Interview

  • Trump Directing Government To Revamp Care For Kidney Disease

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    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday revamping care for kidney disease so more people whose kidneys fail can have a chance at early transplants and home dialysis, and others don’t get that sick in the first place.

    Trump said his order was aimed at “making life better and longer for millions” by increasing the supply of donated kidneys, making it easier for patients to have dialysis in the comfort of their own homes and prioritizing the development of an artificial kidney.

    The changes won’t happen overnight because some initiatives will require new government regulations.

    Because a severe organ shortage complicates the call for more transplants, the Trump administration will try to ease the financial hardships for living donors by reimbursing them for expenses such as lost wages and child care.

    “Those people, I have to say, have never gotten enough credit,” Trump said. “What they do is so incredible.”

    Another key change: steps to help the groups that collect deceased donations do a better job. Trump said it may be possible to find 17,000 more kidneys and 11,000 other organs from deceased donors for transplant every year.

    For families like those of 1-year-old Hudson Nash, the lack of organs is frightening. Hudson was born with damaged kidneys, and his parents hope he will be big enough for a transplant in another year. Until then, “to keep him going, he takes numerous medicines, receives multiple shots, blood draws and more doctors’ visits than I can count,” said his mother, Jamie Nash of Santa Barbara, California.

    Today’s system favors expensive, time-consuming dialysis in large centers — what Trump called so onerous “it’s like a full-time job” — over easier-to-tolerate at-home care or transplants that help patients live longer.

    More than 30 million American adults have chronic kidney disease, costing Medicare a staggering $113 billion.

    Careful treatment — including control of diabetes and high blood pressure, the two main culprits — can help prevent further kidney deterioration. But more than 700,000 people have end-stage renal disease, meaning their kidneys have failed, and require either a transplant or dialysis to survive. Only about one-third received specialized kidney care before they got so sick.

    “My health care providers failed me at the beginning of the dialysis continuum,” said transplant recipient Tunisia Bullock of Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Her kidney failure struck while she was being treated for another disease, and she woke up in the hospital attached to a dialysis machine. She told Trump that she hoped the new initiatives help other patients find care “with less confusion and more ease.”

    More than 94,000 of the 113,000 people on the national organ waiting list need a kidney. Last year, there were 21,167 kidney transplants. Of those, 6,442 were from living donors, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the nation’s transplant system.

    “The longer you’re on dialysis, the outcomes are worse,” said Dr. Amit Tevar, a transplant surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who praised the administration’s initiatives.

    Too often, transplant centers don’t see a kidney patient until he or she has been on dialysis for years, Tevar said. While any transplant is preferable, one from a living donor is best because those organs “work better, longer and faster,” Tevar said.

    Among the initiatives that take effect first:

    —Medicare payment changes that would provide a financial incentive for doctors and clinics to help kidney patients stave off end-stage disease. The goal is to lower the number of new kidney failure cases by 25% by 2030.

    —a bonus to kidney specialists who help prepare patients for early transplant, with steps that can begin even before they need dialysis.

    —additional Medicare changes so that dialysis providers can earn as much by helping patients get dialysis at home as in the large centers that predominate today. Patients typically must spend hours three or four times a week hooked to machines that filter waste out of their blood.

    Home options include portable blood-cleansing machines, or what’s called peritoneal dialysis that works through an abdominal tube, usually while patients are sleeping.

    Today, about 11% of patients in kidney failure get at-home dialysis and an additional 3 percent get an early transplant. By 2025, the goal is to have 80% of people with newly diagnosed kidney failure getting one of those options, officials said.

    These changes are being put in place through Medicare’s innovation center, created under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act and empowered to seek savings and improved quality. The administration is relying on the innovation center even as it argues in federal court that the law that created it is unconstitutional and should be struck down entirely.

    Other initiatives will require new regulations, expected to be proposed later this year. Among them:

    —allowing reimbursement of lost wages and other expenses for living donors, who can give one of their kidneys or a piece of their liver. The transplant recipient’s insurance pays the donor’s medical bills. But donors are out of work for weeks recuperating, and one study found more than one-third of living kidney donors reported lost wages, a median of $2,712, in the year following donation. Details about who pays and who qualifies still have to be worked out.

