Health & Medicine

Health issues and medical community

Scott Willis / WAER News

More than 100 advocates for those with developmental disabilities filled a hall at the Onondaga County War Memorial Thursday calling for increased wages for direct care providers.   The agencies that employ the workers are funded almost entirely by Medicaid, and haven’t seen a funding increase in eight years.  Despite earning about 10 dollars an hour, most providers say the work is rewarding.  Rayven Pearsall is a direct care provider with Arc of Onondaga.

Scott Willis / WAER News

About two dozen health services providers and other Syracuse-area stakeholders gathered Wednesday to discuss strategies to make hepatitis C screening and care more of a priority in New York State.  About 200,000 New Yorkers are living with chronic hepatitis C, and half of those infected are unaware of their status. Policy analyst at the grassroots group VOCAL-NY Clifton Garmon says the state needs to know hepatitis Cis a problem.

Difficulty enrolling as an organ donor might be keeping many in Central New York and across the State from making that lifesaving decision.  New York’s 26 percent registration rate is second lowest in the country. Nancy Ryan of the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network says the state has to give potential donors more options to register.

Kasem Cares about Elder Abuse Prevention

Sep 30, 2016

The daughter of radio personality Casey Kasem experienced first-hand the effects of elder abuse…as her aging father was dealing with dementia.  Kerri Kasem shared her struggles at the today’s Elder Abuse conference.

“What I was seeing was three years ago was his wife, my stepmother, was saying you’re never going to see your dad again. It was the hardest thing that my family had to go through was being blocked from my father, a man was saw every weekend, talked to everyday on the phone.”

Dan Hartman/

Volunteers and staff from the Central New York chapter of the American Red Cross and Contact Community Services hit the ground Wednesday to prevent suicide.

Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield

Although the flu season hasn’t arrived yet, Central New Yorkers just never know when it will hit.  A recent analysis conducted by Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield shows confirmed flu cases across the state have peaked at different times over the past four years. Excellus Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Richard Lockwood says it's better to get the shot whenever you can because it’s difficult to know exactly when flu season will come.


  The staff and volunteers who answer calls to the region’s suicide hotline are encouraged by the state’s comprehensive effort to reduce the suicide rate.  Cheryl Giarrusso is Director of Crisis Intervention Services at Contact Community Services.

"I think the push right now is to make the public aware that suicide is a public issue," Giarrusso said. "It is something that has to come out of the darkness and into the light. 


One display at the New York State Fair Wednesday was trying to help people save lives in the face of the national heroin and opiate overdose epidemic.  A-C-R Health employees know all too well the impacts of the addiction.

The state health department’s plans to expand access to New York’s restrictive medical marijuana program is being greeted with mixed reaction from doctors.  Dispensaries say growth of the program has been slow since the sale of cannabis began in January.   

  Syracuse internist Dr. Jeff Sneider is one of the few doctors in the area certified as a medical marijuana provider.  He said he did it partly out of curiosity, and knowing he had patients who might be eligible.

Scott Willis / WAER News


  If you happen to be in the science and industry building at the New York State Fair, you may hear the occasional ringing of a seven inch polished brass bell.  Nine-year-old Madeline Pointer of Holland Patent was the first to enthusiastically ring the bell Thursday at Upstate Medical University’s exhibit.  Her mother Kelly says the little girl is a seven year kidney cancer survivor.