WXXI AM News

Karen Shakerdge

Reporter/Producer - Health

Karen Shakerdge is a health reporter and producer for WXXI and Side Effects Public Media. From a young anthropology student, to a documentary film producer, to oral historian, and now radio reporter, Karen has been asking people questions about their lives in one way or another for almost 10 years.

The Association of Health Care Journalists recognized her story about liver transplantation with an Award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. Her piece about breast density notification laws received a Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Karen has a B.A. in Cultural Studies and Media Studies from The New School and M.A. from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

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A tourist from India with measles visited several places in the region on May 11 and May 12, 2017, exposing others to the disease.

Under the American Health Care Act, people would not be penalized for not having health insurance, initially. They would only encounter financial penalty when signing up for insurance after more than 63 days of being without it. By most accounts, this means healthier people are less likely to sign up for insurance.

“That’s one of the big concerns with this Republican health plan, is that you have a combination of ‘you’re not required to buy health insurance when you’re healthy, but you’re allowed to buy it when you get sick,’” says Bill Hammond, director of health policy at the Empire Center. And that, he says, could have unique implications in New York.

stltoday.com

The Medical Society of New York State has decided to ask doctors for their opinions on physician assisted dying.

The medical society, which has about 30,000 members made up of physicians and medical students, has maintained its position of opposing physician assisted dying since 1992.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has updated coverage guidelines for infertility treatment that could be especially significant for single women and same sex couples.

A letter sent to insurance companies clarifies that all patients – regardless of sexual orientation, marital status or gender identity - are entitled to infertility treatment coverage.

The Department of Financial Services has slapped Excellus Health Plans with a $1 million fine for multiple violations of New York insurance law.

For one, Excellus incorrectly denied 1,000 claims for contraceptive coverage, according to the Department of Financial Services, due to “internal system and process errors.”  DFS also found that Excellus failed to pay or deny claims promptly and acknowledge consumer grievances within required time frames.  

Karen Shakerdge/WXXI

One disability rights activist says that often people are too quick to assume someone with a disability can’t make their own decisions. Emily Ladau, a writer and editor in chief of the Rooted in Rights blog, visited Rochester recently to raise awareness about a different way of thinking called self-direction.

Last week the Supreme Court unanimously ruled on a case that some say may change special education.

Karen Shakerdge/WXXI

Mary Rivera knew something wasn’t right, but she still didn’t go to the doctor.

“I knew that my uterus wasn’t where it should've been, but I didn’t have any insurance at the time. To go to the hospital and have an operation seemed impossible,” Rivera said from her home in Manchester, New York.

On her living room wall, photographs of her three daughters are neatly framed. She raised all of them in the house, and she says that’s what kept her from going to the doctor. She was scared of the bills, not being able to pay them, and the possibility of losing their home.

www.thinkprogress.org

The National Institutes of Health could face some major changes if the proposed budget from the Trump administration released earlier this week progresses. The budget calls for a $5.8 billion cut to NIH funding, 20 percent less than what it currently receives.

Major changes in the amount of money the NIH receive could mean changes for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, which is part of the University of Rochester Medical Center, but receives 70 percent of its funding from the National Institutes of Health.

www.newyorkstateofhealth.ny.gov

One of the biggest proposed changes in the ACA repeal bill is about Medicaid. Medicaid now functions on a per person basis. If you qualify, you get it. But in the bill released earlier this week, lawmakers have proposed changing over to a block grant program. That means each state gets a fixed amount of money. If the population that needs Medicaid grows or shrinks, that amount of money remains the same.

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