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

mayMay is Older American's Month

Every May, the Administration on Aging, part of the Administration for Community Living, leads our nation's observance of Older American's Month. The 2018 theme, Engage at Every Age, emphasizes that you are never too old (or young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It also celebrates the many ways in which older adults make a difference in our communities. Visit the Older American's Month website for resources on your health. aging your way, security. giving back, and more. 

We'd like to salute our colleagues at the county Offices of Aging, all of whom have partnered with Rural Health Network on a variety of projects including serving as members of the Advisory Committee for our Mobility Management of SCNY program.  Their advice and support has helped inform our work and improve services we offer to older adults. Visit their websites for more information on services and supports for seniors.

Tom Lewis, Food and Health Network 
AmeriCorps VISTA member, assisting with
Farm Share pick-up last summer.
While originally a Binghamton based program, VINES Farm Share has since expanded to Johnson City, Endicott, and in collaboration with the Food & Health Network two years ago to Whitney Point, NY. Kate Miller-Corcoran, Farm Share Program Coordinator, believes expanding to rural areas of Broome County is important because, "Hunger and food-related health diseases don't discriminate based on where you live. People lack access to affordable fresh produce in both locations." 

If you are interested in learning more about Farm Share and seeing their full list of locations, you can visit their website. Additionally, you can find VINES Farm Share in Whitney Point every Wednesday from 3:00 to 4:30 at the Whitney Point United Methodist Church starting June 13th! VINES Farm Share is open to families of all income levels. In an effort to make healthy food affordable to all families, VINES Farm Share offers both a 25% or 50% discount on shares to individuals or families who receive SNAP, WIC or fall within  income eligibility guidelines.

Read the full article at our Food for Thought blog.  
medicareMedicare Issuing new Cards
Between April, 2018 and April, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will mail new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare.  The new cards will have a new unique Medicare Number instead of a Social Security Number. Medicare members in New York can expect to receive a new card after June of 2018.  

After receiving a new card, people with Medicare are advised to take 3 steps to make it harder for someone to steal their information and identity:
  1. Destroy your old Medicare card.
  2. Use your new card right away. Doctors, other health care providers, and plans approved by Medicare know that Medicare is replacing the old cards and are ready to accept the new cards. 
  3. Beware of people contacting you about your new Medicare card and asking you for your Medicare Number, personal information, or to pay a fee for your new card.  Review the Tips on Protecting Yourself from Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP).

Summer Food Security Positions available:

Summer positions in the Food Security sector are now available through Rural Health Service Corps. Slots are available at the Food and Health Network of South Central New York, Broome County Office for Aging, Faith in Action, and the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. These are 300 hour positions that will offer a $2,070 living allowance and a $1,230 Education Award. For more information, please visit our website or contact Haley Desilet at 

Previous AmeriCorps members discuss planting techniques at the CHOW Farm.

In the News:

Rural Health Network collaborated with Binghamton University's CCPA Social Work Department, Decker School of Nursing, and the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to offer two Poverty Simulations in April.  Read more here.  
staffWelcome New Staff
Debora Rogers - Community Health Worker, Delaware County

Rural Health Network welcomes a new part time Community Health Worker in our Delaware Valley Hospital office in Walton. Debora Rogers joined us at the end of April and will work with a caseload of 100  Delaware county residents.

Short term services will include phone calls, home visits and printed resources to address the social determinants of health (food, transportation, housing) and overcome any access barriers. The goal is to increase each individual's active role in seeking appropriate health care through non clinical support in the patients' home or community.  Clients will be screened for Medicaid Health Home eligibility and, with their consent, referred to a long term case manager for ongoing support.  

Debora's work experience includes almost 2 years as a Social Welfare examiner, and 9 years as a Medicaid Services Coordinator in Delaware County. As a resident and professional working in her home community, she is deeply dedicated to individual care plans that keep the person at the center. Debora's experience in building rapport and establishing trust are key to her new role with us.

Rich Couch, Mobility and Transportation Advocate

Rich Couch recently joined the Mobility Management of SCNY team as Mobility and Transportation Advocate, bringing over two decades of experience in government, government relations, program administration and policy advocacy. Rich is responsible for assisting individuals with their transportation needs via the GetThere Call Center. He will also provide individuals with case management, referral services, trip planning, travel training and transportation education services as needed. 
He started his career with the New York State Assembly where he worked as a Researcher in the Speaker's Office and an Administrative Assistant to Assemblyman Marty Luster who served Tompkins, Tioga and Cortland counties. Rich has worked for the Maine State Treasurer and the Maine State Housing Authority as well as serving as a Town Manager in a small rural community on the Maine coast.
Most recently, Rich provided direct care for seniors in assisted living communities.  Although he has lived in Maine, Washington DC, Long Island and Albany, Rich is fifth generation from Tompkins County and he is thrilled to be back "home" working to serve the needs of folks in rural New York State.

advocateAdvocacy Updates
RHN has continued to move forward with rural advocacy efforts, taking our queues from our partners within the NYS Association of Rural Health and the National Offices of Rural Health, and focusing specifically on transportation, healthy food access, and behavioral health. 

Advocacy-Policy Workgroup

As part of her role as Population Health Coordinator in partnership with the Healthlink NY Community Network, Mary Maruscak has convened a policy workgroup, within which group members will consider alignment with existing policy initiatives, identify gaps in advocacy opportunities, and develop educational materials to be presented to elected officials and decision makers representing the region. If you are interested in learning more about RHN's advocacy work or would like to get involved in the policy workgroup, please contact Mary at (607) 972-0329 or via email at

Growing Health Forum - SNAP & Health in the Farm Bill

On May 8th, the Food and Health Network and Food Bank of the Southern Tier co-hosted an education forum that focused on SNAP and health and the 2018 Farm Bill.  The event was part of FaHN's series of Growing Health Forum's and was attended by over 60 anti-hunger, health, and community advocates.

Forum panelists included: Wendy Pursel, graduate of Food Bank of the Southern Tier's Speakers Bureau and member of the Southern Tier Advocacy Committe; Yvonne A. M. Johnston, DrPH, MPH, MS, RN, FNP, Direcor of Master of Public Health Program and Professor, School of Nursing, Binghamton University; Randi Quackenbush, Advocacy and Education Manager, Food Bank of the Southern Tier.
WSKG published this story following the forum.
PHIPPopulation Health Improvement Program Update
Regional Access Resource Center Meeting Recap

The Healthlink NY Community Network, of which RHN is a partner supporting two Population Health Coordinators, hosted a Regional Addiction Resource Center meeting on May 9. Health and human services providers from across the region attended the meeting, which focused on the ways employers can best support those with substance use disorder. A panel discussion included Alan Wilmarth, Director of Behavioral Health at UHS, Rebecca Harris from Broome-Tioga Workforce, and Anthony Pace from Southern Tier AIDS Program. In addition, Lars Mead, a partner from Coughlin and Gerhart who specializes in employment law, spoke about liabilities and protections for both employers and employees in situations where substances were involved. 

Business HIRE Initiative 

The Community Network shared information about Businesses HIRE (Helping in Recovery Efforts), a new community initiative. As the lead agency for the Southern Tier Regional Addiction Resource Center, HealthlinkNY is looking to increase awareness about issues of addiction and foster a community that supports and celebrates recovery in Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, and Tompkins Counties. Businesses HIRE will engage local employers and provide them with the resources they need to successfully recruit and retain a dedicated workforce. To learn more about Businesses HIRE, please contact Phillip Ginter at (607) 651-9150 or via e-mail at

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