Home Wanted

Smithtown Animal Shelter

Zane – 2 year old puggle mix male/neutered. Looking for big personality in a small package? Zane may be the dog for you, he would prefer a home with older children and no other pets.

The Smithtown Animal Shelter has many kittens for adoption, the little ones are handled and socialized by our volunteer staff they are friendly have their initial shots and de-worming.










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April at Sunken Meadow




Health - Wellness - Fitness






“The Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) was made aware that two people recently arrived from one of the three Ebola affected countries in West Africa. These individuals were evaluated by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) personnel at John F. Kennedy International Airport at the time of arrival, displayed no symptoms and were allowed to proceed to their home.  Following protocols of the CDC and the New York State Department of Health, SCDHS employees will be conducting daily monitoring of those individuals for the 21 day Ebola incubation period.  

There are currently no reports of any individual in Suffolk County who has displayed any symptoms of Ebola.  Suffolk County will be notified by New York State of patients returning from any of the affected countries, following their onsite evaluation by CDC personnel at JFK, and the appropriate monitoring will be conducted as per protocols.

SCDHS has been working closely with all area hospitals, first responders and support agencies to be prepared to deal with a range of issues which may arise and to protect public health.  If any member of the public has questions, please call 854-0333.”


Rotarians Work To End Polio - October 24, 2014 World Polio Day


The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International has been working to eradicate polio from the face of the earth since 1979. At that time, the world had seen 350,000 new cases of polio – a crippling disease caused by a virus that affects primarily children under the age of five – every year. Today, thanks to Rotary’s efforts, we have seen fewer than 250 cases since January 1st of this year, and we are on track towards expected eradication before this decade is out.

Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (Unicef, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) have designated this Friday, October 24, 2014, as World Polio Day. The purpose of the day is to bring attention to the efforts of the GPEI partners, to show the success we’ve had to date, and to stress that unless we complete the job of total eradication, the disease will rebound and cause untold sickness and suffering amongst the children of the world. As Rotary’s expression goes, “We Are This Close” and at 99.9% of the job done, Rotarians are proud of their accomplishment. But they are not finished yet.

By participating in World Polio Day, Rotarians around the world – as well as locally – are seeking to bring awareness to the community that this disease still exists in the world. While we’ve had total and successful inoculation programs available to all American children since the 1960’s, the disease is still at large in the three endemic countries that still actively spawn new cases of polio – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. The work is almost completely done in Afghanistan and Nigeria at this point, but Pakistan remains a hotbed of polio activity. Due to political reasons and unsubstantiated fears pertaining to the vaccine, Pakistan has been particularly difficult in getting to the end of the eradication process.

By watching a live-streaming broadcast this Friday, October 24, 2014 at 7:00 pm EST at http://www.endpolio.org/worldpolioday everyone can learn more about the efforts of countless thousands of volunteers who have been working for the past 35 years to put an end to this disease. After the event, the stream will continued to be replayed on demand at the same website. Please watch. Please learn. Please help. No child anywhere in the world should have to suffer from this completely preventable disease. It only costs 60 cents to protect a child against polio for life. Together, let’s make it happen.

Rotary has local clubs in many western Suffolk communities, including Commack-Kings Park, Smithtown, Hauppauge, East Northport, Northport, Huntington, Huntington Station, Islip, Islandia-Central Islip, Melville, Babylon, Bay Shore, Lindenhurst, Amityville, and more. All of these clubs would welcome new volunteers. They may all be found at www.Rotary.org, by clicking the Club Finder link at the top of the home page. The members of these clubs are your neighbors, and they are all committed to eradicating polio from the world.


Health Bulletin From SC Health Dept. - Warning About Bath Salts



STEVEN BELLONE Suffolk County Executive


Warning about “Bath Salts”

October 2014

Recent news has indicated that there is a new form of a “bath salt” gaining popularity with youngsters across the U.S. Typically sold as a powder, with designer names such as Cloud 9 and Hookah Relax, “bath salts” are now being sold in small dropper bottles similar to those in which e-cigarette liquid is sold. It is reported that teens are often adding the liquid “bath salts” to e-cigarettes and inhaling to get high. The liquid can also be added to drinks, food and gum and ingested. The effects produced by “bath salts” are similar to those produced by cocaine, but studies indicate they may be much stronger.

“Bath salts” are powerful synthetic drugs that contain substances that have been illegal in the U.S. since 2012. “Bath salts” can cause hallucinations, violent behavior and other dangerous effects. They are NOT the bath salts you use in your tub. These powerful drugs have not been tested for safety, and users don’t really know exactly what chemicals they are putting into their bodies. The side effects they cause may be permanent.

