Health Navigator NY

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Health Navigator NY radio and television content, social media messaging, and this website offers consumers information, resources , and stories of real people actively engaged in their health care.

Listen to the Capitol Pressroom live
weekdays at 11 a.m.

The streaming player is available beginning at 10:35 a.m.

July 2017 Archive

July 14, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- Lyme Disease Prevention

Guests: Dr. Indu Gupta, Onondaga County Health Commissioner
Bryon Backenson, New York State Department of Health Research Scientist and SUNY Albany Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

July 3, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- How do I ensure I’m ”heard” at the doctor’s office?

GUEST: Carrie Scholz, a patient advocate, Health Navigation of Central New York.

June 2017 Archive

June 26, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- Where can I learn about healthcare reform in Washington?

Guest: Dan Goldberg, Politico NY’s Senior Reporter on Health Policy

June 19, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- High Prescription Drug Costs

Guest: Charles Bell, Programs Director, Consumers

June 12, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- How to save on medications

Guest: Richard Sagall, MD, the President of NeedyMeds

June 05, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”-How you can find reviews, bios and histories of doctors and health professionals?

“Health Navigator NY” will look at how you can find reviews, bios and histories of doctors and health professionals. Our guest will be Karen Laing, the CEO of Health Literacy for All, Inc.

May 2017 Archive

May 29, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”-I’m a caregiver – now what?

Guest: Amy Goyer – AARP’s Home and Family Expert; author of Juggling Life, Work, and Caregiving

May 22, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”-How do we know nursing home regulations are working?

Guest: Cynthia Rudder, PhD, a consultant with the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-term Care.

May 15, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”-“If it becomes law, how will the latest version of healthcare reform affect New York consumers?”

Guest:  Bill Hammond, Health Policy Director, Empire Center

May 08, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”-How can community schools create better access to healthcare?

Guests: Christopher Caruso, Executive Director of Community Schools at the New York City Department of Education

Reuben Jacobson, the Deputy Director for the Coalition for Community Schools

May 02, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”-Choosing a health advocate.

If you need legal advice, you talk to a lawyer—an advocate. As the healthcare system gets more complicated, it might be a good idea to research a health advocate to work with you and on your behalf.  Today “Health Navigator NY” looks at what a health advocate is and how you can find one. Our guest for this week’s “Health Navigator” segment is Trisha Torrey, founder and director of the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates and the founder of

April 2017 Archive

April 24, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- How to prepare for a doctor’s appointment?

Beth van Bladel, Director of the Capital Region Patient Advocacy, will explain how you can better prepare to go to the doctor.

April 17, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- What are “Open Notes”?

Betsy Lowe, a patient and family advisor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center


Catherine (Cait) DesRoches, DrPH (Doctor of Public Health) and the Open Notes Executive Director.

April 10, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- I received a medical bill from the insurance company that’s wrong!  What do I do now?

Charles Bell, programs director for the Consumers Union

April 03, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- What are Patient & Family Advisory Councils?

Nancy Landor, Senior Director of Strategic Quality Initiatives at the Healthcare Association of New York State

March 2017 Archive

March 27, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- What do I need to know about HIPAA?

Cindy Nappa, Privacy Officer at Upstate Medical University

March 20, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- How do I get an accurate family health history?

Teresa Kruisselbrink, is a certified genetic counselor at the Mayo Clinic

March 13, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- How do I pay for nursing home care?

Cynthia Rudder, Ph.D., semi-retired consultant for the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care/Founder of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, an organization that advocates for nursing home residents in NYS.  

March 06, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- How do I find the right nursing home?

Health Navigator NY features Cynthia Rudder, PhD, a consultant with the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-term Care, on how to select the right nursing home.

February 2017 Archive

Feb. 27, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- What is a clinical trial?

We learn about the risks and benefits of clinical trials from David Henderson, MD, the Deputy Director for Clinical Care and Associate Director for Hospital Epidemiology and Quality Improvement at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. 

