The Changing Face of Crime: Cybersecurity Best Practices

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CYBERCRIME IS ON THE RISE, draining about $500 billion a year from businesses worldwide. Last year’s massive data breach of credit reporting agency Equifax exposed the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses of an estimated 143 million people to hackers.

A 2013 breach of retail giant Target’s systems affected more than 41 million customer payment card accounts and exposed contact information for more than 60 million customers. Most recently, two new threats—Meltdown and Spectre—exploit flaws built into just about every computer chip built since the mid-1990s.

The threat is real and growing, and that’s why cybersecurity expert Dr. Eric Cole released a book this February, Online Danger: How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones From the Evil Side of the Internet.

Cole, who was cybersecurity commissioner for President Barack Obama and has a Ph.D. in Information Technology, is CEO of Reston, Virginia-based Secure Anchor Consulting. In addition, Cole is the former chief technology officer of computer security company McAfee, and former chief scientist of aerospace, defense and technology giant Lockheed Martin.

Here are Dr. Cole’s cybersecurity best practices, and his insights on how to safeguard business data and customer information from the bad guys.

Identifying Vulnerabilities. “Hackers trick employees to open an e-mail attachment or click on a malicious link and expose an otherwise protected database. Companies should try to limit the ways that their employees can access the Internet to limit exposure to cybercrime.”

Protecting Company Data. “Some companies give employees two computers: one to surf the Web and check e-mail, and a second one that is limited to doing their work on a secure, private network. That’s what we did when I was an analyst with the CIA in the late 1980s.”

Incentivizing a Culture of Cyber Safety. “Companies can reinforce good habits by making the security matrix a Key Performance Indicator that’s part of an employee’s bonus. Other firms opt to limit functionality—they don’t allow e-mail attachments, and don’t allow embeddable links—but that can reduce employee effectiveness.”

Testing Breach Risks. “Small- to medium-sized retailers—even ones that engage in e-commerce—aren’t a big target, because they usually just pass through credit card information to third-party processors without storing the data themselves. If a hacker goes after a retailer, it’s likely to be a big operation that has its own database of consumers’ personal information.”

Knowing Your Business is a Target. “Any business that stores a large volume of personal data is a potential target. This includes credit card companies, banks and mortgage companies. Technology companies are also at risk, especially from China-based hackers, since the government there is looking to beef up its tech knowledge and ability.”

Presenting Business Best Practices. “A server with critical data should never be accessible from the Internet. If you’re encrypting data, be sure to store the key on a separate, secured server. Any system that can access the Internet, say for e-mails, should have ‘application whitelisting’ installed.”

Whitelisting. “With a digital index of approved software applications that are allowed to be present and active on your computer system, an attacker can’t get his or her malware or virus to run on your system.”

Preventing Breaches. “The Equifax attack, for example, was easily preventable. The company had a server that could be accessed from the Internet, but it was missing safeguards. Equifax and similar businesses often spend millions of dollars on things like firewalls and monitoring systems. But then they don’t employ enough people to monitor

the threat messages. Analysts are overwhelmed by alerts and begin to ignore some of them, and by the time they recognize that their security has been penetrated, it’s too late.”

Closing Loopholes in Cyber Defense. “Equifax and other large companies should have an updated asset inventory that outlines what systems are visible from the Internet, and how they are configured: are they locked down and secured and updated, or are they vulnerable? They also need to manage and control any changes to the system. So, if a software or hardware engineer modifies the system or changes any components, they’ll first have to go through a security process that will enable them to understand what kind of impact the changes will have on the entire organization and its systems.”

Using Applications that Expose Systems to Hacking. “Web browsers and e-mail clients are the biggest risks. Everyone trusts them and thinks their communications are secure. People go to a Web site, think it’s safe, and they start clicking when they shouldn’t. Instead, you should only go to known, trusted sites.”

Increasing the Odds of a Breach. “Keep away from search engine results, because many results are malicious. Also, people get e-mails with links that look legitimate, but may not be. Don’t open attachments or click on links unless you’re sure they’re safe.”

Identifying the Origins of Cyberattacks. “Many times, the hackers have some connection to governments in mainland China, Russia, or North Korea. The attacks are very organized—these are too sophisticated for rogue criminals. One group, the Russian ‘business network’ has close ties to the Russian Army, with at least 3,000 professional hackers as employees.”

