Nathan Littauer awarded $2.9M

Nathan Littauer awarded $2.9M

A story by Kerry Minor in the Leader Herald:

Nathan Littauer awarded $2.9M

July 31, 2017

GLOVERSVILLE — Nathan Littauer Hospital has been awarded $2.9 million in funds from the state as a part of the Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced $13.9 million to support three projects that will protect and transform the Mohawk Valley’s health care system.

The funds are a part of the $491 million in funding being awarded to improve patient care through the development of high-quality medical facilities and programs serving the inpatient, primary care, mental health, substance use disorder and long-term care needs of communities throughout New York state.

“Now, more than ever, we need to protect health care in New York and ensure the system in place is meeting the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers,”Cuomo said in a news release. “While others seek to decimate our hospitals and reduce access to quality healthcare, we are investing to help ensure a stronger, healthier New York for all.”

The $2,995,689 award for Nathan Littauer is to “design, construct, and equip a new primary and specialty care facility on the hospital campus to improve access to care.”

According to a news release from Nathan Littauer, the hospital will be utilizing the monies to design, construct, and equip a new primary and specialty care facility on the hospital campus to improve access to care.

“This grant will help our transformation as we evolve from a hospital into a health network” said Laurence E. Kelly, Littauer’s president and CEO in a news release. “Our community benefits when our hospital is strong and growing. As a small, independent, rural hospital we are in the unique position of expanding despite the changing dynamics in healthcare. And we are growing without losing our local roots.”

Nathan Littauer is investing in primary and specialty care to improve access caused by burgeoning patient needs. The proposed facility will add capacity while filling a regional void. The hospital will begin the first phase of the plan this summer.

“We are grateful to Gov. Cuomo for his steadfast commitment to rural health. His vision to fortify hospitals while others seek to dismantle healthcare should be lauded by every New Yorker. His vision to improve access to quality healthcare mirrors Littauer’s mission,”said Kelly in the release.

Nathan Littauer’s Board President, Brain Hanaburgh said, “Nathan Littauer is vital to our community. This grant will ensure our legacy of care will endure for many generations to come.”

Assemblyman Marc Butler said of the news: “Community hospitals are vitally important to the care and health of residents in counties like Fulton County. It is wonderful news that the Nathan Littauer Hospital will be receiving a nearly $3 million grant from the New York State Department of Health to begin design of a new Primary/Specialty Care Center. The center provides services in a wide variety of practices from internal medicine, women’s health, pediatric, occupational medicine and many more. I am pleased to have voted in favor of this grant program to support the modernization of this important hospital to benefit the people of Mohawk Valley.”

Kerry Minor can be reached at


Fighting ransomware, Nathan Littauer, U.S. hospitals stay ahead of hackers

Nathan Littauer Hospital Vice President, Information Services and Chief Information Officer Martin Brown works on a computer in the hospital on Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)
Nathan Littauer Hospital Vice President, Information Services and Chief Information Officer Martin Brown works on a computer in the hospital on Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

Nathan Littauer Hospital Vice President, Information Services and Chief Information Officer Martin Brown works on a computer in the hospital on Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

The server room at Nathan Littauer Hospital is shown on Thursday. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

The server room at Nathan Littauer Hospital is shown on Thursday. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

GLOVERSVILLE — It can start simply. Someone clicks on an email and types in a password to a prompt that seems official.

The next thing the company knows, their data is being held ransom with a hacker demanding money to be paid through Bitcoin, or data will be deleted.

As ransomware such as WannaCry have created headaches for hospitals and practices in other countries, the United States hasn’t been as affected.

Nathan Littauer Hospital Vice President, Information Services and Chief Information Officer Martin Brown said much of that has to do with preparation and laws in place to protect patient information.

“I didn’t lose any sleep over it because of the preparation that we’ve done is adequate to protect us from this ransomware and other viruses,” he said.

He said ransomware attacks are a new take on viruses, which try to extort money directly instead of trying to obtain passwords of identity stealing information.

“It encrypts all of your files that it can find on your computer and then says deposit money into Bitcoin and we’ll give you the key,” Brown said.

Brown said he hasn’t heard of any successes through WannaCry.

Brown said hospitals in the United States are not being affected like other countries due to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, HIPPA, of 1996 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, ARRA, of 2009. He said HIPPA put in place regulations to control and secure health information and ARRA provided funding to take care of HIPPA.