Feb. 20, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”-Help!  What’s the difference between a Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?

We will learn the difference between a Health Savings Account (HSA) and a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). How can you get the most out of each?

Feb. 13, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- How can I make healthcare more affordable?

On this week’s “Health Navigator NY,” we explore strategies to make your healthcare more affordable. Our guest is Chuck Bell, the Programs Director for the Consumers Union.

Feb. 06, 2017: “Health Navigator NY”- Rural Impact of Possible ACA Repeal

It’s a tough irony to swallow. While Congress has been debating repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, nationally, more people signed up for the healthcare for the exchanges by last month’s deadline than last year. Here in New York, the Health Department is reporting an increase of 28 percent in sign-ups from a year ago. Today on our Health Navigator NY segment, we are going to ask two questions 1) How are hospitals dealing with the uncertainty over the Affordable Care Act? 2) What does this uncertainty mean for consumers, especially consumers in rural counties? Our guest today is Bea Grause, the President of the Healthcare Association of New York State.

January 2017 Archive

Jan. 30, 2017: “Health Navigator NY” – What is Telemedicine?

Health Navigator NY provides an overview of the benefits and limitations of telemedicine, a developing technology that allows remote connections to doctors, particularly through video conferencing.

Our guests are: Carolyn Morris, MHSA, CTPM, Director of Telehealth Planning and Development at the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services; Ingrid A. Pretzer-Aboff, PhD, RN, an Associate Professor at the School of Nursing at the University of Delaware; and then, Charles Rothberg, MD, the President-Elect of the Medical Society of the State of New York.

01-23-2017 : “Health Navigator NY” – Hidden Resources

“Health Navigator NY” explores hidden, reputable resources consumers can use, particularly when it comes to medication questions. Our guest will be N. Lee Rucker, M.S.P.H., a Senior Advisor at the National Council on Patient Information and Education and Founder of Enhance Value Health Policy Consulting.

About | Every Monday for the next six months, WCNY presents “Health Navigator NY,” a new feature of WCNY’s “The Capitol Pressroom” that will help make New Yorkers become savvier healthcare consumers. Host Susan Arbetter will focus on common questions that often have hard to find answer Subscribe to the “Health Navigator NY” podcasts to help you navigate the healthcare system.

01-09-2017 : Health Navigator

Every Monday for the next six months, WCNY presents “Health Navigator NY,” a new feature of WCNY’s “The Capitol Pressroom” that will help make New Yorkers become savvier healthcare consumers. Host Susan Arbetter will focus on common questions that often have hard to find answers including what should you do if your health insurance makes an error but won’t admit it? Can you dispute the bill with a third-party? If so, who do you call? Subscribe to the “Health Navigator NY” podcasts to help you navigate the healthcare system.

View the full online podcast archive here.



Dr. LouAnne Giangreco – Five Star Urgent Care Executive Medical Director

Dr. Giangreco describes circumstances conducive to an Urgent Care visit, what your expected wait time should be and the importance of transferring healthcare information at the conclusion of your visit.



Diane Spicer – Community Health Advocates Supervising Attorney

Ms. Spicer provides the mission of Community Health Advocates, how they can be contacted, who they intend to serve and why their services are so crucial in today’s health insurance environment.



Dr. Prabhjot Singh, Chair, Dept. of Health System Design and Global Health – Mount Sinai Hospital

Dr. Singh offers definitions of these healthcare information tools, the purpose and usefulness of each and why continued improvements are needed.



Dr. Lisa Roth, Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist – New York Presbyterian – Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Roth explains the importance of clinical trials, how they are used to find improved treatments and why it’s crucial that parents to ask about their options.



Dr. Brian Bosworth, Chief of Medicine – NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. Bosworth sheds light on a teaching hospital’s staffing structure, why they are dedicated to research and medical advancements and how these priorities are meant to improve care.



