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Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day

Posted 16 April 2018 at 11:16 am

Hospice of Orleans will have staff at Walmart today

Press Release, Hospice of Orleans, Inc.

ALBION – Hospice of Orleans, Inc., along with other national, state and community organizations, are leading a massive effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making, an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).

As a participating organization, Hospice of Orleans is providing information and tools for the public to talk about their wishes with family, friends and healthcare providers, and execute written advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and living will) in accordance with New York state laws. These resources are available by clicking here.

Specifically, Hospice of Orleans staff is welcoming the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at Walmart in Albion with free information about advance care planning and advance directive forms.

“As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, many more people in our community can be expected to have thoughtful conversations about their healthcare decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known,” said Kellie Spychalski, CEO of Hospice of Orleans. “Fewer families and healthcare providers will have to struggle with making difficult healthcare decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient, and healthcare providers and facilities will be better equipped to address advance healthcare planning issues before a crisis and be better able to honor patient wishes when the time comes to do so.”

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Medina Memorial Hospital has new affiliation with Rochester Regional Health

Posted 11 April 2018 at 1:33 pm

Press Release, Orleans Community Health and Rochester Regional Health

File photo by Tom Rivers: Medina Memorial Hospital will stay independent but will also be part of a new affiliation with Rochester Regional Health.

MEDINA – Orleans Community Health, the parent organization of Medina Memorial Hospital, is entering into an affiliation with Rochester Regional Health. Through the agreement, Orleans Community Health will contract select health care services from Rochester Regional Health and its hospital in Batavia, United Memorial Medical Center.

“We’re excited about this new affiliation,” remarked Dawn Meland, board chair of Orleans Community Health. “It gives us more attractive options when we decide how to bring new services to the area, which is a great thing for our patients. Additionally, as we identify opportunities to reduce costs, improve efficiency and make health care more sustainable in this part of the region, we now have a partner ready to help us better take advantage of those opportunities.”

Shortly after the start of the new year, Rochester Regional Health began to expand its primary care offerings through this agreement. Market research has identified a shortage of primary care providers in Medina and Orleans County. In January, a full-time primary care office began to operate at the United Memorial Medical Center’s Medina location on Maple Ridge Road. Orleans Community Health is also looking to expand this office space to support future growth. UMMC joined the RRH system in 2015.

Orleans Community Health will remain its own independent organization under the terms of this agreement.

“Orleans Community Health is a critical asset to our community and they share our commitment to delivering great care close to where people live and work,” said Dan Ireland, president of United Memorial Medical Center. “It’s a natural partnership. It’s also an important partnership for the future. Together, we’re making care more accessible in a model that can adapt as the needs of patients continue to evolve.”

(Update at 2:51 p.m.) Medina Mayor Mike Sidari posted this statement on Facebook this afternoon:

“With a working relationship between these three hospitals I feel it will benefit all of Orleans and Eastern Niagara Counties,” Sidari said. “We should be seeing more specialized services here in Medina so area residents will not have to travel to Rochester. I encourage residents to be in touch with the hospital and take advantage of the services they will be able to provide.”

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National Health Week puts focus on healthier living

Posted 3 April 2018 at 9:55 am

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Health Educator and Public Information Officer for Orleans County Health Department

The first week of April is National Public Health Week (NPHW), a week set aside encouraging us to choose healthier living.

National Public Health Week started in April of 1995 by the American Public Health Association (APHA) with a focus on Public Health prevention topics. This year’s theme is, “Healthiest Nation 2030 Changing Our Future Together.” This year the focus is on working together to make changes in our health and the health of our communities.

“As we look at overall health we know there are many components that can affect our wellness and participation in activities such as work, school and recreation,” said Paul Pettit, Director of both Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “Taking positive steps in our personal lives by choosing to make healthier food choices, become more active, limit or stop the use of nicotine/tobacco products and alcohol and seeking help when we are experiencing depression and anxiety will have an impact on our lives and our communities. Taking small steps can make a difference in the long run.”

Review the following daily themes and see what you can do to work toward becoming the Healthiest You 2018!