Brown said hospitals across the country have been investing in systems to protect medical records. He said in addition, in order to keep ARRA funding, hospitals need to do annual risk assessments on their systems.

“I think those two things that have become common practice for hospitals and providers has really resulted in a positive affect for our country and blocked this from occurring,” Brown said.

Brown said hospitals use things such as standard firewalls, scanners for emails and Internet scanners that block certain websites.

Brown said hospital IT personnel also do things such as paying attention to system updates. He said a recent one involved Microsoft XP.

He said the hospital was given a date when Microsoft would no longer be making security updates to the XP system, so the hospital knew it need to update its systems. He said any medical device that can’t be updated is completely isolated from the Internet.

“We protect our systems by keeping them up to date,” Brown said. “We have invested in systems that automatically load security updates on all of our machines in our organization.”

Brown said the fix for this problem was released on March 14, almost two months before the issue hit the news, through an automated update.

“Just our regular processes protected us,” Brown said.

Brown said hospitals and medical centers can be targets since they have data and information that hackers want. He said the public hears about places like retail establishments that are locking down their systems and go looking for a soft target.

“Maybe we have a reputation of not being technically savvy, but I don’t think that is true,” Brown said.

Brown said NLH has very good and knowledgeable staff in its IT department who keep up to date on the latest developments and security measures.

The hospital also trains its staff from the start on email security during orientation. Staff are also trained in HIPPA regulations.

“The newest virus that there is no fix for can still get you, the most common way now is through opening an email,” Brown said.

He showed one example recently sent to employees. It carried an official looking USAA bank logo and stated the recipient needed to long in with their banking information.

“Those scare me the most, that someone is going to click on the link,” Brown said. “That’s not a virus probably, but it entices you to click.”

Public relations coordinator at NLH Carla Kolbe said staff gets updates from IT officials about such emails that are going around.

Brown said the hospital has had successful lockdowns in the past.

“I know that we are capable of detecting these things within 10 or 15 minutes and shutting down the source and cleaning, and really staff. They react quickly when these things can and do happen,” Brown said. “We are able to contain and remove them from our system.”

Brown said there is a good employee pool in Fulton County. He said having staff right on hand is helpful as well, allowing for quick response to issues.

“It’s imperative to protect us from these kinds of things, having highly educated qualified staff,” Brown said.

Brown said in a hospital protecting privacy and information is important, but at the same time, immediate access to patient information is needed for treatment by doctors and nurses. He said this fine line makes hospitals different from other places such as retail establishments.

“Everyone needs to be aware of what is protect information. When requests come in when to say no,” Brown said. “It’s a constant balance that hospital staff and IT workers need to be aware of.”

He said in addition, hospitals can’t shut down their entire system to make updates or repairs, since they are needed 24 hours a day.

“We put the users at number one,” Brown said.

Kerry Minor can be reached at

The Leader Herald helps NLH educate the community on caffeine consumption

Caffeine and Children
Children, teens consuming more caffeine through ‘energy drinks’
April 3, 2016
By PATRICIA OLDER, Leader Herald

Nathan Littauer dietician Alexandra Barbieri discusses the impact energy drinks can have on children, teens and young adults

Nathan Littauer dietician Alexandra Barbieri discusses the impact energy drinks can have on children, teens and young adults