Derrick Seuhs, Former Chief Quality Officer – Crouse Hospital

Mr. Seuhs imparts the importance of these healthcare plans, the differences between them and why timing of their execution can make all the difference



Dr. Lisa Roth, Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist – New York Presbyterian – Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Roth provides a care path for families learning of a pediatric cancer diagnosis, why it’s important to know your options and where best to focus for the journey ahead



Derrick Seuhs, Former Chief Quality Officer – Crouse Hospital

Mr. Seuhs describes strategies patients can use to best ensure their concerns are understood by hospitals and medical care facilities.


Dr. Richard Lockwood, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer – Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

Welcome to Health Navigator NY, a multiplatform project developed by WCNY to help New Yorkers navigate the health care system and engage in the management of their own health care needs. Health Navigator NY radio and television content, social media messaging, and this website offers consumers information, resources , and stories of real people actively engaged in their health care. Consumers may also submit suggestions of topics for Health Navigator NY to explore as well as share their personal stories of success, frustration, and confusion regarding accessing health care services.

Why is becoming a smart health care consumer important? Here are just a few reasons. Health care insurance plans and medical bills are often difficult to decipher, information about physicians challenging to acquire, and a recent study reported the #3 killer of Americans – just behind cardiac disease and cancer – is medical errors. The NYS Department of Health cites one way to combat medical errors is for patients “to be active members of their health care teams.” The health care system is complex, with policies, rules, and regulations frequently changing and patients often unsure of their rights and how to negotiate this ever-changing landscape. And, health care is expensive. A 2015 HealthMine survey revealed that while 86 percent of respondents believe it’s important to compare costs before undergoing medical testing or treatment, 64 percent rarely comparison shop. Knowledge and engagement are keys to becoming savvy health care consumers.

Health Navigator NY is supported by the New York State Health Foundation (NYS Health). The mission of NYS Health is to expand health insurance coverage, increase access to high-quality health care services, and improve public and community health. The views presented here are those of the creators of Health Navigator NY and not necessarily those of the New York State Health Foundation or its directors, officers, and staff.

The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) is a private, statewide foundation dedicated to improving the health of all new Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. Today, NYS Health concentrates its work in to two strategic priority areas: building health communities and empowering health care consumers. The Foundation is committed to making grants, informing health policy and practice, spreading effective programs to improve the health care system and the health of New Yorkers, serving as a neutral convener of health leaders across the State, and providing technical assistance to its grantees and partners. For more information about the Foundation’s work in consumer empowerment, including reports, grant descriptions, and other resources, visit

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Health Navigator NY Resources

In conjunction with the weekly radio broadcasts of Health Navigator NY on The Capitol Pressroom, recommended online resources have been collected to enable further exploration of Health Navigator NY topics. Resources including media articles, reports, studies, and more that provide additional information focused on helping empower healthcare consumers. Resources are organized by topic.

Lyme Disease Prevention




  1. Wear light colored long sleeved shirts and long pants.
  2. Tuck in your pants to your socks.
  3. Make sure the bushes and other plants are trimmed in your backyard.
  4. Check your entire body for ticks after time outdoors.
  5. Products that help protect against ticks
    1. DEET
    2. Picaridin
    3. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
    4. IR 35 35
  6. The higher DEET percentage doesn’t necessarily mean better, higher percentage = longer length of protection
  7. If you find something, make sure to remove the tick from your body
  8. To remove a tick:
    1. Use a fine point tweezer
    2. Get close to your skin
    3. Pull slowly but firmly, straight up to remove the tick
  9. Communicate with your primary care physician consistently and with detail

How do I ensure I’m ”heard” at the doctor’s office?



Find an advocate to help make sure you are heard.


This article not only provides practical strategies for getting heard by your doctor, but also some statistics about doctor-patient communication.


NYS Department of Financial Services, a resource for information about healthcare insurance as well as a place to file a complaint about a product or service including medical bills and health insurers.


Article from The Atlantic on sexism in the emergency room


This is a helpful handout for you to use when preparing to visit your doctor.

