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

Employment Opportunities
Rural Health Network 2016 Impact Report
Living Healthy Workshop Series
Rural Health Service Corps Positions
Getthere Call Center Hours Extended
Leadership Message
Food and Health Network - Farm to School New York Thursdays
Population Health Update
Rural Health Policy and Advocacy Resources
Medicare Open Enrollment
New Health Care Cost Transparency Website
Save the Date - National Rural Health Day

We're Growing - Employment Opportunities
EmploymentRural Health Network of South Central NY is currently recruiting for an Administrative Services Coordinator.  This position provides administrative support to the Executive Director and Department Directors with an emphasis on contract management, accounts receivable, and business office record keeping.  View the complete posting and application.

RHNSCNY has been awarded a Care Compass Network Community-Based Navigation Transformation Model Grant to fund outreach and engagement positions for Broome, Tioga and Delaware counties.  We expect to post new full-time positions by the end of September.  Please check our employment opportunities page for position description and application details in the near future.  
Rural Health Network 2016 Impact Report 
ImpactRural Health Network of SCNY is pleased to announce the publication of our 2016 Impact Report.  Click on the image below to view the full report.

Register Now - Living Healthy Workshop
There is still space available in our six-week Living Healthy Workshop series that begins Thursday, September 21 at Tioga Opportunities in Owego.  

Participants will focus on building the skills they need to manage their chronic health conditions by sharing experiences and providing mutual support. 

Please contact Donna at  607-692-7669 or  1-888-603-5973 if you have questions regarding the program or would like to register.

RHSCGovernor Andrew Cuomo recently announced the approval of $6.9 million in funding to be applied to AmeriCorps programs across New York State. The funds come from the New York State Commission on National and Community Service, and will be distributed to 21 different organizations, including Rural Health Network of SCNY. RHN's Rural Health Service Corps program will use the grant award to place AmeriCorps members at host sites across the Southern Tier. Members at these sites will focus on opioid abuse prevention, education, treatment, and recovery, and will cover Broome, Tioga, Chemung, Cortland, Madison, Delaware, Tompkins, and Otsego counties.

If you are interested in learning more about the program or applying for one of these positions, please visit our website which includes information about the 9 host sites where members will be placed.
Getthere Call Center Hours Extended

GetthereThe Getthere Call Center has new hours.  We are now staffing the call center Monday-Friday from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Getthere provides transportation education, trip planning and referral services, and travel training.   
Leadership Message
Jack Salo, Executive Director

Rural Proofing

JackIn my role as Secretary of the NYS Association for Rural Health (NYSARH), I had the pleasure of participating in a NYSARH strategic planning session held in Rochester, NY on July 29, 2017.  Our facilitator was Brock Slabach, Senior Vice President for Member Services of the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).

In addition to leading an energizing and productive session, Mr. Slabach introduced some helpful terms and tools for rural health policy and advocacy work, including the term Rural Proofing.   A short policy brief on the NRHA Rural Proofing Tool is available on their website.

As referenced in the NRHA Policy Brief, "Rural proofing is an approach to the development and review of government policy and strategic planning that recognizes that the needs of rural areas and communities are different to those of their urban counterparts." Historically, the Rural Health Network SCNY has worked to advocate for the health related needs of rural communities and residents but all too often this work is done after policy and program decisions have been made and there is an anticipated or actual adverse impact on rural populations.  A good example of "too little, too late" is the advocacy effort that took place to save rural public transportation services after New York State made changes in the administration and funding of Medicaid transportation.  The changes in Medicaid transportation removed most Medicaid funding from the rural public transportation systems that depended on this funding, causing systems to reduce service or cease operations.

More recently, Rural Health Network of SCNY has directed advocacy efforts to emerging health care reform and new program initiatives, including Care Compass Network (lead organization for Medicaid reform efforts in our service area), the NYS Population Health Improvement Program and, the Binghamton- Broome Anti-Poverty Initiative.  While we have had some impact and success in advocating for the unique needs of rural populations, the idea of rural proofing policy and plans on the front end of the work makes a lot of sense.  Identification of specific rural needs and service delivery strategies in the policy development and/or program planning stages should result in better rural health programming and outcomes.

While we have not yet used the NRHA rural proofing process in our work, we will consider how we can use this tool to improve health in our service area.  A first step will be to better understand the rural proofing process and to try it out with policy and planning work that we are directly involved in.

  Food and Health Network Logo
A core component of our farm to school work at Food and Health Network is our New York Thursday Menu initiative, which seeks to create school lunch menus consisting of locally procured items that will then be piloted in partnering school districts across Broome and Tioga counties. Check out the upcoming menus for September and October as well as our "Harvest of the Month" schedule for the 2017-18 school year!

