May 2017
Rural Matters
Mobility Management In the News
WSKG News interviewed the Director of Mobility Management of SCNY, Bill Wagner, about our new Transportation Voucher program for Medicaid recipients going to non-medical appointments.  Vouchers are good for trips to places that directly impact a person's health, like a grocery store, pharmacy, or social services agency. This pilot program is currently available by referral for Medicaid recipients in Broome, Chenango, Delaware, and Tioga counties and is made possible through funding provided by Care Compass Network throught the Innovation Grant Program. 

MMSCNY operates the Getthere call center from its Vestal location. This Rural Health Network program is staffed Monday - Friday from 7:00 am until 6:00 pm. For further information, contact MMSCNY Director, Bill Wagner at 607-584-0551.  
May is Mental Health Month
Many organizations in our South Central NY region are taking part in activities to raise awareness, fight stigma, provide support, and advocate for better and more efficient mental health care. Follow the links below to some of our partner organizations which are recognizing Mental Health Month through special events and offering education and trainings: 

National Prevention Week: May 14-20
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors National Prevention Week, an annual observance dedicated to increasing the prevention of substance use and promotion of mental health. 

The HealthlinkNY Community Network, of which RHNSCNY is a contracted partner, is currently in the process of developing a Workplace Wellness Toolkit, which will focus specifically on behavioral health needs of employees. The purpose of the Toolkit will be to provide employers (of all sizes, sectors, and business types) with resources to support and reduce stigma for employees who may have a behavioral health concern. More information will be forthcoming with the details of this exciting initiative, but if you have any questions in the meantime or would like to discuss how your organization or company may get involved, please contact Mary Maruscak, Population Health Coordinator, at
Leadership Message

Jack Salo, RHNSCNY Executive Director

The ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Project has provided a framework to better understand the challenges of the working poor and, I would argue, the transfer of wealth in our country. The United Way ALICE Project began as a pilot in Morris County, New Jersey in 2007 and is now endorsed and supported by United Ways in fifteen states, including New York

In Broome, Delaware, and Tioga Counties, the percentage of ALICE households is 42%; 44%, and; 36% respectively. What does this mean? Essentially, four of ten households in our region are comprised of "... individuals and families who are working, but unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation."

What are the implications of having forty or fifty percent or more of the households and workers in your community unable to afford the basic necessities of life? 

While struggling with this injustice, I keep coming back to who pays for the gap between what it costs to live with dignity and some level of security (your children are safe and cared for, your home is safe and sufficient, you have a dependable way to get to work, you have enough healthy food to eat and can access health care when you need it) and what you get paid in this economy for service sector and other low-wage employment? It is not an easy or simple question.  Please click here to read the full article.

Renew Health - An Intern's Perspective

Charles Shaw, MSW Intern

Community Health Services recognizes Renew Health Case Manager, Charles Shaw. Charles is a Binghamton University Master of Social Work graduate student who completed his nine-month internship with RHNSNCY in May.  He worked with 15 rural adults living with chronic health conditions in Broome and Tioga Counties. When asked to reflect upon his time with us, Charles shared, "I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to intern with the Rural Health Network of South Central New York over this past year. Providing case management services allowed me to work with a variety of rural individuals and gave me insight into the vast array of strengths these individuals possess. It also provided me valuable experience in working with a diverse group of persons with unique physical and emotional health needs.  

Overall, this experience has given me a greater appreciation of the challenges faced by rural communities, and skills to better address rural individuals' needs.

 I look forward to taking this knowledge and applying it in my future practice. I could not have accomplished what I have without the support of my colleagues at RHN, who helped to make my work with clients a success. I hope that others who come after me will find this experience as beneficial as I have."

Renew Health began in August 2009 within our Community Health Services division to serve adults in rural Broome or Tioga Counties. The Renew Health three-prong approach includes: health care access intake to identify client or family priorities; adult assessments for those with chronic conditions to establish baseline for health and well-being and case management to develop individualized care plans; and group chronic disease education through Chronic Disease Self Management  Program (CDSMP), a six-week evidence based program.

AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members with site supervisors.

As part of the festivities for National Volunteer Week, Rural Health Service Corps (RHSC) - AmeriCorps members attended a Volunteer Conference and Recognition Reception on April 26th. This event was made possible by a collaboration between United Way of Broome County, Rural Health Service Corps, the Food and Health Network of SCNY, and the Volunteer Administrators of the Southern Tier (VAST). Attendees were able to select from six different workshops including Volunteer Engagement from Beginning to End, Using Marketing and Public Relations to Improve Your Volunteer Program, and Life After AmeriCorps: Creating a Personal Brand. After the conference, volunteers and host site supervisors from various sectors throughout the area were recognized for their commitment to service. 

Rural Health Service Corps members, staff, and friends
at Chenango Valley State Park 

This past month also featured I Love My Park Day on May 6th. Throughout New York, more than 120 state parks, historic sites, and public lands hosted service projects on this day, and our service members were some of the many that participated in the event. Most RHSC members helped with the cleanup at Chenango Valley State Park, where they constructed lifeguard stations, cleared the drained swimming area of organic mater (including one unhappy crayfish), and did quite a bit of weeding. It was a tiring but productive day, and we commend our members for participating, despite the weather.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is hosting a Virtual Information Session on Wednesday, May 24, at 3 PM EST for anyone interested in joining AmeriCorps VISTA. Pre-register to learn more about the program and hear from some currently serving members.  
Rural Health Policy & Advocacy Resources
With the assistance of staff, Board of Directors, and community members, RHNSCNY has developed a 2017 Advocacy Plan!  The plan was approved by our Board of Directors in February, and our staff has already begun to actively implement the activities in the plan. The plan focuses on advocacy largely through education. The 2017 advocacy priorities for RHNSCNY are:

1: Lack of Behavioral Health Providers and Services: Advocate for increased Behavioral Health provider capacity for rural residents.
2: Lack of Transportation Data, Funding, and Service.
3: Limited Access to Nutritious Foods among Rural Consumers.

The plan will be posted to our website soon. As our partners in the region, you may be helpful to us in implementing this plan! If you would like to learn more about RHNSCNY's advocacy work in South Central NY, please contact Mary Maruscak at

In addition, we would like to recognize the advocacy work of our partner organizations. The links below are just a few of the county-level and regional initiatives taking place to give a voice to individuals and families in our region. 

News From Our Partners
The Rural Health Information Hub is hosting a free webinar, The Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse in Rural Communities on Wednesday, May 17 at 2 PM Eastern Time. (RHIhub) and NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis will introduce a new Rural Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse Toolkit designed to help rural communities plan, implement, and sustain substance abuse services. Developed by NORC on behalf of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), the toolkit identifies model programs and resources that will benefit rural communities seeking to implement substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.
We've joined Amazon Smile
Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Shop via AmazonSmile to help support our programs and services.
Connect with Rural Health Network of SCNY

Advancing the health and well-being of rural people and communities.