Amid the publicity given to Gov. Elliot Spitzer’s partially successful efforts to achieve significant savings in health care costs in the state budget, one little-noticed line item expanding state funding for health care was inserted with the support of the leadership of both houses of the State Legislature — $540,000 for thyroid cancer screening for New Yorkers who were exposed to massive amounts of harmful radiation during the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.
Nella Shapiro’s waiting room feels more like a living room than an antiseptic medical office. European vintage posters, lush plants and colorful sofas fill the room, and the breast surgeon is often up front, greeting patients by name. One day last week, a woman who had surgery about six years ago insisted on coming in with a friend who is now a patient, just to say hello to the doctor.
"You saved my life," she reminds the doctor, who then asks about the woman’s grandson.