August 2017
Rural Matters
Job Opportunity
Population Health Coordinator, Delaware County

Challenging position representing a regional population health project in Delaware County, NY. Required: Bachelor in public health, public administration, planning, human services, or a related field; strong written and verbal communication skills. Experience in health care, human services and/or access to health care needs a plus. Full-time with benefits. Send cover letter and resume to or mail to: Search Committee, Rural Health Network of SCNY, PO Box 416, Whitney Point, NY 13862. Deadline: August 28, 2017 or until position is filled.
Leadership Opinion Message
Jack Salo, Executive Director

Is a Marriage Between Health Care and Community Services the Answer to Improving Health?

The evolution of health care in our country includes increasing recognition of the significant role that race, income, place, education, and associated lifestyles play in the health status of people and families. When considering what determines health status, research has shown that access to medical care accounts for only ten percent of the equation, while behavior (fifty percent) and environmental conditions (twenty percent) are the largest contributing factors.

It seems that, at all levels, there is increasing interest in how traditional, clinical health care providers can connect patients to the non-clinical services and supports essential to their health. I have been involved in many of these discussions through our work with Care Compass Network and the Medicaid reform process, as well as through our Population Health work in partnership with HealthLink NY and other rural health networks. 
As I have listened to my colleagues from the health care sector discuss the expectation that health care work more closely with the array of governmental and non-profit community health and human services providers to create a new system of care, I am left with several nagging questions. First and foremost is who pays? Where will the resources come from to connect patients to non-clinical systems and resources essential to their health? How will non-clinical health, human service, housing, transportation, food security, and other sectors meet an increasing demand for services generated by new referrals from the health care community? What value is there in collecting information on the non- medical health related needs of patients if there is a non-existent or limited service environment to support those needs?   Read the full article on our website.  

Rural Training Opportunity Rescheduled
Rural Health Network has two Chronic Disease Self Management educational opportunities coming up in the near future.  The first is an opportunity for our partners who would like to become trainers and the second is a workshop series for individuals with chronic health conditions. 

Master Trainers from the Rural Health Network of SCNY are conducting a four day Stanford University Chronic Disease Self Management Peer Leader Training for organizations that would like to offer CDSMP to their clients/community:

Dates & Times:  Tuesday October 10Wednesday October 11Monday October 16 & Tuesday October 17      9:00 AM- 4:30 PM 
All four sessions are required! 
Location: Broome County Health Department Conference Room C, 225 Front Street Binghamton, NY 13905 
Pre-Registration and Partner Agreements are required.
For more details, contact Pamela Guth  607-692-7669

CDSMP Training for individuals or their caregivers is scheduled at Tioga Opportunities Inc. in Owego for 6 weekly sessions on Thursdays 9-11:30 AM from  September 21 - October 19Adults with a chronic physical or behavioral health condition or providing care to someone of any age, can register through RHNSNCY.  Please contact Master Trainer, Donna Wickham at  607-692-7669  by  9/1/17 .

We would be glad to add you to our CDSMP training flier email distribution list or deliver copies to your site for referrals to this valuable self management program.   For additional CDSMP information please visit
RHSC Members visited Dorchester Park for our annual Member Appreciation Picnic on Wednesday, August 16th. Members went out on the lake in kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats; played outdoor games; and enjoyed a delicious potluck.

We are now accepting applicants for the 2017-2018 term, which will begin in the fall. All RHSC positions will be related to opioid abuse prevention, education, treatment, and recovery. The counties covered will be: Broome, Tioga, Chemung, Cortland, Madison, Delaware, Chemung, Tompkins, and Otsego. For more information and to apply, please visit our website.
  Food and Health Network Logo
Earlier this summer, the Food & Health Network's Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx) pilot launched at three UHS and Lourdes primary care clinics in Binghamton and Endicott. The new pilot program is the exciting culmination of years of discussion and collaboration between FaHN and many organizations in the region working at the intersections of hunger and health.

The FVRx program stems from a growing recognition that diet is a significant factor in preventing and treating many chronic diseases. By addressing economic and other barriers that prevent those living with food insecurity from accessing healthy, fresh foods, prescription programs seek to address inequities within our food system and build stronger partnerships between healthcare and food access organizations.

With a grant through Care Compass Network Innovation Funds, FaHN has worked with Wholesome Wave to launch the first FVRx program in the SCNY region. The pilot is targeted towards adults with cardiovascular disease and related risk factors, and eligible individuals have been referred to the program by their providers.

86 participant are currently enrolled in the program, with a waiting list of additional individuals who would like to participate. Over the course of the program participants will attend regular educational visits with a registered dietitian, redeem vouchers at participating retail locations, and connect with other resources such as cooking classes.