Assessing the Continuing Threat. “The bad guys are ahead because their job is easier—they only have to find a single vulnerability in a system and they’re in. The good guys have to find and defend all vulnerabilities—one weak spot, and your adversary is in.”

How to Ensure Financial Stability In Your Not -for-Profit Organization

For not-for-profit organizations, ensuring financial sustainability is an ever-present challenge. The ability to maintain steady cash flow and fulfill all necessary financial obligations hinges largely on fluctuating donations, government support, and fundraising efforts. The operational nature of non-for-profit organizations is inherently precarious, and today’s dynamic economic climate – encompassing tighter regulatory requirements, cybersecurity threats, greater competition for donor funds and grants and concern over how the recently signed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will impact charitable giving – is placing heightened pressure on not-for-profits to both attain and effectively demonstrate their financial sustainability.

This environment is coupled with the fact that for the first time in more than 20 years, not-for-profit organizations will be required to present their financial statements differently. Under the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2016-14, Not-for-Profit Entities (Topic 958): Presentation of Financial Statement of Not-for-Profit Entities, not-for-profits must provide more qualitative and quantitative information about their financial sustainability.

The new ASU is effective for annual financial statements issued for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017, and for interim periods within fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018. NFPs will need to present footnote disclosures – in a qualitative, narrative fashion – related to how they manage liquid resources available to meet cash needs for general expenditures. Additionally, quantitative information communicating the availability of financial resources at the balance sheet date will be required.

While the new ASU is designed to make financial statements more useful to readers and provide consistency in reporting between organizations, how prepared is your not-for-profit to tell its financial story and satisfy the new requirements?

The answer to this question requires assessment of your organization’s financial sustainability – an assessment of the capacity to maintain steady cash flow, fulfill all financial obligations, and achieve your organization’s social mission and core values over the long term. Developing a financial sustainability plan will ensure your not-for-profit organization thrives over the long term.

ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS IN DEVELOPING YOUR PLAN

Like any plan, a financial sustainability plan will be an ongoing process, developed by a team of managers throughout the organization, that identifies objectives, strategies, and action plans.  A critical component of a financial sustainability plan is an understanding of the past and present and consideration of where you want to be in the long term (say, three years).  The team then needs to develop a realistic inventory of available resources and the needs related to programs and administration of the organization going forward, such as:

  • Short-term liquid assets available for expenditure
  • Availability of long-term restricted assets for expenditure, including consideration of donor restricted assets that are time or purpose restricted and spending policies for endowments
  • Calculation of endowment levels based upon projected spending and anticipated investment returns and how this will impact the spending policy amount available to fund operations in the future
  • Current liabilities, such as accounts payable and accrued expenses
  • Long-term debt, leases, or other financing, including an understanding of interest rates, swap agreements, payment schedules, and balloon payments
  • The diversity of sources of support and revenue and future availability of these funds
  • Availability and recruiting of qualified personnel and evaluation of the required costs (including salaries, benefits, and ongoing training and leadership development) and consideration of availability of donated services
  • Occupancy decisions related to owning or leasing facilities, location of facilities, and the number of facilities required to deliver services effectively and efficiently
  • Use of information technology to automate services, communications, and financial reporting
  • Identifying and re-evaluating the organization’s goals to keep the core mission relevant to the community, considering successful achievement of past goals, generational changes, cultural shifts, etc.
  • Community support related to availability of qualified board members, funding, and volunteers

An analysis of the inventory compared to the plan that depicts where you want to be in three years will reflect gaps.  After taking inventory of the available resources versus the anticipated short- and long-term mission demands, the board and management team should come together to either create or recalibrate the organization’s strategic plan.  The board and management should evaluate the risks versus the rewards of heading in a new strategic direction as part of this exercise. The final consensus may be to embrace more risk and greater creativity, including the use of technology, expansion or reduction of geography or scope of services, new programs, mergers or joint ventures, etc.  Furthermore, developing an enterprise risk management process that will guide the board and management in risk-taking and mitigation may be prudent.

KEY TAKEAWAY

A financial sustainability plan is an investment in the future.  Once developed, the ongoing monitoring and updating of the plan and the resulting stronger financial position of the organization will allow a not-for-profit to make its vision a reality and accomplish its mission.

Critical IT Security Protections Businesses Should Implement

CYBERCRIME IS ON the rise, draining about $500 billion a year from businesses worldwide. Here are just a few preventative measures that can help minimize (or eliminate) the reputational damages, losses, litigation and costs of this growing threat.

