LORHN news & updates
Winter 2020
To our partners,

As 2020 comes to an end, we want to give thanks to all of the health care workers, public health professionals, community and faith-based organizations, and so many others that have risen to meet the emerging needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lake Okeechobee Rural Health Network (LORHN) remains committed to supporting and improving the health and safety of our communities. It is unfortunate that so many have lost their jobs, their health insurance, and may need support for the first time with food, utilities, or rent. LORHN staff is here to help individuals, and community partners, connect with the resources they need.

We continue to work closely with our Network members and partners to provide information and link individuals with organizations and services they need. While cases continue to increase and vaccination is slowly becoming available, we are continuing to follow these guidelines:

  • Continue serving our communities through telephone and electronic means. 

  • Maintain consistent communication with community partners to provide timely information, education and support.

  • Offer all LORHN health education workshops via Zoom, at varying times and days of the week to meet the schedule and demands of our communities.

  • Provide education and training via virtual meetings with local and regional partners.

  • Keep our fingers on the pulse of emerging needs and trends to guide future network and project planning.

We continue to monitor the evolving situation closely and will adjust our guidelines as appropriate. We value your continued partnership as we help our community through this crisis, one day at a time.

Be well and stay safe,

Andrea Stephenson Royster
Chief Executive Officer
Community Programs
New Programs - Screening & Linkage to Care in Western PBC
Free Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Screening & Linkage to Resources in
Western Palm Beach County.
With funding from the Quantum Foundation, LORHN is screening individuals in health and social settings for various social and human service needs and work with clients one-on-one to connect them to resources they may need to improve their health outcomes and quality of life.

Individuals are being screened and linked to other community-based organizations for numerous needs. These may include but are not limited to establishing a medical home, enrolling in health insurance, housing, employment services, migrant farmworker resources, veteran resources, etc.
Opioid Data to Action (OD2A)
The opioid epidemic continues to affect individuals and families and take the lives of Palm Beach County residents. Unfortunately, individuals can fall through the cracks and stay out of care if not provided one-on-one assistance. We aim to close those gaps.

A CHW Care Coordinator is serving residents of Western Palm Beach County and conducting opioid related prevention, risk-reduction, and linkage activities with various partners. The Care Coordinator will also engage, link, and/or relink individuals experiencing opioid use disorder into treatment and support services.
If you are interested in partnering with LORHN for these projects, contact our team today.

LORHN is a partner on the Unite Us PBC platform, where referrals can easily be sent. This platform is provided via funding from the Health Care District of Palm Beach County.
Florida KidCare - Affordable Health and Dental Insurance for Kids (0-18)
Contact us today to:
  • Refer a family to us for free help
  • Ask a question about the program
  • Set up an appointment
  • Get resources to share with your clients
  • Schedule an overview training for staff
Florida KidCare is designed to provide services to children at each stage of growth and development. Health and dental services are delivered through quality plans that offer a choice of local doctors, dentists, specialists, hospitals, pharmacies, and other health care providers.

Florida KidCare includes free, subsidized, and full-pay options based on family income and household size. Most families pay nothing at all for coverage, and many pay as little as $15 or $20 a month. Families who do not qualify for free or subsidized coverage may purchase a competitively priced full-pay plan.

Lawfully residing immigrant children are eligible
without a waiting period.

With no application fee and year-round enrollment, the time to apply is always now.

If you want to know more, watch this 30-minute Florida KidCare overview video.
Health Education Workshops Are Virtual
Want to start a workshop with your friends, family, neighbors, or colleagues?
Email us ASAP and we will coordinate a private workshop. At least 8 participants are needed for all workshops.
COVID-19 Call Center
The Florida Department of Health has a dedicated call center for COVID-19 available 24/7. Call if you have any questions about the pandemic, getting tested, or staying safe.

1 (866) 779-6121

COVID-19 Infographics to Share

LORHN encourages wide use and sharing of these graphics to help educate and empower the community to take control of their health. Visit our website to view all of the topics and download designs to share.

Visit our COVID-19 Resource Page to view and download your choice of infographics as well as explore other COVID-19 updates and resources around the Lake.
COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine is currently being distributed to local Health Departments and hospitals. Stay connected with your local Health Department and/or family doctor to learn when you can get vaccinated. Visit the Florida Department of Health homepage.

8 Things to Know (About the COVID-19 Vaccine) (CDC); Read the full article
  1. The safety of vaccines is a top priority.
  2. Vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19; Two doses are needed.
  3. CDC is making recommendations for who should be offered it first when supplies are limited.
  4. There is currently a limited supply in the US; it will increase in the coming weeks and months.
  5. After the COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection.
  6. Cost is not a barrier to getting vaccinated, even if you don't have health insurance.
  7. The first vaccine is currently being used under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many other vaccines are still being developed and tested.
  8. COVID-19 vaccines are one of many important tools to help stop this pandemic.

Facts about COVID-19 Vaccination (CDC); Read the full article
  • COVID-19 vaccines will not give you COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests.
  • People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated.
  • Getting vaccinated can help prevent getting sick with COVID-19.
  • Receiving an mRNA vaccine will not alter your DNA.

If you are interested in additional information about the COVID-19 vaccine, explore these links:
Flu Vaccine
Flu Vaccine - What You Need to Know
During the COVID-19 pandemic
the importance of a flu shot cannot be underestimated.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, we must continue to prevent the spread of both viruses and prepare for an active flu season by getting vaccinated.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages all to get a flu vaccine, especially those at high risk of developing complications. This includes
  • People who are 65+ years old,
  • Individuals with certain chronic medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart disease, etc.),
  • Pregnant women
  • Children younger than 5, especially those younger than 2 years old

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body (CDC).
Ask your doctor about the flu shot.
Rural News Articles
South Central Florida counties wait for vaccine shipments

Lake Okeechobee News
December 30, 2020

Rural community reflects Black American unease, challenges with COVID-19 vaccines

ABC News
December 24, 2020

Study: Rural Hospitals Without OBs Need More Training in Emergency Pregnancy Care.

