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« November 2020 » loading...


Rural Health Champions Honored on National Rural Health Day

In honor of National Rural Health Day on November 19, the Rural Health Networks of Northern New York recognized 2020 Rural Health Champions. The annual recognition is a collaborative effort of four of the North Country’s Rural Health Networks, including the Adirondack Rural Health Network (ARHN), a program of AHI.

Each year since 2015, the Rural Health Networks in Northern New York ask their network partners to nominate individuals who exemplify the selfless, community-minded, can-do spirit that prevails in rural America. This year, ARHN sought to identify individuals who showed exemplary selflessness, leadership, and continued delivery of outstanding care in the community during these unprecedented times.

2020 AHI Rural Health Champions:

Angela Bashaw, The University of Vermont Health Network – Alice Hyde Medical Center

An excerpt from her nomination read: “As a sole rural hospital, we are always searching for ways to meet the variety of mandates placed on us with shrinking reimbursements. The concept of conversion to Rural Health Clinic status was introduced to us several years ago and Angie Bashaw took the lead on this transformative project. She researched and learned the process that the change required and has led the transformation of our four community health centers and recently our adult primary care center to RHC status. This effort was tremendous, and it allows us, as a small organization, to continue to provide quality care and have funds to meet mandates and re-invest in our future needs. Angie’s leadership in this conversion is one example of the many projects and initiatives for which she represents our facility.”

Marco DiGirolomo, Senior Planet North Country/Older Adults Technology Services

An excerpt from his nomination read: “I believe Marco DiGirolomo should be nominated because of his exemplary leadership of Senior Planet North Country during the COVID-19 pandemic. Marco worked with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Clinton County to ensure that their collaborative exercise classes continued during this time. These classes have amassed more than 700 older adults from all across the region. With doing all of this, Marco has remained humble and a magnificent leader to all of the Senior Planet North Country team.”

Jacqueline Foster, 820 River St., Inc., The Baywood Center

An excerpt from her nomination read: “Before the word pandemic was used to describe COVID, Jackie was already researching ways in which the Baywood Center could continue to provide services. Jackie’s understanding of the disease of addiction helped her realized that continuing care was a necessity in addictive behaviors, and she wanted to be proactive before that statistic increased. She spent endless hours in the evening working on reports, rewriting policies, and finding solutions to every hurdle that she encountered so that our services were never interrupted. Client care has always been Jackie’s primary focus throughout her 11 years with this agency. She never disappoints, goes above and beyond, sacrifices family time and never complains. What a treasure we ALL have in our midst!”

Rebecca Leahy, North Country Home Services

An excerpt from her nomination read: “Becky began her 34-year career in home health care after 17 years as a Registered Nurse working for seven years in a hospital and 10 years in college health services. She has been an active advocate for access to quality home care in our rural region. Becky is an active member of the Tri-Lakes Aging in Place Task Force and the Caregiving Working Group of Essex and Franklin Counties, facilitated by Mercy Care for the Adirondacks, where she is a leading advocate for promoting the aims of the Home Care Workforce Shortage Crisis Campaign in the Adirondacks. She is a bold and innovative leader in pursing new opportunities to recruit, retain, and value home care personnel.”

Dr. Erica Mahoney, Hamilton County Public Health

An excerpt from her nomination read: “Erica Mahoney’s drive and passion for the well-being of Hamilton County residents has always been evident. Often working nights and weekends, Erica has collaborated with multiple stakeholders to ensure the safety and welfare of residents, and employees throughout the county. Despite the chaos and stress the pandemic has created, Erica comes to work each day with a positive attitude, ready for what the day may bring with the team she has assembled at Public Health. Erica continues to create a safe and stable work environment, where her door is always open. This positive energy and positive leadership serves as an example for her staff and for the communities as well.”

HealthyADK Website Adds Helpful New Features, a website of key socio-economic indicators created to help improve community health and well-being, maintained by Adirondack Health Institute, has added a number of helpful new features. The site now offers more than 500 searchable indicators and metrics, more than double the number previously available, and has expanded its reach from seven to nine counties. In addition, visitors can now access regional community health reports, assessments, and plans, along with evidence-based community health resources.

