October 2017
Rural Matters
Table of Contents
We have a lot to share this month.  Here's a quick link to each article.

Food and Health Network - Farm to School Month
Getthere Voucher Program Update
NY State of Health Marketplace Open Enrollment
Rural Health Policy and Advocacy Resources
National Prescription Pill Take Back Day
AmeriCorps member Saima Khan (L) and Urenna Nwogwugwu (R) working at the CHOW farm for Day of Caring.

Each year, RHSC members participate in The Day of Caring; a national day of service that is meant to remember the lives lost during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack and to honor the many heroes that assisted in the aftermath of that day. This year, members participated in a project at the CHOW Farm, harvesting and washing potatoes, and weeding with the help of the VINES (Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments) staff.

Later in the month, members also collected crucial supplies for Puerto Rico. In response to both a federal request from the Corporation For National and Community Service, as well as the request via Governor Cuomo's Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico, Rural Health Service Corps collected and dropped off supplies to the National Guard at the Binghamton Armory. In a few short days during early October we collected:
        • 816 diapers
        • 530 feminine hygeine products
        • 1568 baby wipes
        • 3002 bottles of water
        • 100 batteries
        • 3 flashlights
Thank you to AmeriCorps and VISTA members, especially at Rural Health Network, VINES, CHOW, Tioga Opportunities and also to the Riverwalk Athletic Club and Maine-Endwell Soccer for assisting as donation sites.

Slots are still available for 2017-2018 AmeriCorps positions focused on combating the opioid epidemic. For more information and to apply, please visit our website.
Leadership Message
Jack Salo, Executive Director

November 16, 2017 is National Rural Health Day. Please join the Rural Health Network of SCNY and rural health and health care providers across the United States in celebrating our rural communities, health professionals, hospitals, and clinics.

Here are just a few of many reasons why we celebrate and recognize our rural health practitioners and partners:

* Health care professionals in rural America are able to focus on building personal relationships with patients and families.

* Hospitals are the economic foundation of many rural communities. The 1,330 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) provide essential health care to rural communities across 
45 states and on average bring 204 jobs to the local economy.

* New models for community health workers, community paramedics, and oral health professionals have been incubated in rural America as a model throughout health systems.

* Of the 3,500 certified Rural Health Clinics, 95% accept new Medicaid patients. Federally Qualified Health Centers are focal points for services to underserved rural populations and Veterans Health Administration Community Based Outreach Clinics work to improve the health of 40% of the nation's veterans.
As a Rural Health Network, our organization understands that improving the health and wellness of rural people and communities requires working across sectors and involving all who are willing to help. The "can do" and neighborly spirit of rural America is a strong foundation for improving rural but there are still many challenges confronting the continued delivery and improvement of health care in our rura l communities.  Read the full article here .

Jack Salo, Executive Director

Food and Health Network Logo
  FaHN Farm to School News
Students at Tioga Central Schools enjoyed a Harvest Celebration to kick off the launch of the NY Thursday farm to school menu program.

On September 21st, the Food & Health Network joined many partner organizations and community volunteers to celebrate the launch of the NY  Thursday  farm to school menu program with a Harvest Celebration at Tioga Central School District. Read more about the event.

October is Farm to School Month! A month designed to celebrate the growing connections between local farms and schools. Farm to School programs provide children the opportunity to taste test local food in the cafeteria, visit local farms, participate in nutritional education, and work in school based gardens. Locally the pilot New York Thursday project will provide five school districts in our community with lunches sourced from local food on the second Thursday of every month. 

"Farm to sch ool empowers children and their families to make informed  food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities."
-National Farm to School Network-

To learn more about the benefits of Farm to School visit the resource guide on the National Farm to School Network's website

Don't forget to use the hashtags #farmtoschool or #F2SMonth to read about other organizations' successes and to share your own!
Since April the Getthere Voucher program has assisted individuals with transportation to get food, prescriptions and renewal of benefits. 

The Voucher program is a pilot project, available by referral, for Medicaid recipients in Broome, Chenango, Delaware, and Tioga counties. It is made possible through funding provided by Care Compass Network's Innovation Grant Program.

The Getthere Call Center is now operating from 7 AM to 7 PM Monday - Friday.  Call 1-855-373-4040.
NY State Marketplace Open Enrollment
NY State of Health is the place to shop for and enroll in Medicaid, Child
Health Plus, the Essential Plan, and Qualified Health Plans.

An Open Enrollment Period is a limited time of year - November 1, 2017 to January 31, 2018 - when you can enroll in a Qualified Health Plan. If you do
not enroll during these months, you will need to wait until the next Open
Enrollment Period. There are some exceptions. You may be able to enroll
in a Qualified Health Plan outside the Open Enrollment Period if you are
eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.  If you need coverage effective January 1st, you must enroll no later than December 15th.

Rural Health Network staff can help connect you with an in-person assistor.  Call 607-692-7669 OR 1-888-603-5973 Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 4:30 PM.  

Rural Health Policy & Advocacy Resources

RHNSCNY continues to move forward with our  organizational advocacy plan .
Here are some Advocacy and Policy articles and resources that caught our eye this month:

On September 30, in the midst of heated debate over healthcare, Congress allowed funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covers nearly 9 million children in low-income families, to lapse.
According to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 48 of 50 states assumed the reauthorization for CHIP would pass when they wrote their 2018 state budgets. This leaves states faced with no immediate way to continue funding the program. To learn more about how individual states will be impacted, and when the current funding is projected to be exhausted, read this article from Talking Points Memo.

NY State's funding is projected to run out between January and March, 2018, and could impact 350,000 children.

On October 11, NY State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker issued a letter to Acting Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, stating the dire consequences of such a negative impact to the healthcare access of children across the state. The full letter can be found here.

The Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy provides information on the impacts that cutting CHIP funding will have on children and families in NY State.

Currently, a bipartisan bill extending support of CHIP for five years is advancing through the Senate. For information to share with your representatives and ask them to support CHIP Reauthorization, FamiliesUSA has developed fact sheets, graphics, and articles to share through your networks.
PillsNational Prescription Pill Take-Back Day
Broome County Sheriff's Office is sponsoring drop-off locations in observance of National Prescription Pill Take-Back Day on Saturday, October 28 from 10 AM to 2 PM.  Expired or unused prescription medications can be brought to one of these locations:
  • Broome County Sheriff's Office, 155 Lt. VanWinkle Drive, Town of Dickinson
  • Johnson City Elk's Club, 4212 Watson Blvd., Town of Union
  • The Maine Scoop Ice Cream Shop, 2666 Route 11, Whitney Point, Town of Triangle
  • Vestal Fire Station #4, 3341 Vestal Parkway East, Town of Vestal
  • Windsor Community House, 107 Main St., Town of Windsor
  • American Legion Post 1700, 305 Maple Street, Endicott, Town of Union

Connect with Rural Health Network of SCNY

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