The Daily Yonder
December 30, 2020

New Transportation Provider in Hendry & Glades Counties
Starting January 1, 2020, Hendry County will serve as the Community Transportation Coordinator for Hendry and Glades counties. The contracted operator is Transitions Commute Solutions, LLC.

Contact Transitions to begin scheduling rides and ensure they have information on file if you have used MV transport previously.
(877) 935-4487

Upcoming Webinars & Professional Events
Recorded September 24, 2020
LORHN partnered with the Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast, Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Florida, and Friends Fighting Falls to talk about fall prevention strategies and educational workshops available in the region during Fall Prevention Week.

Recorded December 30, 2020
This 30-minute recording provides a basic overview of the Florida KidCare programs. Learn about eligibility criteria, costs, and resources available to family and community partners. Contact LORHN for application questions or assistance. The Florida KidCare application can be completed any day of the year.

Recorded September 17, 2020
HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) hosted a virtual symposium to highlight state, tribal, territorial, and community-based efforts to address COVID-19 among racial and ethnic minority and American Indian and Alaska Native populations.

January 14 | 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

QPR training teaches laypeople and professionals to recognize and respond to mental health crises using the approach of Question, Persuade, and Refer. This training focuses on the unique challenges farmers face and how to implement QPR with this population.

January 20 | 7:30 - 8:45 pm EST
January 21 | 10:00 - 11:15 am & 3:00 - 4:15 pm EST
January 22 | 3:00 - 4:15 pm EST

The Florida Rural Health Association continues to provide bi-weekly virtual learning sessions with Rural EMS/Paramedicine experts. Webinars are every other Thursday at 12:00 pm.

January 2 - Potential Revenue Sources to Fund Rural Community Paramedicine
January 21 - Meeting Social Determinants of Health Needs
February 4 - Mobile Integrated Health - Community Paramedicine (MIH-CP)101
February 18 - MIH-CP Overview Retool
March 4 - MIH-CP Outcomes and Medication Nonadherence

The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) provides these briefings to share lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic; CMEs are available.
Webinars are offered the last Wednesday of each month from 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm.

Recorded - Managing Chronic Care Patients with COVID-19
Recorded - COVID-19 and Latino Mental Health
Recorded - COVID-19 Impact on Health Care Delivery
January 27 - Building Vaccine Confidence
Funding Opportunities
Sign up for LORHN's bi-weekly distribution of the GrantStation Insider Content e-newsletter or view LORHN's GrantStation Insider Content e-newsletter archive page for previous funding opportunities.

Local Grants
Almost 70 percent of Glades Electric Cooperative members participate in Operation Round-Up, which helps people in GEC's service area who have exhausted normal avenues of financial assistance. The fund is for deserving individuals and organizations. If you know of people who need and deserve assistance and live within the Glades Electric service area (Glades, Hendry, Highlands and Okeechobee counties), encourage or help them to complete an application. 

Assistance Available: electrical, water, rental/mortgage, gasoline, medical, transportation to medical services, food, HVAC Repair (60+), family self-sufficiency and more.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program that assists high-energy burdened, low-income households with the costs of heating and cooling their homes. Home energy funds are provided once per calendar year and are based on the client’s gross income and household size. ALPI’s focus of CSBG funding is to support a Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSSP); however, there are limited emergency assistance funds available to help alleviate an immediate crisis. Under the FSSP, an eligible client is provided services through ongoing case management with the ultimate outcome being the enhancement of a family’s ability to, ultimately, meet their own needs. Apply online.

Regional Grants

Grants to community-based organizations that prioritize HIV/AIDS prevention and/or care services across the southern United States. Funding may be used for a variety of organizational and staff resources, including technology and software, meeting space costs, conference attendance fees, professional development, and continuing education. Deadline: Ongoing

The Ms. Foundation is launching Ms. South, a multi-year strategy to strengthen the financial sustainability and leadership development capacity of organizations led by women and girls of color (WGOC) in the U.S. South. Grants will support nonprofit organizations that use movement building and organizing strategies to improve the lived experience of women and girls of color. Deadline for LOI: January 8, 2021

This funding is focused on addressing structural and systemic barriers to economic opportunity and ensuring equitable outcomes in the American workforce. Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations nationwide that demonstrate a strong commitment to intersectional racial justice, and an ability to address economic disparities that affect Black and Brown workers as the result of structural racism. Examples of approaches include emerging industry access, systems change initiatives, and workforce development programs. Deadline for initial application: January 1, 2021.

Federal Grants

Learn about Federal Grant forecasted, posted, and archived grants available via various Federal Government Programs. Grants Learning Center provides information about eligibility, writing, reporting, policies, systems, and more.
Who We Are
Lake Okeechobee Rural Health Network, Inc. (LORHN) was formed in 1994 as a non-profit corporation designed to provide for the special and specific health-related needs of the residents, visitors, and businesses in the Lake Okeechobee area; with extended services to Glades, Hendry, Okeechobee, Western Martin, and Western Palm Beach counties.

LORHN was established through Florida legislation (Statute 381.0406) and is one of nine local rural health networks covering the state of Florida. As per Florida statute, the goal of the networks shall be to ensure that quality health care is available and efficiently delivered to all persons in rural areas. Our vision is to promote/provide for the special and specific health needs of the residents, visitors, and businesses in the Lake Okeechobee area.