The focus areas chosen this year are:

• Monday – Behavioral Health: Advocate for and promote well-being

• Tuesday – Communicable Diseases: Learn about ways to prevent disease transmission

• Wednesday – Environmental Health: Help to protect and maintain a healthy planet

• Thursday – Injury and Violence Prevention: Learn about the effects of injury and violence on health

• Friday – Ensuring the Right to Health: Advocate for everyone’s right to a healthy life

This article only touches on a couple of the focus areas listed above. To learn more about National Public Health Week and the movement for change, visit their website at

Behavioral Health: Advocate for and promote well-being. Being aware that mental health and wellness plays a major part in our overall health. This is an opportunity to de-stigmatize mental health diagnoses and encourage people who are experiencing mental unwellness to seek treatment. There are several trainings to teach about the services available in our respective communities. Mental Health First Aid, SafeTALK are two trainings that help increase awareness of mental unwellness and where to seek help.

Communicable Diseases: Learn about ways to prevent disease transmission. “Washing your hands often is the single most effective way to limit the spread of many diseases,” said Brenden Bedard, Director of Community Health Services for both Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “As we have seen in this year’s flu season it is important so make sure you and your family are up to date on immunizations against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

One of the easiest ways to strive toward a healthier nation is to take care of you. Make sure you eat well, engage in physical activity often, spend less time in front of a screen, and get plenty of rest.  Treat yourself and others with care and respect. And finally, remember to have fun and laugh … after all, laughter is the best medicine.

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More community members learning to ‘Stop the Bleed’

Staff Reports Posted 29 March 2018 at 10:47 am

Provided photos: Howard Watts, a Shelby volunteer firefighter, was among the participants in a “Stop the Bleed” training session on Wednesday at GCASA.

ALBION – The Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition sponsored a “Stop the Bleed” training on Wednesday at the GCASA offices in Albion.  Mackenzie Smith, Emergency Department nurse manager for Orleans Community Health, shared her expertise with 18 community members who attended the one-hour training.

“Stop the Bleed” trainings were motivated by the 2012  school shooting in Sandy Hook and the multiple tragedies that have occurred in the ensuing years. The resulting injuries from manmade or natural mass casualty events generally present with severe bleeding which, if left unattended, can result in death.

“The skills and basic tools to stop uncontrolled bleeding are able to provide immediate frontline aid until first responders are able to take care of an injured person,” Smith said.

Mackenzie Smith, Emergency Department nurse manager for Orleans Community Health, leads the training on Wednesday.

Due to many situations, there may be a delay between the time of injury and the time a first responder is on the scene. Smith shared the ABC’s of Bleeding: A – Alert – call 911; B – Bleeding – find the bleeding injury; and C – Compress – apply pressure to stop the bleeding.

Smith also shared how to apply tourniquets to stop the blood flow and the basics of wound packing.

Three actions that could save a life include:

• Apply pressure with hands.

• Apply dressing and press.

• Apply tourniquets if the bleeding doesn’t stop. The tourniquet may be applied and secured over clothing. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, place a second tourniquet closer to the torso from the first tourniquet. (A belt could be used as a tourniquet.)

Smith also recently offered a Stop the Bleed training for Lyndonville Central School staff. Aaron Slack, principal of the LCS Secondary School, coordinated the training through his role on the Board of Directors for Medina Memorial Hospital and Orleans Community Health.

Smith offers training to Lyndonville physical education teacher Laura Valley and health teacher Shane Phillips.

COVA will offer class this Saturday

This Saturday is “National Stop the Bleed Day” and COVA will be teaming with the Orleans County Health Department to offer a free training from 9 a.m to 12:30 at the Carlton Rec Hall on Route 98.

The program is designed to encourage bystanders to get involved and help until local emergency response personnel can arrive on scene. It promotes an all-hazards approach to this issue. It does not matter if the injury is accidental in nature, or the result of an act of violence. Giving people the confidence to act can save lives.

Barb Morlino, the training coordinator for COVA, will lead the class with help from Justin Niederhofer, Carlton’s assistant fire chief.

The program on Saturday is free. Click here for more information or to register.

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More than 100 participate in colon cancer awareness run and walk

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 March 2018 at 6:22 pm

The event, in its fourth year, honors the memory of Wayne Burlison

Photos by Marsha Rivers

ALBION – Lisa Burlison welcomes the runners and walkers to fourth annual Run for Wayne, which honors the memory of her husband Wayne Burlison. This year the event became the Wayne A. Burlison-Colon Cancer Awareness 5K Run and Walk.

Burlison, an Albion elementary music teacher, was 36 when he died from colon cancer on March 26,2014. He was active in several musical groups in the community and also helped start the Albion Running Club. He lost more than 150 pounds through better nutrition and exercise.

