Our Accomplishments As of September 15, 2017
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. Since 2000, the Paramedic Program has answered about 27,000 calls 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.
County-Wide Ambulance System – The Network is funding a study on the feasibility of consolidating all 10 ambulance agencies in the County and the one paramedic service into a single corporation. The consolidation will save money, lower response times, and improve quality of care for the 7,100 annual emergency medical events in the County.
Practitioner Placement Program – According to Federal guidelines, our County needs the equivalent of about 15 primary care doctors. 20 years ago there were about 6 and now the County has about the recommended 15. 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 sponsored 5 weight-loss contests in which over 1,650 people participated, and cash prizes were awarded to nearly 200 people; the 6th Anniversary Contest runs February 2018 – May 2018 followed by a 16-week weight-maintenance contest. Over 13,500 weight-loss and healthy weight ads have been run on TV and radio. The Network places significant emphasis on the contest because the people who enter it have taken perhaps the most important step – a mental commitment to losing weight and maintaining that loss. They are now receptive to eating less, exercising, and eating healthier. Our job is to provide them a set of activities to help them succeed – the contest’s friendly competition and group support, weight-loss strategies, weight-loss tips, walking activities, healthier diet, and primary care physician weight-loss counseling.
The Healthy Weight Initiative also sponsors indoor and outdoor (GreeneWalks) walking activities in which nearly 1,250 people have participated. It has created the first ever comprehensive map of all walking and biking trails in the County. It encouraged restaurants in the County to offer healthier meals, promoted farmer’s markets and road side stands, and is working with local schools to improve nutrition, exercise, and weight-loss among students.
School-based Drug-Abuse Prevention Education – As part of our goal to establish universal screening and counseling for behavioral health problems at patient-friendly sites, we contracted with Twin County Recovery Services to provide prevention education on drug abuse to pupils in the Coxsackie-Athens School District and refer students for counseling. Schools are requesting this type of service given the drug abuse epidemic.
For school year 2016-17, 55 students were referred to the program or 7.6% of middle school/high school students; 45 returned for more sessions; 4 received crisis intervention of whom 2 were admitted to Four Winds; 12 classroom presentations were given to 234 students; 2 open houses were hosted; and 90% of referred students advanced to their next grade.
For school year 2017-18, we are expanding the program to include the Cairo-Durham School District.
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 60% 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 13,000 mental health screenings have been provided in this program.
We also have run about 3,800 ads to reduce the stigma associated with seeking counseling for mental health conditions and alcohol and drug abuse. We purchased medication drop boxes for 4 sites strategically located in the County so people can safely dispose of unused or unwanted prescription medications. We also created a pilot program in which primary care physicians provide brief interventions to patients who abuse alcohol, which is an estimated 20% of the general population.
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, 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 1,500 children and adults during the time the Network provided funding.
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. During the period 2003-2016, approximately 7,500 grade school children have been educated on oral hygiene, and nearly 3,000 children have been provided sealants and fluoride applications.
Improving Compliance with Health Screening Guidelines – We have sponsored over 15,000 TV and radio ads, distributed personal checklists that contain screening guidelines for an entire family, and sponsored several health screening fairs. Compliance levels with many screening guidelines is very high, but we still need to improve compliance rates for mammograms and pap smears.
Insurance Coverage for Health Screening and Preventive Services – The Federal Affordable Care Act requires most insurance plans to provide comprehensive preventive and early screening services with no co-payments or deductibles. Unfortunately, about 50% of consumers are unaware of this extensive coverage. Thus, we ran 1,400 TV and radio ads and 3 newspaper ads to raise awareness among the public about this unprecedented level of insurance coverage.
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.
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.