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.

Ways to Connect

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.

Courtesy Mike Groll

Religious leaders gathered in Albany to show their support for aid in dying legislation. The event was part of a larger campaign advocating for terminally ill patients to have the right to ask for medical assistance to die.

Reverend Richard Gilbert, a retired minister of the First Unitarian Church in Rochester, spoke at the rally.  

Karen Shakerdge/WXXI

For community health centers, the Affordable Care Act has brought significant financial changes. For one, more insured patients show up for care, which brings higher reimbursement rates to clinics. But centers, like Jordan Health, have also benefited from the government pumping more money into the section 330 grant.

“The number of folks that we now have added to the team to make sure that our patient is healthier has been major,” says Dr. Janice Harbin, president and CEO of Jordan Health, a community health center with 10 locations throughout Rochester and Canandaigua.

The window to sign up for health insurance through the New York state Marketplace has come to a close.

Even though there are lots of questions about what may happen to the current health care system - the marketplace was busier than ever.

In the final two days of the open enrollment period just over 45,000 New Yorkers signed up for health insurance.

January 31st - the deadline to sign up was the busiest day ever for the Marketplace’s website - with nearly 3 million page views.

shutterstock.com

Emergency rooms must care for anyone who shows up, regardless of insurance or ability to pay. Amy Pollard, CEO of University of Rochester Medical Center’s Noyes Hospital, in Dansville, knows that federal law well.

“If you had no health insurance, but you felt ill and you presented to an emergency department here we have to take care of you. And we have to take care of you knowing we may not get paid anything for that care,” Pollard said.

But with the Affordable Care Act a lot more people -- an estimated 20 million -- got health insurance. That means hospitals haven’t been eating costs as much.

Karen Shakerdge/WXXI

While the New York state health exchange fields its busiest enrollment period yet, uncertainty looms.

A repeal of the Affordable Care Act, without significant replacement, could cost 2.7 million New Yorkers their health insurance, and the state $3.7 billion, according to an estimation released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office.

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, which means organizations are talking about cervical cancer, HPV and prevention.

Pages