Educate your people. Almost all security breaches in business are due to an employee downloading or opening an infected file or link from a Web site or e-mail. Phishing e-mails—designed to look like legitimate messages—are common, and spam filtering and antivirus software cannot protect a network if an employee clicks on an infected link.

Adopt an acceptable use policy (AUP). An AUP outlines how employees are permitted to use company-owned PCs, devices, software, Internet access and e-mail. Policies should limit the Web sites employees can access with work devices and Internet connectivity, and should be enhanced with content-filtering software and firewalls.

Do not allow employees to access company data with unmonitored personal devices. Thanks to the convenience of cloud computing, employees can gain access to company data remotely and from their own personal devices. But if an employee accesses a critical cloud application via a personal device that is infected, the hacker can gain access, too. Companies that allow employees to use personal devices and home PCs need to make sure those devices are properly secured, monitored and maintained by a security professional.

Require strong passwords and passcodes to lock mobile devices. Passwords should be at least eight characters, and contain lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols, and at least one number. On a cell phone, requiring a passcode to be entered will go a long way toward preventing a stolen device from being compromised. Network
administrators also should require a password reset every 30 days to 60 days.

Keep your network and all devices patched and up-to-date. New vulnerabilities are frequently found in common software programs such as Adobe, Flash, Microsoft and QuickTime. When system and application patches and updates become available, they should be installed. Under a managed IT plan, this can all be automated, which eliminates missed updates.

Have a business-class backup both on-premise and in the cloud. In a ransomware attack, a hacker locks up a company’s files and demands a fee to restore them. But if the files are backed up, this becomes a non-issue. Automated backups also protect against employees accidentally (or intentionally) deleting or overwriting files, and against natural disasters, fire, water damage, hardware failures and a host of other data erasing disasters.

Incorporate a business-class firewall and proper updates. Firewalls act as the frontline defense against hackers, blocking everything not specifically allowed to enter (or leave) a computer network. Like systems and applications, firewalls need ongoing monitoring and regular updates as part of a company’s routine IT maintenance.

Implement advanced end-point protection. End points are personal computers, network servers and other devices connected to the Internet. When they are exposed, systems and data become vulnerable. Unlike traditional anti-virus solutions, advanced end-point protection platforms do not require prior knowledge of an attack to detect
and remediate it. They apply machine learning and artificial intelligence to continuously outflank attackers. As such, they are even ready to stop threats that do not yet exist.

Cybercrime has become so widespread that it may not be possible for any business—
large or small—to avoid being a target. A virtual army of hackers and sophisticated crime rings are working around the clock to overcome known protections.

Cardiac Care Advances at New Jersey’s Top Hospitals and Medical Centers

THROUGH SCREENING AND regular checkups, early diagnosis of heart conditions and risk factors can reduce the occurrence of heart attacks, which happen at the alarming rate of one every 34 seconds. Using state-of-the-art advances in cardiac care,
cardiologists are saving lives and improving the quality of life for survivors and their families. Experts from the following top New Jersey hospitals and medical centers are featured in this special section:

  • AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center;
  • Cooper University Health Care;
  • Englewood Hospital and Medical Center;Hackensack University Medical Center (Hackensack Meridian Health);
  • Holy Name Medical Center;
  • Jersey Shore University Medical Center (Hackensack Meridian Health);
  • Monmouth Medical Center (RWJBarnabas Health);
  • Morristown Medical Center (Atlantic Health System);
  • St. Joseph’s University Medical Center;
  • The Valley Hospital (Valley Health System);
  • Trinitas Regional Medical Center.

 

 

AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center
By Sanjay Shetty, M.D., Chairman, Division of Cardiology, AtlantiCare Physician Group, Cardiology

New Jersey designates AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (ARMC) Mainland Campus, a member of Geisinger, as a STEMI Center, that provides the highest level of emergency cardiac care 24 hours a day. The Heart Institute at ARMC Mainland Campus, through its Catheterization & Rhythm Center, is the only provider in southeastern New Jersey of 24/7/365 emergency catheterization with angioplasty and/or stent placement. AtlantiCare treatments include transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR); thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR); transcarotid artery revascularization (TCAR); convergent (radio frequency) atrial fibrillation treatment; non-surgical clamp closure of congenital heart holes; left main coronary artery stenting; and ventricular- assisted percutaneous intervention. Through Geisinger ProvenCare®,

AtlantiCare uses evidence-based protocols aimed at reducing mortality rates, improving outcomes and reducing costly readmissions for cardiac surgery and heart failure patients. AtlantiCare also offers patients who have experienced heart attack, heart surgery and/or heart disease, comprehensive intensive outpatient rehabilitation. Lesser-known causes of heart disease include stress; cardiac asthma or heart failure in elderly diagnosed with asthma or COPD; undertreatment of atrial fibrillation; and under-diagnosis/lack of symptom awareness of heart disease among women and African Americans.