The race started on Clarendon Road near the elementary school. The course headed to Mount Albion Cemetery and then back to the school.

There were 110 runners and walkers in today’s event.

Lisa Burlison and her son Adam greeted the runners, and released the balloons the start the race. Brian Krieger, left, and Mark Moore, right, of the Running Club helped organize the event. Randy LeBaron, pastor of the Albion Free Methodist Church, also shared a short message and prayer for the runners and walkers.

“As you run today, I encourage you to think about those seemingly small things in your life that are precious to you,” Mrs. Burlison told the group. “Notice the people around you, and extend a smile. Notice the scenery, and be thankful for what is there. While the things of this world may be temporary – they are gifts and blessings. It is my hope that you see them today and in the days to come.”

The race gets started as the balloons are released. Reuben Rivers, 13, of Albion was the overall winner in a time of 19:38. Sabrina Quiros, 14, of Medina was the fastest female at 23:47.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Lisa Franclemont, coordinator of Cancer Services of Genesee and Orleans, urged people to get screened for colorectal cancer. She also said working to reduce stress can help fight the disease.

The Running Club teamed with Oak Orchard Health in organizing the Wayne A. Burlison-Colon Cancer Awareness 5K Run and Walk. Both groups want to raise awareness about colon cancer as the third-leading cause of death by cancer for men and women. Colon cancer is preventable or treatable with the proper knowledge, resources, and early detection.

Some of the proceeds from today’s event also go towards developing a walking trail at Bullard Park.

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Flu cases drop 42% in NY in past week

Posted 15 March 2018 at 3:31 pm

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that for the third consecutive week since being categorized as geographically widespread, the number of laboratory confirmed influenza cases has decreased across New York.

There has been a 42 percent decrease in lab confirmed flu cases and 35 percent decrease in hospitalizations since last week.

Last week, 3,692 laboratory confirmed influenza cases were reported to the New York State Department of Health. The number of weekly hospitalizations decreased for the fifth consecutive week since influenza was declared prevalent in December, with 694 New Yorkers hospitalized for lab confirmed influenza.

“I am encouraged to see yet another decrease in the number of flu cases across the state, but we must remain vigilant against the spread of the virus,” Governor Cuomo said. “If you haven’t already been vaccinated, I urge you to do so and to please stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading the illness.”

Influenza has been categorized as geographically widespread for the last 14 weeks in New York State. As of March 10, 111,410 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza have been reported and 20,114 people have been hospitalized with influenza in New York State this season. There have been 5 pediatric influenza-associated deaths this flu season, and 18,432 children under the age of five have been diagnosed with lab confirmed influenza and 1,341 have been hospitalized. During last year’s flu season, there were 12,912 flu-related hospitalizations and 8 pediatric deaths in New York. Over the previous four years, there were a total of 25 pediatric flu deaths in New York State and an average of 10,571 flu-related hospitalizations a year.

In addition to getting a flu shot and staying home when sick, it’s essential to practice good hand-hygiene. Unlike some viruses, influenza is easily killed by soap and hot water.

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Latest County Health Rankings put Orleans in bottom quarter of state

Posted 14 March 2018 at 7:08 pm

Genesee, however, ranks 19th healthiest county out of 62

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Health Educator and Public Information Officer for Orleans County Health Department

According to the ninth annual County Health Rankings, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, Orleans County ranks 48th respectively in overall Health Outcomes out of 62 counties.

Neighboring Genesee County ranks far higher at 19th. The lower the number, the better the county is doing with its health indicators. The Rankings are available at

“The County Health Rankings help us identify factors that are important for residents to live long and healthy lives and understand how we compare to other counties in the state,” said Paul Pettit, director of the public health departments in Genesee and Orleans counties. “With this knowledge, we can take steps to improve the health of our residents.”

The Rankings are broken into to two main categories. Health Outcomes includes length of life and quality of life and Health Factors includes health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.

Genesee County ranked 19th out of 62 counties for Health Outcomes and 27th in Health Factors. Orleans County ranked 48th in Health Outcomes and 56th in Health Factors.

“The County Health Rankings show us that where people live plays a key role in how long and how well they live,” Pettit said. “The Rankings allow local leaders to clearly see and prioritize the challenges they face – whether it’s rising premature death rates or the growing drug overdose epidemic – so they can bring community leaders and residents together to find solutions.”

