/ physical caregiving nor does she require any home medical care. Any tips to help us find someone? Looking for Mom Dear Looking,
Getting your mom some help at home to handle some of her household chores can make a big difference keeping her independent longer. Here’s what you should know, along with some tips to help you find someone reliable for your mom.
For seniors who could use some help at home — but don’t need a caregiving aide for personal care — there are a bevy of personal assistance/home helpers out there that can help make life a little easier. Most home helpers can assist with any number of things like shopping, running errands, transportation, light house keeping, laundry, meal preparation, arranging services (home maintenance, lawn care, etc.) and other household chores, along with providing companionship and support. And, if your mom gets to the point she needs personal physical care like bathing or dressing, they can usually help with this too. Most home helpers are part time workers who work a few hours a day or a few days per week. You also need to know that while Medicare does cover home health care services if a doctor orders it, they do not cover home helper/personal assistant services. There are two ways in which you can go about hiring someone for your mom; either through a home care agency, or you can hire someone directly on your own.
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a non-medical home care, or nonmedical companion care agency is the easiest, but most expensive option of the two. Costs run anywhere from $12 up to $30 an hour depending on where you live and the qualification of the assistant/aide. How it works is you pay the company, and they handle everything including assigning appropriately trained and prescreened staff to care for your mom, and finding a fill-in on days her helper cannot come. Some of the drawbacks, however, are that you may not have much input into the selection of the aide, and the helpers may change or alternate, which can cause a disruption. To find a home care agency in your area, Google “non-medical home care” followed by the city and state your mom lives in, or you can use Medicare’s home health agencies search tool Medicare.gov/ hhcompare. Most home health agencies offer some form of nonmedical home care services too. You can also check your local yellow pages under “home healthcare services.”
Hiring a personal assistant/ home helper on your own is the other option, and it’s less expensive. Costs typically range between $10 and $20 per hour. Hiring directly also gives you more control over who you hire so you can choose someone who you feel is right for your mom. But, be aware that if you do hire someone on your own, you become the employer so there’s no agency support to fall back on if a problem occurs or if the assistant doesn’t show up. You’re also responsible for paying payroll taxes and any workerrelated injuries that may happen. If you choose this option make sure you check the person’s references thoroughly, and do a criminal background check. To find someone, ask for referrals through friends or check online job boards like CraigsList.org, or try Care.com, CareLinx.com, CareFamily. com or CareSpotter.com. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior. org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.
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IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
The Social Ask Security Office
From the Social Security District Office
Ticket to Work Puts People Back in The Driver’s Seat
ocial Security encourages people to rejoin the workforce when they are able. Ticket to Work is our free and voluntary program that helps people get vocational rehabilitation, training, job referrals and other employment support services. This program is for people age 18 to 64, who are receiving disability benefits and need support re-entering the workforce or working for the first time. While many disabled individuals are unable to work and may never be able to return to work, we know that some are eager to try working again. Work incentives make it easier to work and still receive health care and cash benefits from Social Security while providing protections if people have to stop working due to a disability. Social Security works with employment networks to offer beneficiaries access to meaningful employment. Employment networks are organizations and agencies, including state vocational rehabilitation agencies that provide various employment support services. Some services they may help with include résumé writing, interviewing skills and job leads.
Ticket to Work gives individuals the opportunity to choose from several employment networks. Participants are free to talk with as many employment networks as they want before choosing one. If someone signs an agreement with an employment network, they’ll help the individual develop an employment plan. We’ll review their progress toward achieving the goals of their employment plan every 12 months. If they are making timely progress in their return to work plan, we will not conduct a medical review of their disability during the time they’re in the program. Many people have successfully completed the Ticket to Work program. Anyone interested in the Ticket to Work program should call the Ticket to Work Helpline toll-free at 1-866-968-7842 (TTY 1-866-8332967). More information on the program is available online at www. socialsecurity.gov/work. Remember, Social Security is with everyone through life’s journey, providing resources that can help people reach their work and retirement goals.