 

Cooper University Health Care
By Phillip A. Koren, M.D., FACC, FSCAI, Medical Director-Cooper Heart Institute, Associate Chief Medical Officer for Ambulatory Services, Clinical and Interventional Cardiologist, Assistant Professor, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University

The Cooper Heart Institute (CHI) at Cooper University Health Care is the most comprehensive heart care center in southern New Jersey, providing world-class cardiac care. Cooper has been a leader in bringing new technology and procedures, such as TAVR and Watchman, to patients in the region. The program has received top quality awards for cardiac surgery including 3-Star Ratings for Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) and Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR), placing Cooper in the top 13 percent of programs nationwide. Cooper has internationally recognized electrophysiologist physicians specializing in all forms of cardiac arrhythmias. The team is expert in advanced coronary intervention and hybrid procedures, which combines procedures to avoid sternotomy whenever possible (major, open chest procedures) and is widely recognized for its expertise in mitral valve repair. Cooper also has the largest women’s heart program with five fulltime female cardiologists. In addition, the CHI provides advanced treatment of cardiac arrhythmia, including leadless pacemakers, and techniques to remove pacemaker wires. Most people are aware that smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, family history and lack of exercise are risk factors for heart disease. But, there are other lesser known risks factors. Also, those with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and any other inflammatory diseases are at risk for cardiac issues. Sleep apnea, chronic stress or excessive alcohol consumption are associated with hypertension and other heart conditions. Most people do not realize that the leading killer for women in the United States is heart disease. At Cooper, given our association with the MD Anderson Cooper Center, we do commonly see patients receiving treatments that may affect the heart.

 

Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
By Samuel Suede, M.D., Chief of Cardiology
Englewood Hospital and Medical Center has once again been nationally recognized as a leader in providing exceptional and safe cardiac care by Healthgrades, The Leapfrog Group and Carechex®. Over the past year, the medical center has greatly expanded its cardiac services through community-based practices in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic and Rockland (New York) counties. Among the most recent clinical innovations offered to cardiac patients are the Impella® program to support those with severe heart failure; the WATCHMAN™ device for left appendage closures, as well as stroke risk reduction in people with atrial fibrillation; and MitraClip® procedures for managing inoperable mitral valve disease. Englewood Hospital’s TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) program remains a leader in the state, treating severe aortic stenosis—narrowing of the aortic valve—using minimally invasive techniques. In addition, the Micra™ Transcatheter Pacing System, the world’s smallest wireless pacemaker, is being used to treat patients with bradycardia. While many people are aware of the common causes for heart disease, some may not know that lack of exercise (sedentary lifestyle), obesity, sleep apnea and depression are quickly becoming major risk factors for life-threatening cardiac episodes. Regular appointments with your physician are imperative to mitigating these risks and preventing emergencies.

 

Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack Meridian Health
By Joseph E. Parrillo, M.D., Chair, Heart and Vascular Hospital

Cardiovascular disease is a problem of extraordinary magnitude and is the most common cause of death in the United States. New technologies in use at the Heart and Vascular Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center are revolutionizing our ability to treat heart disease and further reduce morbidity. One revolutionary technique is Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which is used to replace the aortic valve in patients who are not healthy enough to undergo traditional open-heart surgery. The Hackensack Structural Heart Disease program also performs transcatheter closure of para-valvular leaks (PVLs) in previously placed artificial valves. Our Structural Heart team has one of the largest experiences in the world in successfully closing PVLs.

Another groundbreaking technology is the Left Atrial Appendage Occluder Device (LAAOD) for patients who suffer from atrial fibrillation, and are likely to develop small blood clots in their atrial heart chamber. These blood clots can travel to the brain causing a stroke. Using a catheter-based approach, a small parachute-like device can be permanently implanted into the left atrial appendage, occluding the appendage over several months. Patients with this device in place are protected from clots and stroke, and no longer require anticoagulants. One of the major challenges is treatment of a patient with heart failure who is no longer responding to conventional medications. Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs), mechanical heart support devices, are highly effective short-and long-term heart assists for patients with severe heart failure. VADs can be implanted to improve quality of life and long-term survival. These devices are
lifesaving in appropriate heart failure patients.