According to the 2018 Rankings, the five healthiest counties in New York State starting with most healthy are Rockland, followed by Saratoga, Westchester, Nassau and Putnam. The five counties in the poorest health, starting with least healthy are Bronx, Sullivan, Cattaraugus, Niagara, and Chautauqua.

This year’s Rankings are looking at the differences in health by place and by race. These differences are largely the result of gaps in opportunity – education, jobs and affordable housing in our communities. These gaps overly affect people of color.

“The County Health Rankings show how Genesee and Orleans counties rank on factors that influence their overall health ranking,” Pettit said. “For example Genesee County has some strengths in making sure the percentage of population under the age of 65 have health insurance, showing 12 percent uninsured in 2014 and 6 percent in 2018 as well as decreasing the number of hospital stays for ambulatory-care sensitive conditions per 1,000 Medicare enrollees, from 84 in 2014 to 48 in the 2018 rankings. In Orleans County, strengths include going from 12 percent uninsured in 2014 to 7 percent in 2018 and 32 percent in 2014 to 0 percent alcohol-impaired driving deaths in the 2018 rankings.”

Even with the above mentioned positive trends, both counties continue to have challenge areas and are still struggling with health factors specifically with adult smoking (Genesee – 20 percent / Orleans – 22 percent), obesity (Genesee – 27 percent / Orleans – 31 percent) and local access to clinical care, providing local access to clinical care for primary care physicians, dentists and mental health providers.

The Rankings have become an important tool for communities that want to improve health for all. Working collaboratively with community partners, Genesee and Orleans counties have a number of initiatives underway to expand health opportunities for residents, including providing the National Diabetes Prevention Program (Prevent T2), a lifestyle change program to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes; coordinating the tri-county Opioid Task Force; decrease smoking/nicotine usage through referrals and increase cancer screenings.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit

About the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute

The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute advances health and well-being for all by developing and evaluating interventions and promoting evidence-based approaches to policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels.

The Institute works across the full spectrum of factors that contribute to health. A focal point for health and health care dialogue within the University of Wisconsin-Madison and beyond, and a convener of stakeholders, the Institute promotes an exchange of expertise between those in academia and those in the policy and practice arena.  The Institute leads the work on the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and the RWJF Culture of Health Prize. For more information, visit

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State grant will fund detox site in Batavia that will serve Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 February 2018 at 6:12 pm

BATAVIA – State funding will pay for a new detox facility in Batavia to be run by the Genesee-Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

GCASA currently offers supported living facilities. The new detox site will provide around-the-clock care to people who are under the influence of alcohol, opioids, or other substances, or who are suffering from withdrawal, and help stabilize them and connect them to long-term treatment services.

The closest sites currently residents in Orleans County are in Rochester or Buffalo, and there is often a waiting list.

GCASA was awarded a $1.9 million grant to open the facility that will have 16 beds. It will serve residents in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

Mark O’Brien, director of the Orleans County Mental Health Department, told county legislators today the detox facility, which is planned to open in mid 2019, is great news for Orleans County and residents struggling with addiction.

The GCASA grant is one of five approved by the state, which making $10 million in capital funding available for five providers for the development of 84 new community-based Medically Supervised Withdrawal and Stabilization Services beds.

“Communities across the country have felt the impact of the opioid epidemic and New York will continue to combat this scourge until this crisis has been eradicated once and for all,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in announcing the grants. “This funding will bring desperately needed resources to communities across state, allowing us to reach more people and get them the help they need.”

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Hospital CEO says affiliation among keys for Medina Memorial

Photos  by Tom Rivers: Mark Cye, the interim chief executive officer for Orleans Community Health, is pictured by Medina Memorial Hospital, which is part of the Orleans Community Health.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 February 2018 at 1:44 pm

MEDINA – Mark Cye, the interim president and CEO of Orleans Community Health, said healthcare organizations are struggling with reimbursements that don’t cover the cost of care. It’s particularly difficult for small, rural hospitals that serve populations with a high percentage on Medicaid. The Medicaid rates are “awful,” Cye said.

He started as the hospital leader on Jan. 1 and also has been Orleans Community Health’s chief financial officer the past three years. He has worked the past 20 years in the healthcare field.

The following interview was conducted recently by Tom Rivers as Cye’s office at the hospital on Ohio Street.