Where can I learn about healthcare reform in Washington?


  1. Where to sign up for Dan’s Politico newsletter:

Politico NY’s Health Newsletter —

Or use this link:


  1. Other Resources Dan Recommends:


  1. Politico Pulse —
    1. A daily morning newsletter from Politico’s Dan Diamond that outlines the morning’s healthcare policy news.
  2. Axios Vitals
    1. A daily breakdown of the news, views, and facts regarding healthcare policy.
  3. STAT Morning Rounds
    1. A morning newsletter that covers issues in health and medicine from Megan Thielking.
  4. Kaiser Health News Morning Briefing
    1. A morning newsletter that aggregates news from across the country that impacts healthcare policy from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
  5. The Incidental Economist
    1. A blog run by Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll that hosts articles regarding health sciences and policies.


  1. Specific journalists Dan follows:


From the Center:

Larry Levitt at Kaiser Family Foundation

Timothy Jost at Health Affairs

Margot Sanger Katz, at the NYT


From the Right:

Avik Roy at Forbes —


From the Left:

Sarah Kliff at

High Prescription Drug Costs

  1. Resources:Search Drug Prices in New York State York State efforts to contain prescription costs—-else/101845050/Recommended Consumer Reports Articles:
        a) “Why Drug Costs Keep Rising, and What You Can Do About It” 5/17 >>

        b) “Save Money On Meds: 9 Tips for Finding the Best Prescription Drug Prices” 6/17 >>

        C) “Low Cost Alternatives to Some Pricey Brand-Name Drugs” 6/17  >>

        d) “Doctors and Rx Prices: Ending the Silence” 6/17 >>

        e) “Is it OK to Buy Medicine Online?” 8/15  >>

        f)  “Is There a Cure for High Drug Prices?”  7/16 >>
        g) CR Best Drugs for Less Guide >>

How to save on medications

Find help with the cost of medicine.

Look for good prices on prescriptions.

This NPR feature suggests ways to shop smart for prescription medications whether or not you have insurance.

This Huffington Post article has some tips on how to save money on prescriptions.

Saving money on prescription medications – good and bad ideas!

How do I find my doctor’s history

Statewide resources are there to find doctors’ ratings and histories:

Not only can you find out about your doctor, his history and specialties, but for those who are immigrants, the website lists which doctors regularly use translation services, and are those services done by phone or an in-person translator.  In addition, the website now has a link you can call in for information from that website in Spanish, Creole, Russian, and Chinese.

This site allows you to file a complaint or see which doctors have been disciplined in the past.

Similar pages are run by the Department of Health for hospitals and by the Office of Mental Health for mental health providers, etc.

This site, developed by Karen Laing, is all about health literacy. Below are some selected topics from Karin and the site.

What ways can you shop around for a doctor or a surgeon?

  1. Always start with your insurance company. Insurers are required by law to cover a lot in NYS that they don’t cover in other states, and one way they control expenses is the way they contract with doctors and pharmacies. With healthcare costs still rising, they are not going to ok the use of an out of network doctor. So start with the insurance company. Who can you use?
  2. Take that list and research the NYS Doctor profile.
  3. Take that list and ask your own doctor, based on this list, if it were your mother or your child, who would you use?
  4. Look online for a support group for your illness/injury. Who do the people in the support group recommend- again only from the list your insurer provides.
  5. If you have a severely complicated chronic illness, ask your primary care doctor or insurance company for a case manager who can help you.

What can you know about your doctor before you go in for a procedure?