What are the effects of “bath salts”? Poison center experts say these substances are among the worst they have seen. Users have experienced many side effects, such as paranoia and violent behavior, hallucinations, delusions, suicidal thoughts, seizures, panic attacks, increased blood pressure and heart rate, chest pain, nausea and vomiting.

How are “bath salts” sold? Typically, “bath salts” have been sold in the form of a white or brown crystalline powder in small plastic or foil packages marked “not for human consumption.” They have been marketed as plant food, jewelry cleaner or phone screen cleaner and have names like Cloud 9, Ivory Wave, Bloom, Lunar Wave, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning, and Scarface. These names or descriptions have nothing to do with the product, but rather offer a way for the drug makers to avoid detection by the Drug Enforcement Administration or local police. More recently, bath salts are being marketed in liquid form and are reported to be readily available in tobacco, e-cigarette and convenience stores, as well as online.

What should you do if someone has taken “bath salts”?

Dial 9-1-1 immediately if someone stops breathing, collapses, or has a seizure. Call the poison center: 1-800-222-1222. Experts can help you decide whether someone must go to

a hospital. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For those in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273 TALK For those who need treatment, call Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator: 1-800-662-HELP

or visit www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov

Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse; American Association of Poison Control Centers

suffolkcountyny.gov Facebook.com/SuffolkCountyHealthServices Twitter.com/SuffolkCoHealth


NYS Heroin Website Goes Live

NYS Heroin Website Goes Live - Smithtown Mom Leading the Way

Maureen Rossi

In response to the state’s heroin epidemic, Governor Cuomo recently launched a new comprehensive website with accompany public service announcements (PSAs).   The message on the home-page of the well-designed site is clear;   ‘addiction can happen to anyone, any family, at any time’.   Smithtown mother Linda Ventura is that any family and she can be found on that website:  www.combatheroin.com. 

Like so many other Long Island moms, Ventura sat on the side-lines in the cold at her son’s sporting events; she went to back to school night to meet his teachers, took him to church, helped him with his home-work and science projects and told him she loved him over and over throughout his life.  She even talked to him about the perils of drugs and alcohol.   The Ventura family is the ‘any family’ on the state’s website. 

Linda VenturaOn both the site and in the PSA’s Ventura tells the harrowing story of her son’s battle with heroin addiction.  She talks about the loss of her beautiful twenty-one year old son who was a popular athlete in Kings Park.  Thomas was also a great son, brother, uncle and friend.  He loved to spend time by the water at the Kings Park Bluff – he was a great kid who made a bad choice as an adolescent as so many kids do.  The PSA’s with Ventura appear on dozens of television channels throughout the state.  Her Thomas died two and half years ago and at that time Ventura decided to use her pain to advocate for change and to help other parents.

And advocate she has done.  She was part of a team of advocates on Long Island and Buffalo who headed to Albany several times this past year to lobby for a series of bills.   “Senator Phil Boyle and Senator Kemp Hannon are champions; they brought Opioid Addiction to the forefront this year,” she said.   Ventura attended the Long Island Senate hearings held by the Suffolk Senators which she credits for bringing about greater awareness and the passage of an historic package of bills.

“Senators and Assemblymen needed personal stories to fully comprehend the horrific fallout of Opioid and heroin abuse,” she explained.  Like so many on the front line, Ventura says that Long Island was the epicenter of what is now a statewide and nationwide epidemic. 

“The main focus of my advocacy was the Access to Care bill,” she added.  Ventura, like so many other parents was told her son was not high enough for treatment.  “That’s a statement I still struggle to understand; in addition, Thomas needed to FAIL at outpatient before receiving inpatient treatment,” she lamented.  Ventura says the disease of Addiction is a fatal, progressive disease and needs to be treated as one.  She and many of fellow advocates called the thousands of insurance denials around the state discriminatory practices.  

“In May 2014, I brought my son’s ashes with me to Albany so that the lawmakers could fully comprehend what failure at outpatient looks like.  I respectfully asked the politicians to remember what that failure looks like and how my family is forever changed,” she shared.   In June 2014 she boldly sat at an Assembly roundtable in June and put her son’s ashes on the table for the President of the NYS Insurance Plans to recognize that profits over treatment are unacceptable.

Ventura said in April 2015, Access to Treatment becomes effective and insurance companies will not be allowed to discriminate treatment for Opiate and Heroin Abuse.   She said they are making strides and the new laws, website and PSAs are all excellent tools.   “However, there is more work to be done education and prevention programs must be put back in the schools otherwise we are going to be right where we are today in five years,” she demanded.  