Question: I wonder how you got interested in the healthcare field?

Answer: When I think about it, it was maybe by mistake. I actually started off in dietary at the Lockport hospital and I worked there for five years. At that point I was going for my accounting degree and a position opened up in patient accountings so I transitioned up there to see what that was like. As I was going through there I got my bachelor’s degree in accounting.

The day I was actually going to resign, because I had accepted another job as an accountant, I had to have my appendix removed that morning. When I went into work that morning at the hospital, the controller asked me about taking the accounting position at the hospital.

I took that and it was healthcare, healthcare, healthcare all the time. I was three years in that job at Lockport hospital. Then what happened is the controller had transitioned out to the Olmsted Center for the Visually Impaired. He called me and asked me to follow him. He was there three years and then he asked me to follow him to BryLin Hospital (on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo). I was there for three years.

I actually worked here as the controller from 2006 to 2008 and then went back to BryLin for seven years, and came back here. I’ve been in healthcare for about 20 years.

Question: Has the number-crunching got more stressful?

Answer: Oh yeah. With healthcare, the days of having dollars there are gone. Now it’s being more creative with how we’re doing things. In healthcare there is always downsizing to really get it to providing the same care but more efficiently. The days of Medicare and the states giving money have gone by the wayside. That’s the more stressful part.

Question: It seems like there is only so much you can cut.

Answer: That’s why in these days if you don’t affiliate with someone, those places don’t make it. With an affiliation you get synergies of service. Maybe you could have a CEO run this hospital and manage that hospital. With the upper level management you have cost reduction and it’s spread out.

Question: Is Medina affiliated with anyone right now?

Answer: Not yet. We’re in the process. It’s pretty close. We’re under a confidentiality agreement until it’s written. We were affiliated at one point with Catholic Health, which to us didn’t provide us a lot of subsistence, so we ended that about six to nine months ago.

Question: They seemed to be at events.

Mark Cye is pictured with a wall that recognizes some of the hospital’s bigger donors.

Answer: Yes, they would present but what we need from an affiliate is as a small, rural hospital we don’t have the ability to attract doctors here and bring other services. Without that, those services go elsewhere, they go 25 miles to the east or 25 miles to the west at another healthcare facility.

We need to attract those doctors here. That was what they were supposed to do but it didn’t pan out.

A good example is in our state it took us 18 months to attract a primary care doc at Albion. Other hospitals have 10 of them sitting there. That’s your main piece in an affiliate. That’s what we’re looking for in an affiliate is how can we keep people in this community getting service in this community.

We don’t want your elders having to drive a half hour to get a procedure when it can be offered here.

Question: It seems like a crisis for rural healthcare.

Answer: Yes. Knock on wood, luckily of all critical access hospitals, New York State is the only one that hasn’t had one close yet, but there have been up to 100 critical access hospitals that have closed in the last couple of years. That’s where the collaboration with other larger affiliates will come into play.

Question: It seems the other nearby hospitals have been aggressive in Orleans County of late. The Batavia hospital just added a family doctor in Medina.

Answer: With most critical access hospitals, they are up on their own. In Watertown, there is no one around for an hour. For us, we’re in a special area where we have big systems sitting on both sides of us. That’s why at some point we have to get stronger with one of them to make it work.

Question: I think you can say that with the local hospital and many local institutions the local people tend to be critical. That must be tough for the Medina hospital because there is some criticism.

Answer: It’s a battle. For us we always try to promote the positives. But you get that one negative comment out there and it blows a lot of the good you’re doing. We could be opening up a new ED today but someone could say the care stunk when I went there, and that’s what people focus on. Which is sad because at the end of the day, and this is what I try to stress to everyone here, is we’re all marketable as employees. Could I go somewhere else? Probably. Could the nurses go somewhere else? Probably. But at the end of the day that would affect the 20,000 people in this community who need the service. It could be your family member who needs that ambulance, who is having a heart attack or stroke and isn’t going to make it if they have to go 25 miles this way or that way.

Question: Is the care really as bad as some people make it out to be?

Answer: Some people come to the ED because they need a medication, they want their drug. We’re going to turn you away.

Some people come here and they don’t want to wait 10 minutes. To them 10 minutes is terrible, but to a normal person they would go there all day long.

Question: Isn’t there a standard of response? I tend to think a smaller hospital would be much faster than a bigger one. You could probably sit there for many hours in Rochester.