  1. Besides their online reputation and the reputation of them with their colleagues, there are other things to look at.
  2. How well did they communicate with you. Were you comfortable with the information they provided? Did they give you their attention when they were in the office with you?
  3. Did their staff provide you with information along the way? Good office staff is going to know how a highly skilled doctor performs and is going to prepare you for the process. If the staff responds to ALL your questions with “You will need to ask the doctor” it may be a sign that the doctor doesn’t do things over and over the same way. This is a bad sign. Exact repetition is shown to be most effect with medical procedures.   Dr. Atul Gawande talks about this in a book called Checklist Manifesto- which he took from studying airplane pilots.
  4. Does the doctor have good bedside manner with the patient and the family? I once used a doctor to put tubes in my son’s ears that was rude and ignored my son’s questions. But I had been warned by people I trusted that the man had no bedside manner but was highly skilled and the best. Because I am a people person, it made the experience for me, miserable. It didn’t matter that he was the best. When I had my daughter’s ears done a few years later, I used a different doctor with a good reputation who also made us feel cared for. It was worth the change. Know yourself. What’s most important?
  5. Look at the offices for general cleanliness. The building may be old, but there shouldn’t be garbage on the floor or on the desk rather than in the garbage cans. Paint should not be peeling off the walls. The rooms should not smell like mold or urine.

What happens if you see a red flag?
Stop and reevaluate.

  1. Ask for a second medical opinion.
  2. Ask to speak to your case manager or get one assigned to you.
  3. Come back again later with a friend or family member who can help you decide if you are just anxious or something really is off.
  4. Never feel rushed or pushed into a procedure or treatment. There are very few times in your life when the decision cannot be made tomorrow or at least in a hour after you have had a chance to phone a friend.

I’m a caregiver – now what?

Resources will help you find your local agency on aging. It has a number of other resources to help you in your work as a caregiver.

The AARP website has tips on caring, as well as a community of support.

Amy Goyer’s Book Juggling Life, Work, and Caregiving

This NYS Office for the Aging site offers resources for caregivers, professionals and providers to find information and assistance. This site also states that “in New York State approximately 3 million caregivers provide more than 2.6 billion hours of care to loved ones each year. The economic value of this care is 32 billion dollars.”

How do we know nursing home regulations are working?


With nursing homes, there are both federal and state regulations in place. Be sure to check out both when looking at placing a loved one in a home.

  1. You can learn about the federal regulations that are in place for nursing homes. In the link, click on nursing homes. In related links, you can also find out about special focus facilities.
  2. The regulations on the state level can be found at:
    2. Search for Section 415
  3. Good monitoring is crucial – do surveyors find the problems? Do they rate them as causing harm or putting residents in immediate jeopardy? Do they rate them as not causing harm? Find out about what surveyors can miss here:

If it becomes law, how will the latest version of healthcare reform affect New York consumers?


This public policy blog provides a concise analysis of the impact to New Yorkers of the latest version of the American Health Care Act.

This article examines the issue of pre-existing conditions coverage in the American Health Care Act. President Trump says that coverage for them will be in the legislation, but there is some question about at what cost?

This NY Times story sheds light on the possible impact of the American Health Care Act to the employer health care system.

More information about pre-existing condition insurance coverage.

As the Senate begins to change/amend the House version of the AHCA, this link may be helpful:

How can community schools create better access to healthcare?

How to find a health advocate

How to find a health advocate

The term patient advocate is sometimes defined differently from a health advocate – see the description of a patient advocate and compare it to the health advocate definition in the next link.

This site describes the role of a health advocate.

The case for the importance of a health care advocate.

This article includes information on not only patient advocates, but medical billing advocates.

How to prepare for a doctor’s appointment

  1. Find checklists on what you need before a doctor’s visit:
  2. Find local healthcare and human services programs.
  3. Connect to an advocate
    2. National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants
  4. One question to ask with medication: Can I have a medication reconciliation?




What are “Open Notes”?


A quick overview of the use of Open Notes in the healthcare industry.

A grant to study the effects of utilizing Open Notes with 1900 patients showed “that when patients have access to their doctors’ notes, they feel more in control of their health care, better understand their medical issues, and report they are more likely to take their medications as prescribed.”

The use of Open Notes at one medical center.

I received a medical bill from the insurance company that’s wrong! What do I do now?

