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Avian flu has made headlines globally (Source:  Nature Magazine
Avian flu has made headlines globally (Source: Nature Magazine

Influenza a Global Risk: One Town Plans Ahead

Avian flu has pushed its way to the forefront as a global health concern. Yesterday, the US Senate voted unanimously to boost funding for avian flu research and planning. The disease is still extremely rare. Less than a hundred people have died worldwide. But many scientists worry that the risk of a deadly influenza strain spreading among humans has been growing. While avian flu is a global health threat, experts say the burden of responding to an outbreak could fall most heavily on local governments, along with local doctors and nurses. In Saranac Lake, an informal group of scientists, county health officials, and hospital workers has begun meeting. As Brian Mann reports, they hope to develop a plan for avian flu response that could include quarantines and emergency shelters for sick patients.  Go to full article

Pataki Ally Faces APA Enforcement Over Lake Placid Mansion

The Adirondack Park Agency says a close ally of Governor Pataki damaged the environment when he began construction of a new mansion on a hillside overlooking Lake Placid. An APA committee ruled yesterday that Arthur Spiegel built a house twenty-feet taller than his permit allowed. They also claim that he put the structure on a steep hillside. The unfinished mansion is visible from Rt. 86, on the outskirts of the village. Some critics have called it an eyesore. But as Brian Mann reports, the Agency faces stiff political pressure in this case. The committee stopped short of calling for the house to be torn down.  Go to full article

The Final Disability: The Loss of Control

When people talk about living with disabilities, one of the top priorities is independence. But what happens when a person's medical condition takes them beyond the point where they can make important decisions? Perhaps they're in a coma. Perhaps their ability to think and reason is impaired. The Terry Schiavo case showed how controversial - and how bitter - that moment can be for families. At a seminar this week in Saranac Lake, an expert on medical law talked about strategies for maintaining control, even in the worst of circumstances. Brian Mann has our story.  Go to full article

Medicaid Cuts Threaten Tupper Lake Nursing Home

The Governor has proposed cuts designed to slow the growth of Medicaid. His budget also includes new taxes on hospitals and nursing homes. Healthcare experts in the North Country say the double squeeze could force some facilities to cut services or to close their doors. Brian Mann visited Mercy Healthcare Center in Tupper Lake. More than sixty elderly patients could face eviction if the nursing home is forced to shut down.  Go to full article

Despite Vetoes, Medical Industry Satisfied With NY Budget

One of Governor Pataki's biggest line-item vetoes targeted a quarter-billion dollar grant meant to help hospitals fund capital improvement projects. The Governor also cut 12 million dollars which the legislature had budgeted for struggling nursing homes. But as Brian Mann reports, the health care industry won a big victory by blocking deep cuts to Medicaid.  Go to full article

Pataki Budget Proposal Angers North Country Healthcare Leaders

The North Country's medical industry is reacting with anger to Governor Pataki's budget proposals, unveiled on Wednesday. Rural hospitals and nursing homes face a possible cut in Medicaid payments - and millions of dollars in new taxes. As Brian Mann reports, health care officials say the budget could mean lay-offs or cuts in services.  Go to full article

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