September's NY Thursday Menu:
Chicken Spiedie Sub -- Lupos (Binghamton, NY)
Oven Roasted Potatoes -- Headwater Food Hub (Ontario, NY)
Corn on the Cob -- Reeves Farms (Baldwinsville, NY)
Fresh Apple -- Russell Farms (Brackney, PA)
Low Fat Milk --  Byrne Dairy (NYS)

October's NY Thursday Menu:
Oven Roasted BBQ Chicken Drumsticks -- Cascun Farms (Greene, NY)
Oven Roasted Potatoes --  Headwater Food Hub (Ontario, NY)
Harvest Apple Kale Salad -- Main Street Farms (Marathon, NY) & Russell Farms (Brackney, PA)
Fresh Pear --  Headwater Food Hub (Ontario, NY)
Low Fat Milk -- Byrne Dairy ( NYS)

Population Health Update
PHIPNational Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month - a time to share resources and  stories in an effort to shed light on this highly stigmatized topic. 
Each year, more than 41,000 people die by suicide. For the Southern Tier, the charts below paint a grim picture. 

Source: SPARCS - Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System.

Source: BRFSS - Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. 

Source: County Health Rankings

Behavioral Health is a priority area of the Southern Tier Population Health Improvement Program (PHIP) as we embark on a stigma reduction project which assists employers with integrating behavioral health supports into their workplace wellness programs. The primary goals will be to provide employers with employee supports through mental health and substance abuse concerns, thereby reducing the stigma associated with them.To learn more about the project or to get your employer involved, please contact  Mary Maruscak.  

For informational resources to raise suicide prevention awareness through your own networking, the  NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) website is an excellent place to start. 

For Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, the CDC and partners are spreading the message that "we can all stop suicide-before it happens-by working together."   Sign up on Thunderclap to share a message and resource on Facebook or Twitter. This one-time message will automatically post from your account on September 21 at noon EDT.
Rural Health Policy & Advocacy Resources
RHNSCNY continues to move forward with their  organizational advocacy plan , and would like to ask our readers to provide their input on the next steps, specifically for the behavioral health priority, which is as follows: 

Advocacy Priority 1: Lack of Behavioral Health Providers and Services: Advocate for increased behavioral health provider capacity for rural residents (telepsychiatry, prevention education, needle exchange, supporting student loan forgiveness, etc.).

Please take this brief survey to help us identify opportunities for advocacy to address this priority. 

Opportunities to Take Action: 

The Affordable Care Act
Members of Congress are returning to Washington, DC as the summer recess winds down, putting health care policy issues back in the spotlight. Policy experts expect the fall to be busy with significant activity expected in Congress and in the administration.
T he fight over the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) heated up again with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)  announcing  that the agency has reduced the advertising budget for this year's Marketplace open enrollment period by 90% and has cancelled the program that helps people through the enrollment process. This program, like the Medicare State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs), provides valuable assistance to people who need help understanding their insurance options. Click here to learn more.

In support of Medicare Part D and vulnerable populations
Altering the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) would restrict access to affordable prescription drug coverage for vulnerable, low-income beneficiaries. Please join the National Alliance on Mental Illness' (NAMI) letter urging congress to protect patient access and oppose harmful change to the Part D program. The full text of the letter can be found here, and you can add your organizations' support by filling out the form underneath.
Medicare Open Enrollment
Medicare Open Enrollment occurs from  October 15 to December 7 of every year. Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year: costs, covered benefits, in network providers and pharmacies. Open enrollment is an opportunity for people to review and change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their specific needs.

Watch your mail for information from your Medicare plan such as "Evidence of Coverage" (EOC) and "Annual Notice of Change" (ANOC).  When comparing Medicare plans, add up all possible costs, consider monthly premiums, copays, coinsurance, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums each plan presents to estimate your possible 2018 costs. Make sure your preferred providers and hospitals will accept the plan you choose.  Examine the plan's drug formulary to see if your medications are included, and at what cost. 

Community Health Services staff can provide information and resources regarding Medicare Enrollment, Medicare Savings Programs and the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) Program. For more information, please contact our  Rural Health Network of SCNY office  Monday  -  Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM  at  1-888-603-5973 .
New Health Care Cost Transparency Website
NYSHFWith out-of-pocket costs on the rise, more people are shopping around for affordable, high-quality health care services. It is vital that consumers have information that will help them make good choices about when and where to receive care, and how much they might expect to pay for that care. Despite demand for better information, there has been a widespread lack of health care transparency tools--and tools that do exist are not always designed with patients in mind.

With NYS Health Foundation funding, a new, interactive health care cost transparency website by FAIR Health will empower New Yorkers from across the State to plan for and manage their medical and dental expenses.  offers unbiased, transparent, user-friendly information on health care costs. Consumers can compare out-of-network and in-network costs.  The free website also features educational content, videos, and resources to help consumers better understand health care quality and engage them in decision-making .
RuralSave the Date - National Rural Health Day is November 16th

Connect with Rural Health Network of SCNY

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