For more information on disputing a claim contact:


NY Attorney General’s Health Care Bureau:


Community Health Advocates:



New York Department of Financial Services

Look under Consumers / Health Insurance Resource Center / Protection from Surprise Bills

To get help, go to File a Complaint

You can also call: 

  • Call (212) 480-6400 or toll-free (800) 342-3736 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM)

What are Patient & Family Advisory Councils?

Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)     

Working with Patient and Families as Advisors

This is an implementation handbook, a guide for hospitals in work with patients and families.

American Institute for Healthcare (AIR)   

Patients and Family Engagement in Healthcare

This website includes an interesting video re-envisioning the delivery of healthcare to include “meaningful engagement of patients and families in every aspect of health and healthcare.”

Institute for Patient and Family Advisory Councils (IPFCC)

Creating Patient and Family Advisory Councils

This six page document is a how-to guide to create councils including explaining the purpose and benefits of them.

Better Together:  Partnering with Families      

This links to a toolkit for “changing the concept from families as visitors to families as partners.”


Beryl Institute

The Beryl Institute is “the global community of practice dedicated to improving the patient experience through collaboration and shared knowledge.” See below for a link to a toolkit with testimonials regarding the creation of a patient and family advisory council.

Patient and Family Advisory Council


The Healthcare and Patient Partnership Institute (H2Pi)

The Healthcare and Patient Partnership Institute

This link takes you to the organization’s website.

John Hopkins Hospital

This links to an overview of the hospital’s patient and advisory council and information about the council’s accomplishments.

How do I get an accurate family health history?

How do I pay for nursing home care?

New York State Department of Financial Services Long Term Care Insurance resource page

Fitch Ratings

Moody’s Investor’s Service

Standard & Poor’s

How do I find the right nursing home?”

  2.     A NYS webpage that also gives information on nursing homes in the state.  It gives information on: quality of care, quality of life, inspections and complaint information.
    • NYS’ consumer guide for selecting a nursing home

Help! What’s the difference between a Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?

Health Savings Account resource from the U.S. Treasury


The HSA Authority


About FSAs in New York State

What can I use my HSA for?

Medical and Dental Expenses (Including the Health Coverage Tax Credit)

More information on Flexible Spending Accounts Search for Ancillary funding or spending accounts

How can I make healthcare more affordable?

How to get health insurance help in New York: A quick resource from Consumer Reports

Health Cost Estimator

About half the insurance companies in New York do not currently offer health estimator tools. If you need quick help finding a health cost-estimator, especially if your insurance company does not have one, check these out:

  1. Amino: “Choose Care with Confidence”
  2. Guroo: “Get insight into health insurance cars in your areas”
  3. MDsave: “Don’t wait for someone to fix healthcare, do it yourself.”
  4. Healthcare Bluebook: “Never overpay for healthcare again”
  5. FAIR Health: “Know your source”

Search Drug Prices:

The New York State Board of Pharmacy publishes an annual list of the 150 most frequently prescribed drugs, in the most common quantities. The New York State Department of Health collects retail price information on these drugs from pharmacies that participate in the Medicaid program and from pharmacies that submit their retail price information directly to the Department of Health. This site allows you to search for specific drugs from the most frequently prescribed drug list.

Other resources for download:

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Rural Impact of Possible ACA Repeal

If the ACA is repealed, rural hospitals will face serious financial challenges that could affect access and the communities, including possible loss of jobs. .

During this week’s Health Navigator NY, we discuss calling your Congressional Representative with questions. Find out who your representative here.

This NPR health issues report outlines some concerns about the effects on hospitals if the ACA is repealed. It draws on comments from two hospitals and a Kaiser Foundation report.

This article explores how the ACA affected rural hospitals including some negative impacts, and what might happen in rural America if it is repealed.

Times are already tough for rural hospitals – a look at what some of the challenges are.

A look at the possible impact on older adults if the ACA is repealed.