    —clearer ways to measure how well the nation’s 58 organ procurement organizations, or OPOs, collect donations from deceased donors. Some do a better job than others, but today’s performance standards are self-reported, varying around the country and making it difficult for government regulators or the OPOs themselves to take steps to improve.

    “Some OPOs are very aggressive and move forward with getting organs allocated and donors consented, and there are those that are a little more lackadaisical about it,” said Pittsburgh’s Tevar. Unlike the medical advances in transplantation, “we haven’t really made big dents and progress and moves in increasing cadaveric organs or increasing live donor options.”

    ___

    Associated Press writer Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.

     

    Neil A. Carousso Interviewed Kim Commins-Tzoumakas, CEO of 21st Century Oncology and their Chief Policy Officer Dr. Connie Mantz for WCBS Newsradio 880.

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  • 1969 Miracle Mets Get Key To City, World Series Parade At 50th Anniversary Celebration

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    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The Mets are turning back the clock this weekend as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of 1969 World Series championship team.

    Members of the “Miracle Mets” cruised along the newly named Seaver Way in vintage Ford convertibles as the team reenacted the 1969 World Series parade.

    PHOTO GALLERY: 1969 Miracle Mets Celebration At Citi Field

    Jerry Koosman, Bud Harrelson, Jerry Grote, Cleon Jones, Art Shamsky, Ed Kranepool and other members of the championship team were then given keys to the city from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who called them a “lovable group of guys” and “ultimate underdogs.

    “New York City felt a lot in 1969 and New York City has never stopped loving you guys,” the mayor said.

    “This is all good. We’ve had a pretty wild weekend,” Miracle Mets outfielder Ron Swoboda said. “To be with these guys that we don’t see much of is perfect. It’s pretty cool to come back here. This is an upbeat thing for me, we’re not going to be here for 100.”

    1969 Miracle Mets: Top World Series Moments | QUIZ: Test Your ’69 Mets Knowledge

    “It’s one of the most iconic teams in the history of baseball and I think we all appreciate how special that was,” Shamsky said. “It’s just a great day and a great time for all of us.”

    “The last time we got together it was 10 years ago, I wish we could do it at least every five years that would be really nice,” said 1969 Mets third baseman Wayne Garrett. But while many years have passed he says they just pick up where they left off the last time.

    “It’s tremendous, we haven’t been together in 10 years when we had the 40th anniversary, it’s always good to see them,” said Kranepool, who attended the celebration after recovering from his recent kidney transplant.

    The team reunited on the field where they were honored with a special ceremony, emceed by Mets radio broadcaster Howie Rose.

    The Mets also paid tribute to the 1969 members who are no longer with us, and those who could not attend due to health issues.

    Most notably absent was “The Franchise” Tom Seaver, who is suffering from dementia and has retired from public life.

    “He was the team. Everything focused around Tom, he was ‘The Franchise’ and we all knew that and when Tom was pitching good, we played good for some reason. When he threw and when he was on, and it seemed to be just about everytime he took the mound, he gave that inspiration to all of us and the confidence. He instilled that in all of us, and it’s too bad he’s not here,” Garrett said.

    “I’m disappointed that Seaver’s not in good health, that’s one of the biggest reasons I’m here,” former third baseman Bobby Pfeil said. “In essence, I’m here to honor him.”

    Earlier this week, the Mets honored the star of the 1969 World Series championship team, Tom Seaver, by changing the Citi Field address to 41 Seaver Way. The team also announced they have commissioned an eight-foot statue of Seaver to be built in front of the ballpark in the near future.

    Nicknamed “Tom Teriffic,” Seaver, widely considered the best Mets player in history, won three Cy Young awards while with the team and was voted into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot.