Q&A Q: How can I protect myself against identity theft? A: First, don’t carry your Social Security card with you. Keep it secure at home with your other important papers. Second, don’t readily give out your Social Security number. While many banks, schools, doctors, landlords and others will request your number, it is your decision whether to provide it. Ask if there is some other way to identify you in their records. If you are the victim of identity theft, you should report it right away. To report identity theft, fraud, or misuse of your Social Security number, the Federal Trade Commission (the nation’s consumer protection agency) recommends you: • Place a fraud alert on your credit file by contacting one of the following companies (the company you contact is required to contact the other two, which will then place alerts on your reports): – Equifax, 1-800-525-6285; or – Trans Union, 1-800-680-7289; or – Experian, 1-888-397-3742. • Review your credit report for inquiries from companies you have not contacted, accounts you did not open and debts on your accounts you cannot explain; • Close any accounts you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently; • File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place; and • File a complaint with the
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • July 2017
Federal Trade Commission at 1-877438-4338 (TTY 1-866-653-4261). Q: What should I do if an employee gives me a Social Security number but cannot produce the card? A: Seeing the card is not as important as putting the correct information on the worker’s Form W-2. You can verify employee Social Security numbers by using the Social Security Number Verification Service. Just go to www.socialsecurity.gov/ bso. This online service allows registered employers to verify employee Social Security numbers against Social Security records for wage reporting purposes. Q: Is it true I must now receive my benefits through direct deposit? A: Anyone applying for benefits on or after May 1, 2011, will be required to receive their payments electronically. Paper checks will no longer be an option for most people. If you don’t have a bank account, you can get your benefits through the Direct Express debit MasterCard. Switching from checks to electronic payments is fast, easy, and free at www.godirect.org. You also can call the U.S. Treasury Processing Center’s toll-free helpline at 1-800-333-1795 or speak with a bank or credit union representative or contact Social Security for help.
H ealth News Gates featuring ‘world’s smallest pacemaker’ The Gates Vascular (GVI) announced that it is one of the first hospitals in New York state and the first in Western New York to offer the world’s smallest pacemaker for patients with bradycardia. The Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) is a new type of heart device that provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker, equivalent to the size of a vitamin tablet. The system is approved for Medicare reimbursement. Bradycardia is a condition characterized by a slow heart rhythm, often lower than 60 beats per minute. At this rate, for some patients, the heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity or exercise, causing dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or fainting spells. Pacemakers are the most common way to treat bradycardia to help restore the heart’s normal heart rate and relieve symptoms by sending electrical impulses to the heart to increase the heart rate. Physicians at the GVI have elected to use Medtronic’s Micra TPS because the device does not require cardiac wires (leads) or a surgical “pocket” under the skin to deliver a pacing therapy unlike the traditional pacemakers. Instead, the device is small enough to be delivered by a catheter and implanted directly into the heart with small tines, providing a safe alternative to conventional pacemakers without the complications associated with leads — all while being cosmetically invisible.
Terrace View earns fourstar from CMS Terrace View Long-Term Care Facility, part of Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation, has earned a four-star rating for overall quality from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), part of the Department of Health and Human Services. The newly assigned CMS ratings for Terrace View include: four stars for overall quality, five stars for quality measures, four stars for staffing, and four stars for RN staffing. The data used in the ratings are from the Minimum Data Set (MDS) 3.0 quality measures for all four quarters of 2016 and claims-based quality measures data from July 2015 through June 2016. (MDS is part of the U.S. federally mandated process for clinical assessment of all residents in Medicare-or Medicaid-certified nursing homes.) Terrace View is one of only 12 nursing homes out of 102 in Western New York rated by CMS with four stars for overall quality. “This is a significant achievement for Terrace View,” said ECM President CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr. “At the end of the
day, this achievement is about the commitment of our Terrace View caregivers and their focus on the residents who live there. We continue to be very proud of quality scores achieved by the entire ECMC and Terrace View family, as they continue to strive for the very best care for our patients and residents in everything they do.”
ECMC ICU gets national award of Excellence Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation recently announced that the hospital’s Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) has been awarded a silver-level American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) Beacon Award for Excellence, which is a three-year designation highlighting the unit’s achievement of exceptional care through improved outcomes and greater overall patient satisfaction. “The MICU’s dedicated caregivers represent the very best in providing quality care to the patients they serve,” said ECMC Corporation President and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr. “Receiving this high-level national recognition highlights again the exceptional professionalism and skill of our entire ECMC family. This prestigious national award recognizes our MICU caregivers who have successfully and consistently improved patient outcomes. Our MICU is now one of 13 such units across New York state to receive a silver-level three-year award/designation, which further underscores the high-level patient care performed every day by all who work in this Unit.” Established in 2003, AACN’s Beacon Award for Excellence means continuous learning and effective systems to achieve optimal patient care.