Ventura says it is very difficult to think clearly when a loved one is struggling with this disease.  “I would say to parents, this disease has nothing to do with good parenting and it discriminates against no one,” she added.  She says parents should never think it’s OK that their child is “only” smoking pot and drinking alcohol.  She implores parents to get educated and seek help if they suspect their child is having a problem. 

“I don’t want any more parents to be a member of my Club, I celebrate the victories we have had in Albany but I paid the ultimate price,” she said sadly.    The NYS website also provides prevention resources, a list of warning signs and places to get help or get involved.

**NYS law requires that treatment programs funded by OASAS provide treatment services for people who cannot pay for the services.**

Right to Coverage for Addition Treatment Services

Under New York and Federal law, if you have insurance you have the right to receive the following addiction treatment services when medically necessary:

·         Unlimited detoxification services in a hospital;

·         Unlimited inpatient care in a hospital, inpatient rehabilitation or residential treatment facility;

·         Unlimited outpatient care in both outpatient facilities or in your provider’s office;

·         Outpatient methadone treatment (an insurer may require that methadone administration be accompanied by other substance use treatment); and

·         Suboxone and subutex, if your health insurance coverage includes a prescription drug benefit.

Knowing the details of your health insurance plan, the law and your rights can be critical when you seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one. For more information visit the New York State Office of Financial Services website: http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/consindx.htm

Denial of Coverage

If your health insurer denies coverage for any addiction treatment services for the reason that it is not medically necessary, you have a right to appeal the decision with your health insurer. If your health insurer upholds the denial you have the right to an external appeal with an independent reviewer.

For more information on your rights to appeal the denial of insurance coverage visit New York State Office of Financial Services website: http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/hrights.htm

If you, a family member or friend is abusing or misusing heroin, prescription drugs or other Opioid call the New York State HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) for help. Calls to the HOPEline are toll free and you will speak with a trained professional who will answer your questions and help you find treatment 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are anonymous and confidential and call services are provided in over 125 languages.



Health - Surviving Breast Cancer With Hope, Courage And Strength

Surviving Breast Cancer with Hope, Courage and Strength

Hope, courage and strength—those are just three of the powerful words that truly captured the essence of 63 vibrant breast cancer survivors at St. Catherine’s Annual Breast Cancer Survivors Celebration Dinner. The dinner, held in the pink illuminated room at the Watermill in Smithtown, was attended by 150 individuals, including breast cancer survivors, their supportive family and friends, along with the team of health care professionals that have been with each survivor on their healing journey. 

As October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, St. Catherine of Siena uses the month as a platform to increased community awareness and education about the disease. Throughout the month, the medical center’s Community Outreach Program collaborates with more organizations to champion early mammography screenings. In addition, it is an opportunity for the division of breast health services to connect with its patients—and happily—with the very family and friends that have bridged the gap of support throughout their treatment process.

Breast Health Educator/Navigator Meiling Alsen, RN, moderated the evening and opened with a warm welcome to the many survivors and their supportive guests. She also thanked contributors who made the evening possible, including hospital administration for recognizing the importance of the celebratory event, and the many individuals who donated signature items for free raffle prizes.

“This evening is made to celebrate the optimism and the progress we have made in the fight against breast cancer—with family, friends and an expert breast health team—surviving breast cancer is possible,” said St. Catherine’s Executive Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer Paul J. Rowland. “I could not be more proud of this wonderful organization—I thank our breast health services team for providing expert care with the upmost compassion.”

Also in attendance to greet the survivors and their guests was St. Catherine’s Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer Gara Edelstein, who acknowledged that breast cancer is a disease that affects everyone and highlighted the many medical treatment options now available to women and men. “As we celebrate each and every survivor, know we are here for you —this night is all for you.”

Thanks to donations from Designs By Clemente’s Flowers, Island Medical Physicians, Ilene Mauner, Panera Bread, Revlon Cosmetics, Vera Bradley and several staff members at St. Catherine’s departments, including, Care Management, Intensive Care Unit, Laboratory and the Operation Room, beautiful themed baskets were raffled for free to survivors. The evening would not have been as lively without musical renditions from John Tuzzolo, also known as Johnny Rae, who volunteered his time and talents, and kept survivors dancing throughout the evening.

Many of the survivors in attendance commented on how lovely an evening it was and that they look forward to celebrating with St. Catherine of Siena every year.  “We use the word survivor, but the smiles I see tonight—well, you are doing more than surviving—you are living,” said St. Catherine’s Director of Pastoral Care Sister Patricia McDonnell. Sister McDonnell greeted the survivors and their guest and articulated a moving poem of hope. “You have not chosen this path; the path has chosen you—please be encouraged knowing you have the strength to overcome and empower others.”

