Creating a Healthier Adirondack Region Together

Strengthening communities, empowering individuals, transforming health care.

Adirondack Health Institute is an independent, non-profit organization supporting hospitals, physician practices, behavioral health providers, community-based organizations, patients and others in our region to transform health care and improve population health.

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5th Annual North Country Telehealth Conference – The Value of Virtual Care:
Perspectives from Policymakers, Providers, and Patients

NOVEMBER 6-7, 2019


What is Happening at Adirondack Health Institute


« September 2019 » loading...
Thu 19

2019 AHI Leadership Summit

September 19 @ 8:00 am - 3:45 pm
Sat 21

EASE at 2nd Annual SPARCC Live Well, Be Well Event

September 21 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Thu 26
Thu 26

EASE at Greenwich Community Activity Fair

September 26 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Sat 28

EASE at AppleFest

September 28 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm


Prison Rehab Program Offers Better Living Experiences

Amanda Zeno, LCSW, MA, CASAC, Counselor at the Baywood Center in Queensbury, has witnessed firsthand the positive impact the ABLE (Access to Better Living Experiences) program has had on those released from jail in making a smooth transition back into their community. The Baywood Center, part of 820 River Street, Inc., is a private rehabilitation facility specializing in the treatment of mental health, substance abuse, opioid addiction, and alcoholism. According to Zeno, the ABLE program has helped numerous clients secure much-needed housing, employment, food, and more.

“Ms. Smith was referred to the ABLE program by her Probation Officer while she was incarcerated on a probation violation. When she was released from jail, she had no housing, food, or employment. She completed her temporary assistance application prior to being released from jail and was placed in a hotel upon her release and she completed the apartment and job search requirements of the Department of Social Services,” shared Zeno. “At the time of her discharge, she was residing in independent housing and working 30 hours per week. Three months later, her probation officer reported Ms. Smith remained employed, was living in the same apartment, and paying her restitution.”

Another client, Mr. Smith, was referred to the ABLE program by the Warren County Department of Social Services for assistance with housing. “He (Smith) was on parole for a sex offense and had been released after 10 years of incarceration. He and I met weekly to discuss his ongoing housing search. He completed an outpatient substance abuse evaluation at the Baywood Center, as directed by parole, and was not recommended for treatment. He was connected to a long-term Health Home Care Manager through Fort Hudson Care Management,” said Zeno. “Despite the difficulties with his family, and the obligations through DSS and parole, he has remained free in the community.”

A third client, Mr. Jones, was referred to the ABLE program by Washington County Alternative Sentencing. “He (Jones) was incarcerated for a DWI and awaiting sentencing to the Washington County Drug Treatment Court. He was referred to the 820 River St. Men’s Community Residence and the Baywood Center. He was admitted to the Baywood Center in March and was recommended for an intensive outpatient level of care,” explained Zeno. “At the time of his discharge from the ABLE program, he was continuing to make good progress in treatment. As a result of his participation in the community residence program, he was set up with insurance and began establishing a meeting schedule. A month since his discharge from ABLE, he has completed his community residence and moved home. He is attending treatment as scheduled, and complying with drug court.”

“It’s gratifying to watch so many clients benefit from the ABLE program,” stated Zeno. “It has definitely helped make the transition back into society much more achievable for these individuals.”

AHI Health Home Care Management Network Launches New Care Coordination Software Platform

The AHI Health Home Care Management Network has put in place a new care coordination software platform, Netsmart.

“Netsmart is a versatile and powerful system that will be a valuable tool for our network,” said Ann Hutchison, Director, Care Management and Health Home, AHI. “Its technology allows us to track services and treatments for individuals across care settings, reduce duplicative services, and simplify care transitions with secure data exchange.”

According to Hutchison, nearly 250 care managers from 23 partner organizations received comprehensive training in preparation of the platform’s recent launch. Meanwhile, more than 3,000 patient records were seamlessly migrated into the new system.

“Netsmart will also help us focus on the complete person and social determinants of care,” continued Hutchison. Another benefit of the platform, according to Hutchison, is its connectivity to Hixny, the region’s Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO). “Health record and data sharing between the two will greatly enhance our efficiencies and effectiveness,” said Hutchison.

“We’re extremely grateful to our partners for the hard work they put in and the patience they exhibited throughout the entire transition process,” stated Hutchison. “We’re certainly off on the right footing and look forward to working together to make this endeavor a success.”

Mountain Lake Services Successfully Transitions to New EHR System

For 45 years, Mountain Lakes Services, headquartered in Port Henry, has provided a variety of supports for individuals with developmental disabilities. Covering the vast entirety of Essex County, the organization presently employs 596 staff members and operates an astounding 46 individual residential alternative (IRA) homes, as well as several day service sites. The organization also provides home-based supports, early childhood intervention, family supports, supported employment, and a wide array of other needed services. Yet, as large as they’d become over the years, until quite recently the entire operation relied solely on a paper-based care record system.

With the advent of DSRIP and accompanying move from a fee-for-service to a value-based care and payment model, the organization realized it needed to make the leap to an electronic health record system. “We knew we needed to make strategic decisions to prepare for the transformation to managed care and that moving to electronic records would be a key investment in our future,” stated Executive Director Martin Nephew.

After receiving DSRIP funding near the end of 2016, and a year-plus period of intensive preparatory work, the agency went live with PrecisionCare, an electronic case record software system, on January 1, 2018.

“The particular needs of developmental disability services required an electronic records solution tailored to our situation,” explained Ken Dales, Director of Service Excellence. “DSRIP funding helped us implement a system to meet those needs.”

According to Dales, the transition went much more smoothly than anticipated. New endeavors of this sort typically have bumps along the way, including the natural pushback an organization receives from staff when attempting to implement anything new or different. “To my surprise, staff readily accepted the system. Although initially intimidated, I think they quickly realized how easy it was to use and how much it would help us with record-keeping,” said Dales. “I was also concerned that staff who weren’t technically-inclined or used to using computer systems might have a tough time adapting, but people adopted it enthusiastically.”

Dales credits much of the project’s successful launch to Kristie Watrous who has served as system administrator. “Kristie spent time as the project lead doing a great deal of legwork and training staff to get them ready for the transition,” stated Dales.

Dales also points to the hard work of the service coordination team who were asked to take on the daunting task of transposing piles of records from paper to the electronic system. “I told them in the case of projects like this, there’s always going to be a lot of hard work to put in up front, but in the end, that effort will be worth it because it’ll make everyone’s lives so much simpler,” said Dales.

And while the transition to the new system is still very much a work in process, the initial benefits are already starting to show. “I’m a data person by nature who’s worked in the community services field for 30 years. I love the fact that with this system in place, I can collect data and really delve into the information to see exactly what’s going on with the individuals we serve,” explained Dales. One of DSRIP’s main focuses is on reducing avoidable emergency room visits and hospitalizations and with this software system in place, the organization can take a deep dive to uncover the causes of such events to develop strategies to reduce them.

“Having all of this data readily available has really helped us with our day-to-day operations, as well as prepare us for a value-based payment world,” stated Nephew. “We are grateful for the support of AHI and DSRIP to make this transition. It has provided us the funding to engage in projects like this that otherwise would not have happened.”

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