North Country Telehealth Partnership Honors Telehealth Innovators at Annual Conference

Telehealth Innovator Award recipients were honored at the Annual North Country Telehealth Conference, hosted by the North Country Telehealth Partnership on September 23, 2020. The award is given to individuals and organizations that have implemented an innovative program or application of telehealth leading to improved health outcomes and quality-of-life in the communities they serve. This year, special consideration was extended to individuals and organizations that have successfully and creatively implemented telehealth practices during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

This year’s awardees include:

  • Planned Parenthood of Greater New York Telehealth Team, 2020 Telehealth Primary Care Innovators
    An excerpt from their nomination read: “Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, PPGNY has worked tirelessly to ensure our patients and communities can still rely on us for care, and our providers have found innovative ways to make our services more accessible, patient-centered, and sustainable, all while keeping patients and themselves safe.”
  • Darcy Fournier and Tiffany King, The University of Vermont Health Network – Alice Hyde Medical Center, 2020 Telehealth Hospital Innovators
    An excerpt from their nomination read: “During this implementation, a special segment of our patient population was identified as being special needs. Some of our more rural residents did not have adequate internet service to connect with their provider. Another significant segment of our patients did not own a device. Tiffany and Darcy created a curbside service, whereby these patients can receive the same video service, with our devices, on our campus.”
  • Neha Golwala, Adirondack Physical Therapy and Fitness, 2020 Telehealth Specialty Care Innovator
    An excerpt from her nomination read: “The key to her therapeutic approach with me was communication. She called several times to be sure I had a device and that I knew how to use the Zoom app. She sent me an email indicating what I would need for her sessions. And most of all, I received phone calls and emails constantly asking how I was doing on days I wasn’t scheduled. I felt a bond with her during this time period, and she made me feel important.”
  • Brett Nelson and Frederick Jones, Four Winds Hospitals, 2020 Telehealth Mental Health Innovators
    An excerpt from Dr. Nelson’s nomination read: “What would typically take months or years, took four days because Dr. Nelson had done all of the research and much of the prep work, and was solution-seeking from the start. It was Dr. Nelson’s vision and leadership that was the driving force. Between March 23rd and June 30th, Dr. Nelson and his colleagues held 2,478 telepsychiatry appointments, serving 893 children and adolescents.”
  • An excerpt from Mr. Jones’ nomination read: “Within days of the program closing its physical doors, Mr. Jones reimagined the partial hospital and intensive outpatient programs and led his team of prescribers, therapists, and nurses to open a virtual group therapy program using the online platform. This required an enormous amount of restructuring, rescheduling, faith in the power of telehealth, and a steadfast belief in his team of professionals.”
  • Sheena Smith, St. Lawrence County Community Services, 2020 Telehealth Mental Health Innovator
    An excerpt from her nomination read: “Sheena devoted much of her time before the COVID pandemic began to getting us on track for utilizing telehealth simply because the technology would allow for us to help more people who were unable to find the time to attend sessions in the office. This proved to be a wise choice when the pandemic hit as we were already familiar with utilizing this technology. Our clients have responded very well. Our success in utilizing this technology has also driven us to begin using telehealth in our mental health clinics. Sheena is always looking for more ways to help our current and potential clients.”

In addition to the awardees, the North Country Telehealth Partnership recognized the following individuals who received honorable mentions:

  • Dragos Banu, The University of Vermont Health Network – Alice Hyde Medical Center
  • John Bennett, CDPHP
  • Kimberly Coolidge, The University of Vermont Health Network – Elizabethtown Community Hospital
  • Christopher Del Vecchio, MVP Health Care
  • Steve Koop-Angelicola, Essex County Health Department, Home Health Unit
  • Traci Ploufe, Mental Health Association of Essex County
  • Linda Spokane, Hudson Headwaters Health Network

The North Country Telehealth Partnership is a collaborative initiative of Adirondack Health Institute and Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization. The partnership is focused on increasing access to health care through the innovative use of telehealth and telemedicine technology. The partnership covers an 11-county region of northern New York with a goal of growing telehealth adoption, implementation, and utilization.

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