Paramedic Program - This important emergency resource was started in 2000 with financial assistance from the Rural Health Network. Over a ten-year period, the Network provided nearly $1 million to support this program. It now answers about 1,900 calls annually and, with the help of the Network, has become a self-sufficient asset to Greene County over the past years. The Paramedic program was named “Rural Program of the Year” in 2010 by the New York State Association of Rural Health. The Paramedic Program responds to the most serious emergencies such as heart attacks and vehicular crashes.
EMS Electronic Reports - The RHN funded the adoption of the Electronic Patient Care Report for most ambulance squads, covering more than 85% of the 7,900 emergency medical service calls in the County. Few counties in the State have such a high percentage.
Practitioner Placement Program - According to Federal guidelines, our County needs the equivalent of about 15 primary care doctors. 15 years ago there were about 6 and now the County has about 14. The Network has helped to recruit and support 6 primary care doctors in Greene County, who provide an estimated 21,000 primary care visits each year. These doctors are instrumental in helping promote patient health, prevent illnesses, and identify and treat health problems early. These doctors help prevent or mitigate the extent of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic diseases. They also help people with tobacco cessation and weight loss, which are two of our deadliest lifestyles.
Healthy Weight Initiative - This program has started a number of activities, including “GreeneWalks,” winter walking in schools, biking, eating healthier restaurant meals, taste testing of different fruits and vegetables at a local grade school, and promoting breastfeeding. We have also sponsored two weight-loss contests in which 630 people participated, and cash prizes were awarded to over 70 people. Over 6,000 weight-loss ads have been run on TV and radio.
Physician Office-based Mental Health - The Network has partnered with the County Mental Health Center and private-sector counselors to provide screening and counseling services in primary care physician offices. Establishing these services in “patient-friendly” sites increases access to and participation in mental health programs. Hundreds of counseling sessions are conducted yearly. Nearly 80% of people see their primary care doctor every year and nearly 90% every two years so establishing the screening and counseling program in primary care doctors’ offices means that nearly everyone could be screened for behavioral health problems. About 50% of all primary care physicians in the County are participating, and our goal is to have 100%. This program is also proving to be an excellent approach to fostering cooperation in patient case management between medical doctors and behavioral health professionals. An estimated 10,000 mental health screenings have been provided in this program as of December 2013.
School-Based Mental Health Counseling - Our schools are an excellent resource for screening adolescents and pre-adolescents for behavioral health problems since nearly all of them attend school. Moreover, teachers are an excellent resource for identifying children who may need behavioral health services. The Network, also in partnership with our County Mental Health Center, has established a screening and counseling program available in three school districts. This program provides counseling to schoolchildren and their families right at the school the child attends, which improves access and participation levels. More than 600 counseling sessions are provided each year. We are working to expand the program into the other three districts.
Mobile Dental Health Van - A licensed dentist and dental hygienist bring dental treatment service to schools, health care centers, and other sites throughout Greene County. They fill cavities, extract teeth and perform other services for about 100 children and 100 adults every year. Dental treatment services have been provided to about 1,200 children and adults as of December 2013.
Dental Sealants - The RHN educates over 500 third graders every year on good oral hygiene practices and then applies sealants and other preventive measures to those children who need such services to help protect their teeth from decay. Since 2003, approximately 5,500 grade school children have been educated on oral hygiene, and more than 2,000 children have been provided sealants and fluoride applications.
Improving Compliance with Health Screening Guidelines - We have sponsored over 10,000 TV and radio ads, distributed personal checklists that contain screening guidelines for an entire family, and sponsored several health screeening fairs. Compliance levels with many screening guidelines is very high, but we still need to improve compliance rates for mammograms and pap smears.
Enrolling Uninsured Children and Families for Health Insurance Coverage - The sad and frustrating fact is that nearly all of our uninsured children are eligible for coverage given existing State programs – Child Health Plus (CHP) and Medicaid. But, a large percentage of children remain unenrolled because many parents are either unaware of the programs, think they do not qualify or are unable to complete the forms.
The Rural Health Network funded a staff person for three years to help enroll children into either Child Health Plus or Medicaid. Also, this staff person helped adults to enroll into Family Health Plus. Over the years, several hundred children and adults have obtained health coverage.
Promoting Health Care Providers - Greene County offers a wide range of high-quality health care services. Yet, our household surveys indicate that many residents and employers are unaware of the services or mistakenly regard them as substandard. This lack of awareness fosters an attitude that our heath care system is inferior, which needlessly disheartens the citizenry as well as discourages prospective employers from locating here. A major information/educational campaign had been conducted over the years, including over 7,000 ads through TV, billboards, radio, and newspapers. Our most recent survey shows that public awareness of our high-quality providers is steadily increasing.
GreeneHealth has also provided funding to:
• Upgrade medical communications systems and train volunteer ambulance squads.
• Purchase asthma supplies for school children.
• Expand kidney dialysis services.
• Increase diabetes education and services.
• Improve the detection of breast cancer
• Improve services for sexual assault victims.