February 2018
Rural Matters
Table of Contents
Here's a quick link to articles in this issue:

opinionOpinion - 
How Rural New York State Loses 
in the Proposed Executive Budget

One of the true "shining stars" in the NYS government portfolio is the Charles D. Cook Office of Rural Health. At a time when rural hospitals are closing at an unprecedented rate, health services in rural New York are being cut and the critical systems of support to an aging rural population are challenged to meet growing needs with shrinking resources, the Office of Rural Health works with a small staff and budget to support both rural hospitals and rural health networks throughout the state. 
You would think the needs of rural New York State would continue to be a priority, however we recently learned that the Governor's Executive Budget proposes a 20% cut to one of the Office of Rural Health's principal programs, the Rural Health Network Development Program (RHNDP). This is on top of a 21% budget cut last year. If this cut is approved the Rural Health Network of SCNY will have lost a total of $81,119 ($46,399 reduction in the current fiscal year and $34,720 in the next fiscal year).
The RHNDP has been the most important funding source for the Rural Health Network of South Central New York since the organization was founded in 1998.
View this chart to see how the RHNDP funding has supported innovation to improve rural health at RHNSCNY.

Read this complete opinion article here and p lease join us in saying no to these short-sighted cuts in our core funding and ask that the Rural Health Network Development Program and a total of 30 health education, prevention and infra-structure programs have their funding restored so we can continue to address the health related needs of rural New York. The article below on Rural Health Policy & Advocacy Resources includes ways to contact legislators and voice your opinions on the proposed state budget.
Jack Salo
Executive Director

povertyBinghamton University Students Participate in a Poverty Simulation 
Binghamton University student Joanna Zhang (on right) volunteered in the role of a grocery clerk while other students "shopped".  
Rural Health Network Staff: Haley Desilet, Christian DiRado-Owens, Julie Pitts, and Rachel Priest and AmeriCorps VISTA member Tom Lewis spent all day Saturday, January 20, 2018 with 86 Binghamton University students at the Hinman College Success Center. The project was a collaborative effort with Al Vos, Faculty Master of Hinman College, and BU student Joanna Zhang. Four graduates from the Food Bank of the Southern Tier's Speakers Bureau Program, which gives local residents a platform to share their stories and expertise on the lived realities of poverty and food insecurity, participated in a panel discussion addressing the intersection of race, food insecurity, and poverty. The four panelists then joined AmeriCorps and VISTA volunteers, who rounded out the poverty simulation community volunteer group.  

A poverty simulation requires 25 volunteers and provides a platform for up to 88 people to participate in an interactive community poverty experience. Supported by the New York State Volunteer Generation Fund grant, Rural Health Network contributed 80 hours to this event's success.  By day's end, students learned about poverty, food security, and community services in our service region.

BU Students participate in a post-simulation discussion on their experience.
AmeriCorps logo

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in an AmeriCorps position with RHSC, please contact  RHSC-staff@rhnscny.org or visit our  visit our website for more information. 
CHIPChildren's Health Insurance Program Extended
On January 23, 2018 Congress passed 6 years of funding for the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The health program serves 9 million children across the country. As health care advocates, please use social media, and your networks to announce that CHIP is here to stay. Enrollment is open all year for children and pregnant people.

Contact RHNSCNY Community Health Services at 607-692-7669 or 1-888-603-5973 to access in-person assistors in enroll in CHIP in your area. 
GETTHEREWorking Together to Meet Needs
Rural Health Network has a variety of programs dedicated to enriching the health and well-being of our neighbors in South Central New York. Our programs serve a large radius of a predominately rural region and our staff frrequently work together to meet the needs of the people we are assisting, often with a very positive result.  Read more about how Food and Health Network and Community Health Services have worked with Mobility Management to benefit individuals.
In January we announced that Food and Health Network would be expanding farm to school efforts into Chenango, Delaware, and Otsego Counties. Sidney Central School District was awarded a round three New York State Farm to School grant, and FaHN will be working with Sidney CSD and Delaware-Chenango-Madison-Otsego BOCES to expand their successful programming and connect farmers and fresh local produce to Afton, Bainbridge, Walton, Downsville, Unatego, Unadilla Valley, Sherburne-Earlville, Greene, and Oneonta City school districts. FaHN will assist with building the regional farm to school supply chain, conducting farmer outreach, coordinating local procurement efforts, and collaborating on farm to school programs and processes.

Read the full article with comments from Kim Corcoran, DCMO BOCES Food Service Director, and Christian DiRado-Owens, FaHN  Program Coordinator.
Rural Health Policy & Advocacy Resources
Again this year, the NY State Governor's proposed 2018-19 budget seeks to reduce funding on important programs that have a great impact on New York State's rural communities. The proposed budget slashes an additional 20% from critical prevention and infrastructure programs, most of which took a 21% cut last year. This amounts to a crippling 38% cut in program support over just two years. We know from this past year that statewide, rural jobs have been lost, access to workforce development has been reduced and most importantly the effective and cost-saving prevention agenda programs have been curtailed. 

Why is New York State Divesting in Rural New York?

This graph depicts the impact to the Rural Health Network of SCNY from 2017 and proposed 2018 reductions in Rural Health Network Development Program Funding if the Executive budget recommendations are approved. This is funding which seeks to improve the health of New York's rural communities by providing support for rural providers to improve access to care, enhance coordination of services, increase efficiency of service delivery, and introduce needed community services through the formation and operation of rural health networks. AT RHNSCNY, the funding has made it possible to plan and start-up the array of services and programs provided. Additionally, the funding provides direct support to many programs and is used as match for other state, federal and private funding.

Like many of our partner organizations, RHNSCNY has initiated letters to Health Committee Chairs Senator Kemp Hannon and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, and has reached out to Senator Fred Akshar, Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, Assemblyman Christopher Friend, and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo. We encourage you, our partners, stakeholders, and readers, to reach out as well.
Open the link, go to "File" and click "Download as Word". Edit and save the letters to either email or print and send.

The NY State Department of Health has created materials to discuss Medicaid-specific components of the Governor's budget proposal for SFY 2018-19. Click these links for the presentation and the 2018-19 Executive Budget Scorecard. (Please note, you will need to register to view the recording of the presentation.)
PHIPPopulation Health Improvement Program Update
RHNSCNY has partnered with Healthlink NY, the Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County, and the Chenango Health Network to develop a Workplace Wellness Toolkit specifically for employers to better support the behavioral health needs of their workforce.

Studies have found that a mentally health workforce is linked to lower medical costs, happier employees, higher productivity, and much more. For tips on how to foster a mentally health workforce, visit www.workplacewellnessny.org and download our free toolkit!

If you have questions about how to get started on this project in your own workplace, contact the Population Health Coordinator in your county to get started!

Mary Maruscak - Tioga County                  Evan Heaney - Delaware County
Jamie Hagenbuch - Chenango County      John Mazzello - Tompkins County
Jo DiFulvio - Broome County                      Phillip Ginter - Healthlink NY

Learning Opportunity and Article of Interest
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) is sponsoring a webinar on Opioid Issues and Trends Among Older Adults in Rural America on Wednesday, February 21 from 2:30 - 3:30 PM.  View details and registration information.  

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Blog recently posted Three Reasons to Consider Later School Start Times. Read more about ways some schools are experimenting with later start times to yield both health and academic benefits for teens.
Connect with Rural Health Network of SCNY

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