According to this article, Republican proposals to replace the ACA don’t remove Medicare reforms instituted under President Obama.

It’s wait and see time for some rural communities and their hospitals who didn’t appear to benefit as much as anticipated by the ACA but wonder what is in store for them in the future.

This is the link to HANYS, the only statewide hospital and continuing care association in New York, representing 500 not-for-profit and public hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare organizations.

What is Telemedicine?

PBS NewsHour eight-minute piece on uses of telemedicine

This Forbes piece offers a quick overview of the use of technology to provide telemedicine services to patients. It also outlines what technology doctors need to participate as telemedicine providers.

Information about the University of Delaware’s new telehealth certificate coordinator program

Telehealth has great potential to increase access to and quality of healthcare in rural communities. Technology can now allow rural patients to see specialists without leaving their communities, permits local providers to take advantage of distant expertise, and improves timeliness of care.

Telemedicine: It’s a no brainer, is an animated 2012 consumer awareness video winner.

Using Health Care Navigation Tools and Consumer Empowerment

The post below cites the need for better tools for consumers to be able to find and compare prices and quality among health care providers to aid in decision-making.

Consumer Reports recently examined website tools for use in evaluating health care cost and quality from 11 health insurance companies that do business in New York as well as five websites open to all. They then rated the sites on a number of categories. One thing was clear – all of them did have some level of useful information.

The Health Care Transformation Task Force describes itself as “an industry consortium that brings together patients, payers, providers, and purchasers to align private and public sector efforts to clear the way for a sweeping transformation of the U.S. health care system. The Task Force believes the interests of consumers/patients must be considered during all aspects of health care delivery transformation.” Its August, 2016 22-pagewhite paper provides “a set of questions to facilitate consideration of consumer priorities in the development of person-centered, value-based care policies and practices for improving U.S. health care.”

Even when price comparison tools exist, consumers don’t necessarily “shop around” for their health care needs. This article tries to explain why.

A study done by Harvard and USC showed that not even high deductibles motivate health care consumers to seriously shop-around for health care.

Lesser Known Resources to Address Medication-Related Questions

A site sponsored by health system pharmacists that provides medication information.

One-stop shopping for information on health, wellness, and disorders as well as prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, herbs, and supplements.

The National Council on Patient Information and Education’s site dedicated to advancing the safe, appropriate use of medicines through communication of information to consumers and health care professionals.

A new resource in Albany for medication review involves a clinical pharmacist helping meet the needs of those with chronic diseases.

Listed below are stories from Health Navigator NY visitors, viewers, and listeners. You are encouraged to tell us your healthcare consumer tales and as we did with the stories below, your name and any identifying characteristics will be removed. So click on the “Get Engaged” tab on the Health Navigator website and ask your questions or share your stories. Your comments provide suggestions for future radio and TV Health Navigator NY stories. Thank-you!

Get Engaged


HNNY story

“My insurance company basically said we had to buy our family’s prescription medicine from a mail order pharmacy. I wasn’t happy about it because we really try to ‘buy local.’ Then I discovered that our grocery store pharmacy was approved to deliver mail order pharmacy services. Happy day! The only thing is, and it’s kind of silly, even though the store is just 10 minutes away my prescriptions have to be delivered through the mail (shipping free).”





HNNY story 2“I did something to my knee and was sent to a specialist, who got me scheduled for surgery for an ACL repair. After I came to, the surgeon told me my ACL was fine and it was arthritis and some meniscus damage. Since then I’ve talked with other people who complained about this same specialist and the mistakes he’s made when treating them. I lost work time, didn’t get to use my vacation time to have fun, and spent unnecessary money on co-pays. Is there anyone or anywhere that I can file a complaint about this doctor’s lack of expertise?”





HNNY story 3“These days it is hard to get to see a doctor. I like to have a doctor be the one to take care of me when I’m sick. But I am changing my tune. The last few times when I called for a doctor’s appointment it was going to take several days to see him, but I could see a nurse practitioner instead the same day. I was pretty impressed. She knew her stuff and was easy to talk to. Now I ask for her, that’s how good she is! I save time and frustration and I guess the insurance companies save some money too.”