 

Holy Name Medical Center
By Zankhana Raval, M.D, Board-Certified Interventional Cardiologist

At Holy Name Medical Center, our world-class, technically skilled cardiologists are compassionate and comprehensive in our approach to providing holistic, patient-centered heart care utilizing state-of-the-art technology and advanced techniques. We thoroughly investigate the structure, blood supply and electrical system of each patient’s heart, while considering not only the well-known risk factors of heart disease—such as family history, hypertension, high cholesterol and smoking— but also lesser-known risk factors. These include advanced liver or kidney disease, a history of chest radiation or certain types of chemotherapy (required and life-saving), sleep apnea, significant
alcohol or drug abuse, and certain infections. Early identification of cardiac issues; streamlined protocols, such as “chest pain fast track” starting in the Emergency Care Center; and thorough cardiovascular evaluations utilizing state-of-the-art diagnostic technology (including SPECT imaging, 64-slice CT angiography and transesophageal echocardiograms) enable our board-certified cardiologists to make accurate diagnoses. Our cardiac team has expertise in interventional cardiology; electrophysiology; peripheral and endovascular interventions for peripheral arterial disease; and non-invasive diagnostic testing. Easy scheduling, evidence-based guidelines for best practices in cardiac care, and advanced interventional devices and treatment modalities—such as transradial cardiac catheterization, which minimizes bleeding and maximizes an easier recovery, and angioplasty using medicated dissolving stents—often lead to safer, better outcomes.

 

Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Hackensack Meridian Health
By Richard M. Neibart, M.D., Chief, Cardiac Surgery
The cutting-edge advancements that are taking place at Jersey Shore University Medical Center are transforming treatment options and improving the quality of life for patients. Advanced procedures such as TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR), robotic-assisted Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG), Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) and CentriMag™ technology are some of the latest innovations. Jersey Shore University Medical Center is one of the few hospitals in the country and one of only two hospitals in the state to offer TCAR, the most advanced minimally invasive procedure that dramatically reduces the risk of stroke in patients being treated for carotid artery disease. It is also one of the only hospitals in the state to perform groundbreaking robotic-assisted minimally invasive CABG surgery using the da Vinci® Xi Surgical System, the most advanced surgical robot available. This innovative technology allows complex cardiovascular surgeries to be performed through smaller
incisions and precise motion control, offering patients improved outcomes in comparison to the conventional approaches. Jersey Shore University Medical Center has also performed more than 500 TAVR procedures, giving new hope to patients with critical aortic stenosis who are at an increased risk for conventional surgery. Most recently, the medical center introduced the CentriMag™, which is a ventricular assist
device (VAD) used in patients for the treatment of heart failure. These are among the many comprehensive offerings that place Jersey Shore University Medical Center on the forefront of cardiovascular care.

 

Monmouth Medical Center, RWJBarnabas Health
By Isaac Tawfik, M.D., Chief of Cardiology, Member, Barnabas Health Medical Group
Our team of cardiac specialists offers advanced cardiac care for patients with the support of the vast network of cardiac services available throughout New Jersey by RWJBarnabas Health. Monmouth Medical Center offers comprehensive diagnostic testing—including coronary CTA; echocardiography, including transesophageal echo (TEE) with 3D techniques; coronary and peripheral angiography; stress testing using nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging; and stress echocardiography. For those who require a more advanced level of heart care, we facilitate a seamless transition to one of our system’s four cardiac surgery centers, where our team is performing and perfecting the latest in minimally invasive, percutaneous procedures; valve replacements and repairs; electrophysiology studies, including arrhythmia detection and ablation and device implants; ventricular assist devices; pediatric cardiac surgery; and cardiac transplantation. While most people recognize the common causes of heart disease, including advanced age, diabetes, tobacco use, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, it is important to also recognize the less commonly known causes of heart disease. These include stress, congenital heart disease, excessive alcohol or caffeine intake, drug abuse, obesity, lack of physical activity and poor oral hygiene. It is also essential to remember that family history and genetics play a major role and should be discussed with your physician.