St. Catherine of Siena’s Breast Health Services includes a team of expert professionals, from diagnosis to treatment to support services; the staff is committed to the healing journey with each and every patient. For more information about St. Catherine’s Breast Health Services, call (631) 870-3444.

Photo (L-R): Director of Breast Imaging Anne Green, MD, Breast Health Educator Navigator Meiling Alsen, RN, St. Catherine’s EVP/CAO Paul J. Rowland, Director of Pastoral Care Sister Patricia McDonnell, St. Catherine’s Vice President of Finance John Pohlman, St. Catherine’s COO/CNO Gara Edelstein, Director of Breast Health Program June Lee, MD, and Administrative Director of Reconstructive Microsurgery Diana Yoon-Schwartz, MD.



Four Confirmed Cases Of Enterovirus-D68 In Suffolk County

Suffolk County Learns of Four EV-D68 Cases

Virus is present statewide

Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services James Tomarken announced today that four cases of enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68) in Suffolk County have been confirmed by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). Dr. Tomarken asks that residents take precautions in order to contain the spread of the virus.

“These isolated reports indicate that this particular type of enterovirus is currently circulating in Suffolk County as it is throughout New York and the U.S.,” said Dr. Tomarken. “Most people who contract EV-D68 will experience the same symptoms as they would with the common cold, but it has been reported by the CDC that that EV-D68 has caused serious complications in children who have respiratory illness or are immune-compromised. For this reason, we ask residents to take precautions.”

EV-D68 was first identified in 1962. Like other types of enterovirus, EV-D68 is more likely to be found in the summer and fall months. Among the four confirmed cases of EV-D68 in Suffolk County, all were children below the age of nine. All were hospitalized and all have been discharged to home.

At this time, Suffolk County health officials are aware that a few additional cases are being tested for EV-D68 by New York State’s Wadsworth Laboratory located in the Albany area. The Wadsworth laboratory is currently the only laboratory in the state that is able to test for EV-D68. Additionally, several samples have tested negative for EV-D68, according to NYSDOH.

“It is important to keep in mind that many other viruses that cause respiratory illness are circulating at this time of the year. Not all clusters or outbreaks of respiratory illness are due to EV-D68,” said Dr. Shaheda Iftikhar, Director of Public Health and infectious disease specialist. “Because there are no immunizations for preventing EV-D68, we advise residents to protect themselves by following a few simple precautions.”

Residents are advised to:

Ø  Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers

Ø  Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

Ø  Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick

Ø  Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick

Ø  Keep children who are sick home from school.

“Since children with asthma, wheezing, or underlying medical conditions are at risk for more serious complications, parents should faithfully follow their child’s asthma management plan and regimen. In addition, all persons, age 6 months and older, should receive annual flu shots,” said Public Health Nurse and specialist in epidemiology Lauren Barlow.

While neither doctors nor hospitals are required to report individual enterovirus cases to the local county health department, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services is working closely with NYSDOH and local hospitals to monitor the spread of the EV-D68 and look for signs of increase in respiratory-related illnesses.

Additionally, Dr. Tomarken is reminding local school districts to report any unusual rates of absenteeism or respiratory illness to the Department of Health Services. For information and guidance on dealing with EV-D68, school administrators are advised to visit http://www.icontact-archive.com/GRXUtzWNofP65o0beFZiLtZlWzVA5C6R?w=4




FYI - ProPublica - A New Way Insurers Are Shifting Costs To The Sick

A New Way Insurers are Shifting Costs to the Sick

By charging higher prices for generic drugs that treat certain illness, health insurers may be violating the spirit of the Affordable Care Act, which bans discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions.

by Charles Ornstein
ProPublica, Sep. 17, 2014, 11 a.m.

This story was co-published with The New York Times’ The Upshot.

Health insurance companies are no longer allowed to turn away patients because of their pre-existing conditions or charge them more because of those conditions. But some health policy experts say insurers may be doing so in a more subtle way: by forcing people with a variety of illnesses — including Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and epilepsy — to pay more for their drugs.

Insurers have long tried to steer their members away from more expensive brand name drugs, labeling them as “non-preferred” and charging higher co-payments. But according to an editorial to be published Thursday in the American Journal of Managed Care, several prominent health plans have taken it a step further, applying that same concept even to generic drugs.