According to Rachel Mischler, an Outpatient Dietitian at Lourdes Hospital,

"Working with the Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Program has given me hands-on knowledge as to the impact it has on everyday lives. Participants have expressed a combination of relief and gratitude in being able to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for themselves and their family members."

Participants can redeem their FVRx vouchers at retail locations around Broome County, including the Broome County Regional Farmers' Market, VINES Farm Share, and the CHOW Mobile Produce Markets. Patients that are still in need of transportation are referred to Mobility Management of South Central NY for additional support.

There is ongoing data collection and an extensive evaluation will take place at the end of the program to evaluate changes in behavior and knowledge, such as shopping and eating habits, as well as health outcomes, clinical workflows, and patient engagement with health care and community resources.

FaHN is hosting a Growing Health Forum on Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Programs with Wholesome Wave on August 31 from 10 AM to 2 PM at the Foothills Performing Arts Center in Oneonta.  For details, visit the event registration page or contact Erin Summerlee.  
Mobility Management Welcomes New Staff
Stephanie Eatton-Johnson

Stephanie Eatton-Johnson has joined the Mobility Management staff where she is responsible for assisting individuals with their transportation needs via the GetThere Call Center      . Stephanie will also provide individuals with case management, referral services, trip planning, travel training and transportation education services as needed. 

Stephanie was born and raised in Virginia and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She moved to Vestal, NY in 2005.  Prior to joining the Rural Health Network team, Stephanie worked for ACHIEVE for just over ten years providing services to individuals with disabilities. 

In her spare time, Stephanie cherishes time with her husband Greg and family. She also enjoys exploring parks, waterfalls and gorges throughout the state of New York.  
Population Health Update
The Population Health Improvement Program (PHIP), of which RHNSCNY is a subcontracted entity with regional lead organization Healthlink NY, has been making great progress with current initiatives.

The Transportation Pilot Project, which is a partnership with 5 Primary Care Practices in the Southern Tier, kicked off the week of June 12. In response to the recognition of transportation being a determinant of health and a catalyst for health disparities for many people, this pilot project seeks to collect transportation needs data in relation to medical appointments, and to help reduce no-show and late cancellation rates at the Practices. Patients are asked, when making follow-up appointments, a series of questions designed to measure transportation vulnerability. If there is a potential for a missed appointment, patients are offered either a hard or a soft referral to Mobility Management SCNY in Broome, Tioga, Chenengo, and Delaware Counties, and to 2-1-1 in Tompkins County.

Rural Health Policy & Advocacy Resources
As shared in a previous edition of Rural Matters, RHNSCNY has developed an  advocacy plan, designed to build support for behavioral health services, transportation data and information, and rural food access in our region. 
As an additional step, we have worked with our Board of Directors and community partners to create an advocacy work group, the focus of which is to educate elected officials serving our region on the concerns, determinants of health, and disparity in health outcomes of individuals, families, and communities in South Central NY. We seek to stand together with partner organizations as a rural voice. If you are interested in learning more about the advocacy work group or the advocacy plan, p lease contact  Mary Maruscak

If you'd like to know more about issues impacting health care access, these resources may be of interest:

In support of Medicaid:  A recent study estimates that nearly 30 million Americans don't live within an hour of trauma care, and a CNN analysis found that residents living in 16 percent of the mainland United States are 30 miles or more away from the nearest hospital. The rate of accidental deaths -- adjusted for age -- was nearly 50 percent higher in rural versus urban areas from 1999 to 2015, according to the CDC, with distance to emergency rooms a key factor. The problem has only been exacerbated as rural hospitals struggle to stay open. Since 2010, 81 rural hospitals have closed, according to the University of North Carolina Rural Health Research Program, an NRHA member. Another 673 rural hospitals are vulnerable to shutting down. Urge your representative to cosponsor HR 2957, NRHA's bipartisan Save Rural Hospitals Act , to stop the flood of rural hospital closures.

The American Public Health Association Public Health Action Campaign (PHACT) is underway during the Congressional recess. "Now is a great time to advocate for public health in your own backyard. Congress is on recess until Sept. 5. This means your senators and representative are home and more accessible. Reaching out to your lawmakers in support of the Affordable Care Act, the Prevention and Public Health Fund and other important funding for public health is especially important as bipartisan health care discussions are beginning and the end of the fiscal year is quickly approaching."
Community & Partner News
Broome County is developing  a plan to identify the needs, issues, and opportunities of our parks  and recreation system.  This plan will  provide strategies to enhance our valued recreational assets and guide  future
planning, programming, and parks improvements. Take the survey now.
Staff Retreat Fun

Rural Health Network held a staff retreat at Dorchester Park on August 11th.  It was great to have an opportunity to be out of the office learning, building team bonds, and playing.  Pictured are Tom Lewis, FaHN VISTA, Christian DiRado-Owens, FaHN Program Coordinator, and Nick Cecconi, Mobility Management Assistant Director.

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