health care

Scott Willis / WAER News

St.  Joseph’s Hospital and several partner organizations are hoping a new three-year,$1.5 million dollar grant will help to make communities healthier by addressing the root causes of poor health.  Syracuse was one of six communities to be awarded a grant.

Dr. Bechara Choucair says he knew almost immediately that Syracuse would be a top contender.  He’s Senior Vice President for Safety Net Transformation and Community Health at Trinity Health, which awarded the grant.

  If you or a loved one have ever experienced symptoms that your doctor hasn’t been able to diagnose, you’re not alone. Monday was Rare Disease Day, dedicated to raising awareness about little-known diseases...that can impact patients’ and families' lives.

Excellus BCBS

  The percentage of people without health insurance in upstate New York is less than half the national average.  Information from Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield suggests employers and Obama-care are helping keep the region healthier.  Excellus Regional President Jim Reed says many not-for-profit insurers and a higher percentage of plans through people’s workplaces are key.

(Jess Lis/freeimages) /

  New legislation that takes effect at the start of 2016 will allow expectant mothers in New York to enroll in the state's health-insurance exchange at any time during their pregnancy.  New York is the first state in the nation to that makes pregnancy a “qualifying Life Event” to enroll in coverage through the Affordable Care Act.  Assembly member Aravella Simotas co-sponsored the bill that

John Smith/WAER News

  Syracuse activists feel they’re gaining momentum after the State Assembly passed the New York Health Act.  The vote Wednesday was 90 to 47.  They hope the legislation will pave the way for everyone in New York State to someday have equal access to health care.  The act aims to provide universal healthcare by eliminating insurance co-pays, premiums, deductibles or provider networks.

  The second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act has ended with hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers getting health coverage for the first time. In the state, there are currently 2.1 million people enrolled in health coverage through the state’s marketplace. Of that number, 553,000 who had not enrolled in coverage through the marketplace in 2014, got insured during this open enrollment period which ended February 15th.

  Central New Yorkers still looking for way to get health insurance through ObamaCare or Medicare might find some help at Kinney Drug Stores today and tomorrow.  Health Navigators will assist people through the New York State of Health exchange.

Obamacare has provided health insurance for some New Yorkers, but there’s a new proposal that one State Assembly member, some doctors and others say would be a better way to deliver healthcare.  State Assembly Health Chair Richard Gottfried authored an act that would bring state-wide universal healthcare to New York.  He says under the program, people with employer funded health insurance would save even more. 

They would not pay a premium; they would not pay a deductible; they would not pay a co-pay.  If they go out of network , they would not pay out-of-network charges.  The system would be entirely funded by brad-based assessments based on ability to pay."   

Robert Ostrander is a doctor with a family practice and teaches at Upstate Medical University who supports the plan.  He thinks it would simplify the healthcare system and cut his overhead costs in half.  He says that taxpayers already pay enough…

"When you consider Medicaid, Medicare, Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus, the State Exchange Subsidies and health insurance for government employees on every level, taxpayers are already purchasing a large percentage of health care coverage in an unnecessary complicated and inefficient manner."  

Ostrander adds that most physicians, employers and patients favor a single-payer healthcare system… even with some misgivings.

Learn as Much as You Can about Healthcare Plans During Open Enrollment

Nov 6, 2014

It is the time of year for individuals to update, renew and sign up for health benefits for next year. Also, the New York State Conference of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans has released an infographic that encourages people to learn as much as they can about their plans. 

Todd Muscatello, Vice President of Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, says Central New Yorkers should review their plans in order to make sure their providers still participate in their insurance network.

  Patients in New York hospitals and doctors' offices are seeing more nurses conducting more of the direct care.  A coalition of members of the profession is trying to improve both the training nurses undertake and the practice of their skills.  Registered Nurse Julie Carter is part of the 'Future of Nursing Action Coalition' working on improved, ongoing education.