ECMC Recognized For Heart Failure Care Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation has received the Get With The Guidelines– Heart Failure Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association (AHA) / American College of Cardiology Foundation’s secondary prevention guidelines for patients with heart failure. “This recognition is a further confirmation that ECMC clinicians deliver ‘the gold standard’ of care for our heart failure patients, and implementing the AHA guidelines helps us to accomplish this goal by tracking and measuring our success,” said ECMC Corporation President and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr.
ECMC Receives $200,000 Grant For Trauma Center Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation announced the James H. Cummings Foundation, Inc. has pledged $200,000 grant for the hospital’s future Trauma Center/Emergency Department “The board fully recognizes the significant and life-saving care that happens in the ECMC Trauma Center/Emergency Department. We are proud to support the renovations that will allow the center to continue to provide our community with stateof-the-art care when facing lifethreatening medical trauma,” said Charles Kreiner, President of the Cummings Foundation. Jonathan Dandes, chairman at ECMC Foundation said, “We are thrilled with this very generous grant from the Cummings Foundation and thank the foundation’s board of “I commend our clinical teams for their dedication to consistently meet these high standards to improve the health of our patients and our entire community.” Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure is a quality improvement program that helps hospital teams follow the most up-to-date, researchbased standards with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing hospital readmissions for heart failure patients. Launched in 2005, numerous published studies have demonstrated the program’s success in achieving patient outcome improvements, including reductions in 30-day readmissions. ECMC earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure patients. These measures include evaluation of the patient, proper use of medications and aggressive riskreduction therapies, such as ACE inhibitors/ARBs, beta-blockers, diuretics, anticoagulants, and other appropriate therapies. Before patients are discharged, they also receive education on managing their heart failure and overall health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions. ECMC also received the association’s Target: Heart Failure Honor Roll. Target: Heart Failure is an initiative that provides hospitals
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directors and Executive Director Mary Jo Hunt for their support of ECMC’s future Trauma Center/ Emergency Department. This gift from the Cummings Foundation will make a significant impact on our continuing effort to generate support for this vitally important project.” The James H. Cummings Foundation was established to support the philanthropic vision of its namesake. Throughout its 55-year history, the foundation has aided countless organizations engaged in advancing charitable interests according to the guidelines and policies espoused by James H. Cummings. Admired for his unassuming manner, friendly air, and a quiet generosity, Cummings was dedicated to giving back to the communities he called “home.”
with educational tools, prevention programs and treatment guidelines designed to reduce the risk of heart failure patients ending up back in the hospital. Hospitals are required to meet criteria that improves medication adherence, provides early follow-up care and coordination and enhances patient education. The goal is to reduce hospital readmissions and help patients improve their quality of life in managing this chronic condition.
UBMD Physicians’ Group moves to new location UBMD Physicians’ Group, the largest medical group in Western New York, has opened its newest UBMD Family Medicine location in the Conventus building on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The practice started seeing patients in early June. The new location is part of UBMD’s effort to enhance the scope of its services and provide better, convenient access to comprehensive health care in WNY. Located on the fourth floor of 1001 Main Street, Family Medicine joins seven previously opened UBMD practices in the building — internal medicine, neurology, obstetrics-gynecology, orthopedics & sports medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery.
IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo & WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper
ECMC-14941 | In Good Health Bariatrics Ad | 9.75 x 13.75 | 4/0 CMYK
Medically-Guided Weight Loss for a Better Quality of Life
“I feel like I have a lot more control of my life than I had prior to the procedure. And I feel really good. I have a lot of energy and things that used to be difficult aren’t anymore. As of my last appointment, I’ve lost 120 pounds and lost 70% of my body fat.”
Erin Garvey, Synergy Bariatrics Patient
Synergy Bariatrics, a department of ECMC, offers comprehensive counseling and specialized surgery for patients who have experienced excessive weight gain and have not been able to lose weight through diet and exercise. Our compassionate, patient-centered medical and surgical care can help these patients achieve better health through weight loss alongside a multidisciplinary team, including:
Eating behavioral specialist | Dietitian | Clinical pharmacist | Physician assistants | Surgeons For those who are interested and qualify, bariatric surgery works by improving metabolism, which helps control appetite and burn calories, and may also allow for improvement in obesity related diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Best of all, it helps patients like Erin enhance their quality of life. For more information and to learn if you’re a candidate for surgery, contact us at 716-565-3990 or visit synergybariatrics.com
A DEPARTMENT OF ERIE COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER
30 North Union Rd., Suite 104 | Williamsville, NY 14221
ECMC-14941-In Good Health Bariatric Ad 9.75x13.75 M.indd&1 WNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • July 2017 Page 20 • IN GOOD HEALTH – Buffalo
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