The Affordable Care Act bans insurance companies from discriminating against patients with health problems, but that hasn’t stopped them from seeking new and creative ways to shift costs to consumers. In the process, the plans effectively may be rendering a variety of ailments “non-preferred,” according to the editorial. Read Article


Suffolk County Office Of Women's Services - Lunch And Learn About Ovarian Cancer

photo - American Cancer SocietyDo you know? Ovarian cancer is the most deadly of all female reproductive system cancers. One in 73 women will develop ovarian cancer in their lifetime!

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 21,980 new cases of ovarian cancer and approximately 14,270 deaths due to ovarian cancer in the United States in 2014.  According to the New York State Health Department, there are approximately 129 new cases and 79 deaths due to ovarian cancer in Suffolk County each year. New York has the eighth highest rate of ovarian cancer in the United States.

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Ovarian cancer is sometimes called the silent killer because it is difficult to detect in its early stages. There is no simple way to screen for it. Though ovarian cancer does cause symptoms, those symptoms are often more commonly caused by other conditions. These symptoms include:

v  abdominal swelling or bloating,

v  pelvic pressure or abdominal pain,

v  difficulty eating or feeling full quickly when eating, and/or

v  urinary symptoms (having to go urgently or often). 


Ovarian Cancer Awareness: If you are a woman and notice any new symptoms, such as abdominal swelling or bloating, pelvic pressure or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly when eating, and/or urinary symptoms (having to go urgently or often) that is different from how you usually feel, see your doctor.  For more information, visit:

American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/features/ovarian-and-prostate-cancers-what-to-ask-the-doctor-at-a-routine-visit

Want to learn more? Join us for a Lunch and Learn session:

When:          Wednesday, September 17, 2014

                                                12:00 – 12:50 p.m. OR 1:00 – 1:50 p.m.

Where:        H. Lee Dennison Building Media Room

                                                100 Veterans Memorial Highway, Hauppauge, NY 11788

Contact:       631-853-8284 OR 631-854-0087

The Lunch and Learn program is sponsored by the Suffolk County Office of Women’s Services, the Long Island Chapter of National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and the Cancer Prevention and Health Promotion Coalition!


Free Smoking Cessation Program Offered Throughout Suffolk County

County Executive, Health Commissioner Promote Free Smoking Cessation Course throughout Suffolk County

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Health Commissioner James Tomarken, MD, MPH, encourage all Suffolk County residents who smoke to sign up for Suffolk County’s Learn To Be…Tobacco Free smoking cessation program. 

“Suffolk County has led the way in tobacco control and will continue to do so,” said Bellone who earlier this year signed legislation to raise the age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 beginning in 2015. “Ultimately, we hope to improve the health of the community and reduce the health-care costs associated with tobacco use.”

Suffolk County’s comprehensive Learn to Be …Tobacco Free cessation program includes educational classes, pharmaceutical support to medically-eligible participants, and continued support upon completion of the program.  Approximately 18,000 individuals have participated in the county’s Learn to Be …Tobacco Free cessation program since its inception in 2000.

“In the last half century, we have seen tremendous change in attitudes and behavior concerning tobacco use, demonstrating that education and health promotion are effective in improving public health,” said Dr. Tomarken. “Our ‘Learn to Be Tobacco Free’ program is one of the most successful programs available to residents who wish to quit smoking and in order to improve their lives.”

Listed below are current Learn to Be…Tobacco Free classes that are open for enrollment:

Middle Country Public Library, 575 Middle Country Road, Selden, NY

Mondays from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., September 22, 29; October 6, 20, 27; November 3, 2014

Reunion class, November 24, 2014

Contact: 585-9393 x 218

West Babylon Public Library, 211 Route 109, West Babylon, NY

Tuesdays from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., September 30; October 7, 14, 21, 28, 2014

Reunion: November 18, 2014

Contact: 669-5445

Suffolk County Health Department, 725 Veterans Highway Bldg. C928, Hauppauge, NY

Wednesdays from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., October 14, 21, 28; November 18, 25; December 2, 2014

Reunion: December 23, 2014

Contact: 853-2928

East Northport Library, 185 Larkfield Road, East Northport, NY

Thursdays from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., September 11, 18, 25; October 2, 9, 16, 2014

Reunion: November 6, 2014

Contact: 261-2313

Riverhead Library, 330 Court Street, Riverhead, NY
Thursdays from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; November 6, 2014

Reunion: November 20, 2014

Contact: 727-3228

Support groups meet at 5:30 on the first Wednesday of every month in Hauppauge, and the third Wednesday of every month in Riverhead, for those who have completed a full program (six weeks) of smoking cessation classes. 

To find out about classes near you, call 853-4017or visit www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/HealthServices/PreventiveMedicine/OfficeofHealthEducation/SmokingCessation/CessationClasses.aspx