    On Sunday, the 1969 celebration continues with Shamsky signing copies of his book After the Miracle: The Lasting Brotherhood of the ’69 Mets in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda prior to the start of the game and the first 15,000 fans who enter the ballpark gates will receive a 1969 Replica Ring.

     

    Neil A. Carousso produced all videos and social content for WCBS Newsradio 880, the Flagship Station of the New York Mets.

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  • Maria Menounos Opens Up on Brain Surgery: Sylvester Stallone Helped Me Get Through It

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    By Jacquie Cadorette, Radio.com

    Maria Menounos has been through quite a roller coaster of trauma, between being diagnosed with brain cancer and undergoing surgery, and coping with her mother’s own brain cancer diagnosis and treatments. In an exclusive interview with “Mooch and the Mrs., Menounos opens up about how her friend, Sylvester Stallone, helped her to cope.

    “Going into surgery, I was playing ‘Rocky’ music as my theme song,” the former “E! News” host told Anthony Scaramucci and his wife, Deidre, for their RADIO.COM podcast. “Rocky’s quote gets me through so much: ‘It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward,'” Menounous revealed she would say to herself through her struggles.

    “He’s a dear friend, and then when I came out of surgery, I was quoting ‘Rocky,’” Menounos said of her 2017 procedure.

    Menounos said that a quote Scaramucci once told her about fear — “Everything you want is on the other side of fear” — also stuck with her through her 2017 procedure.

    On top of coping with her own diagnoses, had her mother’s illness to think about, too. After various treatment methods left her mom weakened and ill, Menounos got her involved in alternative therapies. The therapies had their side effects, though, and when Menounos went under the knife to get her own brain tumor taken care of, her mother admitted some time later that she really didn’t remember it much.

    “Between the cognitive deficits, the radiation, inflammation, she doesn’t remember anything,” she said. However, that’s really not such a bad thing. “To me, that was another silver lining because she didn’t have to feel that. To someone who has cancer, the last thing they need is stress,” she said.

    Despite the gravity of her struggles, Menounos has been able to gain a new sense of hope and understanding. “My life had to change, and it has, drastically. Anybody else would be kind of freaking out … and I’m really loving the moments of uncomfortableness,” she said. “I feel like if I’m gonna go to the next dimension, this is kind of that place where I’m really working on [the] next level.”

    To listen to “Mooch and the Mrs.,” download the RADIO.COM app now.

    Neil A. Carousso produces and manages “Mooch and the Mrs.” for RADIO.COM, including all video and audio production.

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  • Christie: Biden Could Give Trump A ‘Hard Time’ In 2020

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    LAS VEGAS (WCBS 880) — With more than 20 Democrats vying for the White House, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says there’s one candidate in particular President Donald Trump should be careful of in 2020: Joe Biden.

    In an exclusive interview on RADIO.COM’s “Mooch and the Mrs.” podcast, Christie says the former vice president is the only person who could potentially give Trump a hard time.

    “Biden can appeal to those blue-collar white workers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin where the president won the presidency by tens of thousands of votes in those four states,” Christie said. “If he were to peel those voters off, the president would lose. But I don’t think anybody else like Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris – they’re too far left. And I think middle America will just say, ‘Yea, we’re not thrilled with Trump but we’re not moving to this’ and that’s why I think Biden’s the only chance they have.”

    But Christie, who was a GOP contender in the 2016 presidential election and later removed from Trump’s transitional team following his upset victory, says he believes Trump will be re-elected.

    “I really think since the Bush v. Gore election I think it has been building towards what’s happening now in the country for the last 20 years. The one thing I’ve said to people is if the president is reelected, which if you ask me today to guess I’d say he’s going to be, that the one good thing about it amongst other things will be that after eight years of Donald Trump the country will be exhausted,” the former governor said. “Those who aren’t will be by the end of eight years of him and it’s going to force us to reassess it. It’s going to be a time to hit a reset button because no one can take it to the level that he’s taken it to.”

    Christie says that while President Trump has created significant changes to the Republican Party, he doesn’t believe those changes are permanent.