 

Morristown Medical Center, Atlantic Health System
By Linda D. Gillam, M.D., MPH, FACC, FAHA, FASE, the Dorothy and Lloyd Huck Chair
of Cardiovascular Medicine
The Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute/Morristown Medical Center offers advanced cardiac care for all forms of heart disease. In addition to being the first and highest-volume program in New Jersey for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR),
Morristown Medical Center offers catheter-based interventions for mitral and tricuspid valve disease not offered at any other center in New Jersey, and few in the nation. The Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute offers advanced cardiovascular imaging, including positron emission tomography (PET) scanning, a more sensitive lower radiation form of nuclear stress testing, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. It is widely recognized for its Mechanical Circulatory Support Program, which provides patients with advanced heart failure permanent left ventricular assist devices. Morristown Medical Center also has nationally and internationally known programs for less recognized, but important forms of heart disease. The Chanin T. Mast Center for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) offers patients a supportive, multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of HCM. This is a common genetically transmitted condition of the heart muscle that affects 1 in 500 Americans. While it is the most common cause of sudden death in athletes, it is frequently underdiagnosed. Additionally, our cardio-oncology program provides care for patients with heart damage due to cancer treatment, with patients with breast cancer being at highest risk.

 

The Valley Hospital
By Suneet Mittal, M.D., Director of Electrophysiology, Medical Director, the Snyder Center for Comprehensive Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common irregular or abnormal heart rhythm disorder, affecting more than 3 million Americans. If untreated, AFib can cause serious complications. At Valley’s Snyder Center for Comprehensive Atrial Fibrillation, we practice an integrative, total patient management approach to the treatment of AFib. The emphasis is on overall health, not simply treating AFib. Patients seen at the Snyder Center receive individualized evaluation and treatment by a multidisciplinary team, including electrophysiologists, plus specialists in imaging, cardiology, sleep medicine, nutrition and weight loss management, diabetes and stress management. The goal is to identify health issues that are contributing to the patient’s AFib—such as stress, hypertension, sleep apnea and obesity. Navigators and coordinators guide patients through the entire care continuum. Some individuals don’t notice any symptoms of AFib. Others feel palpitations or a galloping or sluggish heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, fatigue or weakness, dizziness, unexplained falls or fainting. Treatment may include lifestyle measures, medications, implantable devices, cardioversion treatment and catheter ablation or surgery.

 

St. Joseph’s University Medical Center Offers the World’s Smallest Pacemaker

St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, part of St. Joseph’s Health, announced
that it is among the first hospitals in New Jersey to offer the world’s smallest pacemaker for patients with bradycardia, a slow or irregular heart rhythm. The Micra® Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) is a new type of heart device that provides patients with the most advanced pacing technology at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker.

Bradycardia is a condition characterized by a slow or irregular heart rhythm, usually fewer than 60 beats per minute. At this rate, the heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity or exercise, causing dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or fainting spells. Pacemakers are the most common way to treat bradycardia to help restore the heart’s normal rhythm and relieve symptoms by sending electrical impulses to the heart to increase the heart rate.

Comparable in size to a large vitamin, the Micra TPS does not require cardiac wires or leads or a surgical “pocket” created under the skin to deliver a pacing therapy. Instead, the device is delivered through a catheter and implanted directly into the heart with small tines, providing a safe alternative to conventional pacemakers without the complications associated with leads, all while being cosmetically invisible. The Micra
TPS is designed to automatically adjust pacing therapy based on a patient’s activity levels.

The Micra TPS also incorporates a retrieval feature to enable retrieval of the device when possible; however, the device is designed to be left in the body. For patients who need more than one heart device, the Micra TPS was designed with a unique feature that enables it to be permanently turned off, so it can remain in the body and a new
device can be implanted without risk of electrical interaction.

 

Trinitas Regional Medical Center Implements AHA Standards

“It is important to strengthen the chain of survival in our community,” says Trinitas Regional Medical Center President and CEO Gary S. Horan, FACHE. “The AHA toolkit brings the chain full circle by incorporating healthy dietary guidelines for Trinitas to implement and share with the community.”

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently honored Trinitas Regional Medical Center for its impact in increasing standards in food and nutrition among healthcare systems in New Jersey. Trinitas was the first hospital in the state to use AHA’s new Healthy Workplace Food and Beverage Toolkit, which was designed to help organizations improve their food environment and promote a culture of health. The toolkit provides practical action steps and suggestions that are easy to understand and apply.