GLOVERSVILLE -With slick advertising campaigns, many regularly featuring high-level athletes promoting their accomplishments and posing with a can of the latest energy drink, children and teens are caught up in the craze and are buying into the marketing they must have it. As a result, more adolescents are consuming large amounts of caffeine, and the consequences, say experts, can be serious.
“The most recent study shows 73 percent of kids are consuming caffeine and those studies are showing kids are now drinking more energy drinks,” said Alexandra Barbieri, registered dietician at Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home. “These studies are showing kids are consuming more energy drinks and these kids are ingesting one to three of these drinks at a time and not drinking enough water.”
Barbieri said that while the effects of caffeine on teens and children has not been studied enough to draw any solid conclusions on the health ramifications, she did cite some studies which show drinking caffeine produces an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and irritability.
“Unfortunately, caffeine has not been studied too much in adolescents, only adults,” said Barbieri. “However, a study I found did show a relationship between students who drank energy drinks resulted in insufficient sleep duration. Caffeine can also cause increased heart rates and elevated blood pressure.”
Continuing, she said energy drinks have between 142 mg. and 240 mg. of caffeine for 16 fluid ounces, with the daily national suggested amount not to exceed 400 mg. One cup of coffee can have between 95 mg to 200 mg. of caffeine.
“[The toxicity] is dose dependent – how it affects one 15-year-old could affect another differently,” said Barbieri. “But caffeine toxicity can come with only two cups of coffee – imagine what these energy drinks can do.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the maximum amount of caffeine for adolescents is no more than 100 mg. a day.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in November 2015 found that a single 16 ounce energy drink – they used Rockstar for the study-released the stress hormone norepinephrine by 70 percent. The hormone is released during times of increased stress, such as testing time for college students. It also showed increases in blood pressure and heart rates.
Continuing, Barbieri said one of the issues adolescents face with the energy drinks is the marketing and government regulation.
“They are mostly marketing to young, adolescent boys and the [Federal Drug Administration] does not regulate [energy drinks] since they are considered diet supplements because of the addition of herbal supplements,” said Barbieri.
The energy drinks, such as Rockstar, Monster and AMP, have ingredients such as ginseng, guarana and milk thistle.
She said consumers, especially parents, need to be aware of what they are buying and what their children are buying.
“Parents need to know the difference between sports drinks and energy drinks,” said Barbieri. “Sports drink are good for hydration. Energy drinks – we don’t know the long-term consequences. They are full of sugars and caffeine”
She said one of the scariest aspects of the energy drinks is the easy availability to anyone.
“I was told [by a store clerk] that a two-year-old with two bucks could buy one,” said Barbieri.
She said one energy drink is even named Cocaine.
“Tell me what you think that name implies,” said Barbieri.
Continuing, she said parents can help by being aware of what their children are drinking when not around them.
“People follow suit with what other people are doing and the magic question is how do we get kids back on board,” said Barbieri. “Looking at alternative sources of energy is important and thinking how are you going to hydrate yourself after an athletic activity.”
She said today’s fast-track lifestyle lends itself to helping keep children from buying into the marketing of the energy drinks.
“Kids wants what is free, convenient and fast. The more you load up in the house, the less likely they will reach for [energy drinks,]” Barbieri said. “If we give them something easy and reliable and convenient, they’ll reach for it.”
Coconut water, she said, is one good source of hydration for kids after an athletic event.
“They need the electrolytes with prolonged physical activity, but they can even use sodium-fortified coconut water,” said Barbieri, adding that parents can look at the first three ingredients of any drink to get an idea of what their children are consuming.
“There have been overdoses on Rockstar, Red Bull and caffeine shots,” said Barbieri. “In other countries, like Turkey, Australia and Denmark they are actually banned or have warning labels.”
Cheryl McGrattan, vice president of marketing for Nathan Littauer, said parents will ask a child what they had for lunch, but not what they are drinking throughout the day.
“It is common for a parent to ask ‘What have you eaten for lunch today?’ but not what have you had to drink,” said McGrattan. “How frightening is it an 8-year-old can take their $3 and buy a Red Bull?”
Locally, energy drinks are not available in local schools, although they are at Fulton Montgomery Community College.
“We really do not use them because they are not allowed by the federal guidelines for the ala-carte menu,” said Teal Carpenter, nutrition director for Gloversville Enlarged School District.
She said that a vending machine at Boulevard Elementary has the sports drink Gatorade G2, but only because the gymnasium and school field are used for athletic practices and events.
“There is Gatorade in the vending machine outside the Boulevard gym because of team practices and we do sometimes use it at the high school vending machines, but other than that, we offer 100 percent juice, water and milk,” said Carpenter.
Gatorade is considered a sport drink.
Dustin Swanger, president of Fulton Montgomery Community College, said energy drinks were available to students attending the college.
“My position is they’re in college and it is not like they’re young children attending school in school district,” said Swanger. “They’re adults and they are going to buy them at the store or on campus.”
Barbieri said the key for parents is to become aware of what their children are consuming outside of the home.
“We can look at alternative sources of energy and rely on whole foods,” said Barbieri. “There is water, green tea and green tea smoothies and chocolate milk. We just have to think how we are going to get our kids back on board and drink what is good for them, not what is being marketed to them.”

The Leader Herald, Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Leader Herald,
Sunday, April 3, 2016