    “I don’t think he’s changed the Republican Party forever and I don’t think he’s changed the Republic forever,” he said. “And he would love that, that it’s unique to him. Most people would want to change it forever and want a legacy, I don’t think he’s the least bit interested in that. He wants to look back and say he’s the only one that could’ve done that.”

    The former governor reflected on the currently political climate and notes that the tension between the Democratic and Republican parties have grown significantly because of President Trump. However, when looking back on the 2016 Presidential Election, he says there was no way to stop the momentum that have built up, simply because no candidate had the funding to push back against Trump.

    “It was very hard to run against him because, except for Jeb, none of us had the money to go after him. I had all kinds of things that I wanted to use that were factually hits on Donald Trump that I knew from my time in New Jersey because his business career in New Jersey was checkered. But, who had the money to do it? Only Jeb did, and Jeb wasted all that money,” Christie says. “If people really look back on that race, the candidates in particular, if you want to quote-unquote blame someone for Donald Trump, it’s Jeb Bush because he had $150 million and he never laid a glove on Donald Trump, ever. In fact, became a punching bag for him.”

    The question that remained was whether or not Christie himself would ever consider facing off against the president again, to which he says, “There would be no way I would do it unless I thought I had a legitimate chance to win.”

     

    Neil A. Carousso produces the “Mooch and the Mrs.” podcast for RADIO.COM. Follow @MoochandtheMrs on Twitter and Instagram for EXCLUSIVE behind-the-scenes content via RADIO.COM from the SALT Conference in Las Vegas.

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  • Bridget Kelly Speaks Out After Resentencing In Bridgegate Scandal

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    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A central figure in the so-called Bridgegate scandal is telling her side of the story after being resentenced last week to 13 months is federal prison for her role in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scheme.

    Bridget Kelly, along with co-defendant Bill Baroni — a former Port Authority executive, was convicted in what prosecutors and a co-conspirator claim was a plot to create gridlock in Fort Lee as political payback against the town’s Democratic mayor who had declined to endorse her former boss, ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

    Kelly authored the infamous “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email a month before the lane closures took effect. Prosecutors said it shows that she was part of the conspiracy but Kelly explains it was a “poor choice of words and writing an email in terrible haste.” She says she was told by David Wildstein, Christie’s high school acquaintance who worked for Baroni at the Port Authority, that this was just a traffic study.

    “If I could go back I’d write about a traffic study,” Kelly tells WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “I said it in court when I testified, if I had said, ‘Time for a traffic study in Fort Lee,’ I wouldn’t have been in court.”

    Kelly continues to insist she did nothing illegal and now Christie’s former deputy chief of staff wants to control her own narrative.

    “I think I’ve been defined by this in a manner that’s not be fair,” she said.

    Christie was never charged and has denied wrongdoing. The former governor contends he knew nothing about the scheme, but Kelly disputes that.

    “What I know is that he and I had a conversation about this prior to this study taking place, which is what I believed it to be,” Kelly said. “And seven people in court testified that he was aware of this.”

    She claims there was a cover-up in the upper level of Christie’s office that reached to the governor himself. She feels she was a scapegoat.

    “I called him a coward outside of the courthouse, I mean that cause I don’t understand why the truth changed,” Kelly said.

    Kelly was initially sentenced to 18 months but had three months shaved off the term after a federal appeals court tossed out some of the counts against her last fall. Kelly said she could’ve made a deal to avoid prison but that would’ve required her to lie.

    Now, the grim reality is staring her in the face.

    “A lot of people think it’s over, I’m going to prison in eight weeks for something I didn’t do,” Kelly said. “For me, it will never be over.”

    Kelly has four children between the ages of 12 and 22, and she says they’ve learned some painful lessons.

    “They know we don’t give up, we don’t give in and we fight for the truth,” said Kelly, who has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.

     

    Neil A. Carousso produced the video interview with WCBS Reporter Peter Haskell.

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Neil A. Carousso is the producer in charge of content for the "Mooch and the Mrs. with Anthony and Deidre Scaramucci" podcast, exclusively via the Radio.com platform.
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