HNNY story 4“My friend is a nurse in a pediatrician’s office and she tells me horror stories about parents thinking they have to bring their kids to the doctor for the littlest things. She takes calls from parents with sick children, listens to what is going on with the kids, and then advises them whether or not they should see the doctor or whatever. Sounds pretty efficient and I bet it makes parents feel less worried, and they might even save the cost of a doctor’s visit.”





HNNY story 5“I don’t have a story but I do have a question. Why do so many people who work at hospitals smoke? Shouldn’t they of all people know better?”






HNNY story 6“Everybody, even commercials on TV, keep saying switch to generic drugs. But maybe not. I was taking a brand name thyroid pill every day until I had a notice from the insurance company that they were raising the cost of my medicine and I could save a lot by changing to a generic version. I did that for almost two years. And the whole time my bloodwork was up and down, so my doctor said he was putting me back on my old pills. Now everything is back to normal. The doctor said this is not unusual. So saving money with generic drugs is good but it doesn’t always work out.”




HNNY story 7“It seems like the little guy can never win with insurance companies. I called the NYS Department of Health to get some advice and the person on the phone referred me to the NYS Department of Financial Services. I figured I was getting the runaround but that really is the place to go. I don’t know if we’ll be successful getting the insurance company to fix what I think is a mistake, but at least I know more of what to do.”


HNNY story 8My daughter had surgery recently and the doctor presented me with a prescription for one of the opioid painkiller drugs we hear so much about these days. I am scared of them. I asked the doctor if something else could be prescribed. He explained how effective the drug was that he wanted her to take. I shared my fears about her getting addicted, you know the kinds of things we are being warned about on TV. With a shake of his head, he gave me a different prescription to fill. Parents especially, we have to speak up and talk with our kids’ doctors.


HNNY story 10I am the person taking care of my 80-year-old mom. Despite some physical challenges that definitely do limit her, she has a great attitude about life. It’s been interesting to watch some of the doctors and nurses we meet. Mom is perfectly happy to do whatever they tell her to do. But I am glad I take her to her appointments because I see a pretty pervasive attitude of laidbackness in their treatment of her. I think about this because I am not getting any younger either and I want medical personnel who are going to help me have as great a life as I can. I have to push for things like physical therapy for my mother, even though, to be honest, she doesn’t always want to make the effort. When I do push or ask questions, her medical people do, for the most part, positively respond. But what if I didn’t suggest or ask? With an aging population what will it be like for us?


HNNY story 11With two young kids, it makes me nervous when I hear parents saying they don’t want to get their kids immunized for things like measles. I hear stories in the media about things like vaccines maybe causing autism, but maybe the media should tell more about how vaccines save lives and by not getting their kids vaccinated they can get other kids sick.




HNNY story 9I am my friend’s healthcare proxy. He wasn’t feeling well and had some strange things going on. He had started a new drug a month before and when we looked up possible side effects, they looked a lot like what was happening to him. The doctor did not agree. My friend ended up in the hospital for a blood transfusion and on his chart the doctor indicated my friend should continue to take the drug we were wondering about. Since it was a cholesterol-related drug and not something that would threaten his life if he didn’t take the drug, we decided to sign a treatment refusal form – saying don’t give my friend this drug. The nurses were very helpful with this. And, all the symptoms, since he stopped taking the drug, went away – and he’s feeling great. This was a reminder of how important it is to talk about a person’s medical treatment and not just follow doctor’s orders if you have questions about them.


HNNY story 12I have a great doctor! She always asks if I have any questions and if I do, answers them in ways I can understand. She listens to me when I describe how I’m feeling, which is typically great, and when she suggests a test she wants to do or whatever, she listens to my thoughts about those. Thank goodness I found her!


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