“The use of this toolkit was essential to our mission as a healthcare provider,” explains Nancy DiLiegro, Ph.D., FACHE, chief clinical officer, vice president of Clinical Operations and Physician Services. “We pride ourselves on providing quality, nutritious options to our patients and guests. We want to be the example of healthy living from the food we eat to the lifestyles we lead.”

Dr. DiLiegro is a board member for the Northern New Jersey Chapter of the American Heart Association and a board member for the American Heart Association Founders Affiliate for eight states.

Combined with the internal expertise and resources of the Food & Nutrition Department, Trinitas was able to achieve a positive impact through offering healthier vending machine options, catering at special events and presenting nutrition seminars. The American Heart Association acknowledged Trinitas for its leadership and commitment to building a healthier environment for employees, patients, visitors and the community.

 

Delta Dental: Good Oral Health Can Lessen Heart Disease Risks

Dentist Holding Dental Lamp

According to a study in the American Journal of Medicine, “people who use plaque-targeting toothpaste brush their teeth more thoroughly, lowering their levels of heart-attack triggering inflammation.” This 2016 study suggests that a thorough brushing habit can decrease the future risk of heart attacks.

According to Delta Dental, maintaining oral health is also important for those who already have coronary heart disease.

“While additional study is needed, research indicates that oral health could play a role in improving overall health and lowering the risk of serious conditions,” explains Kevin Sheu, DDS, director of professional services for Delta Dental. “Research like this is a good reminder that a healthy lifestyle, including a strong oral health component,
supports better overall wellness.”

Another study found that tooth loss is associated with an increased risk of death
and stroke in heart disease patients. Compared to individuals who still had all their own teeth, those with no teeth showed greater overall health risk; for example, 27 percent higher risk of major cardiovascular events; 85 percent higher risk of cardiovascular death; 67 percent higher risk of stroke; 81 percent higher risk of all causes of death; and patients who had lost only some teeth experienced a steadily increased risk, rising
roughly 6 percent for every tooth lost.

7 Worthwhile Ways to Use Your Tax Refund

According to the Internal Revenue Service, more than 70 percent of the nation’s taxpayers received a tax refund averaging nearly $3,000 in 2017 and will get a similar amount this year. As Americans receive their refunds along with additional benefits coming from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December, Atlantic Stewardship Bank has highlighted seven tips to help them use their money wisely.

“Tax season is the perfect time to hit the reset button on your finances,” said Paul Van Ostenbridge, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Stewardship Bank. “Your refund can help put you on the right path towards reaching your financial goals. Consider using it to pay off debts or creating an emergency fund.”

To help consumers make the most out of their money, ASB has highlighted the following tips:

  • Save for emergencies.  More than 60 percent of Americans are not prepared for unexpected expenses. You can prepare by opening or adding to a savings account that serves as an “emergency fund.” Ideally, it should hold about three-to-six months of living expenses in case of sudden financial hardships like losing your job or having to replace your car.
  • Pay off debt.  Pay down existing balances either by chipping away at loans with the highest interest rates or eliminating smaller debt first.
  • Save for retirement, your child’s education or future health expenses. Open or increase contributions to a tax-deferred savings plan like a 401(k) or an IRA. Your bank can help set up an IRA, while a 401(k) is employer-sponsored. Look into opening a tax-advantaged 529 education savings plan to ensure school expenses will be covered when your child reaches college age. Or save for future health expenses with tax-free dollars by investing in a Health Savings Account.
  • Pay down your mortgage or student loans.  Make an extra payment on your mortgage or student loans each year to save money on interest while reducing the term of your loans. Be sure to inform your lender that your extra payments should be applied to principal, not interest.
  • Invest safely with U.S. savings bonds or municipal bonds. The U.S. Treasury allows for savings bonds to be purchased using your tax refund for as little as $50. Savings bonds earn interest for a maximum of 30 years.
  • Invest in your current home.  Use your refund to invest in home improvements that will pay you back in the long run by increasing the value of your home.  This can include small, cost-effective upgrades like energy-efficient appliances that will pay off in both the short and long term – and with tax credits (as long as Congress continues to renew the program).
  • Donate to charity.  The benefit is two-fold: Giving to charity will make a difference in your community, and you can also claim the tax deduction, if you itemize.

ASB also stressed the importance of lower-income workers filing a tax return—even if their income is too low to trigger any federal tax liability—in order to potentially claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  Depending on a recipient’s income, marital status and number of children, the EITC can result in a refund of up to $6,318 to help them achieve financial goals.