Answer: Right. What you always push in these type of settings is a quick turnaround. That is how you keep and attract patients to your area. Here the goal is hour and half from the time you get through the door until you get out.

There are reports that come through about quality, where patients do the questionnaire where they are asked, “Would you recommend the hospital or would you not?” You get some people who will rate your quality a 2, but then two questions later they give you a 9 for, “Would you recommend this place?” So that is of course what the data feeds into and it gets published that you’re a one-star facility, yet 90 percent of the time they would recommend you. You look at some of the metrics and does it even make sense?

They come in and we’re changing your meds, we’re changing your food pattern on you, and to them it’s terrible.

For us it even makes it worse because we’re a low volume.  If we have four discharges that month and this is one of them, we look bad. A lot of things end of skewed for the smaller hospitals.

Question: Why did you want to come back to Medina? It seems like it would be easier in the city at a bigger facility.

Answer: Healthcare is healthcare. It’s one of things where I went back to BryLin, they were in bankruptcy when I was there. With my previous boss we went back to BryLin to fix it, to get it out of bankruptcy. They got out of bankruptcy. Then this opened up. I decided to come back here because there was a whole new leadership team. I knew they were struggling.

I want to make a place work. I can’t fix it on my own, obviously, but here there is a challenge.

I like a challenge. I’ve never been the type who just liked to sit in the office and say, “Here’s your financial statement.” I want to broaden and learn.

Anne Outwein, a volunteer with the Twig organization, greets people at the hospital lobby, which is being upgraded.

Question: You’ve been the CFO here for how long?

Answer: Two years. I can in as controller on March 2015, and officially CFO in January 2016.

Question: Are you doing the two jobs, the CFO and the CEO?

Answer: Yes. Again as you look at the hospital and the ways its volumes are changing, our volumes are down dramatically. We’re trying to ramp that up and fix it.

What does a 25-bed or a 10-bed hospital really need to run? If you don’t change with those times, what’s going to happen?

Question: When you say they’re down dramatically, is that compared to five or 10 years ago?

Answer: Two years ago. Is part of it a change from going to an acute hospital to a critical access hospital? People may think we’re a critical access hospital so we can’t handle certain things. That’s one of those things that you don’t fix overnight. We have to rebuild it up. As a critical access hospital we have a 96-hour rule. We are required to have the patient in and out within 96 hours to keep our critical access designation, which is a four-day window.

That doesn’t mean every patient has to be four days. You have some for seven days and some for three days, as long as you average for the year. Some of the doctors didn’t understand that and if a patient was going to be five or six days, they would transfer they out.

We are looking at everything. Does it make sense to keep running as we’re running or do we change some things?

Question: With the focus on preventive care and shorter stays is there less money coming in?

Answer: The good thing for a critical access hospital, from a Medicare standpoint – and that typically goes with your elder population and we have an elder population here – the Medicare dollars are reimbursed at the cost.

You come in for pneumonia and it costs you $5,000 to take care of the patient, we’re going to reimburse you $5,000 instead of say $3,000. But we also have a high Medicaid population, and Medicaid reimburses awful. They haven’t increased their ER rate in five years.

Medicaid is what hurts us. Our clinic is probably 40 to 50 percent Medicaid/managed Medicaid, and the reimbursements are just awful.

Question: Is there a chance things could get worse for reimbursements?

Answer: I don’t think Medicaid could get any worse. The problem with Medicaid is it’s stagnant. If my costs go up 3 percent, they don’t put a 3 percent increase in for inflation. It’s always, “Here’s a half percent, here’s a half percent” and that’s what weighs down a lot of the organizations. It’s not going up to meet your costs, and that’s what’s putting a strain on a lot of us.

Question: And that’s despite New York spending $70 billion on Medicaid. You wonder where it all goes?

Answer: There’s a lot going to the other ancillary type things when we should be putting more into healthcare.

Question: How worried should the community be about the hospital?

Answer: As long as we can work with the union, work with doctors out there, and bring a closer-knit affiliate, that will be the shot in the arm that is needed here. I think we’re very close to getting that.

As those affiliations get closer, the state looks favorably on a struggling facility like us and is able to say we’ll give you an extra million dollars this year and next year, as you work through the affiliation, I know in two years you’re not going to ask for 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 million dollars.

When we go with an affiliation, now I can go to the state with a huge backer with me who can say, “We’re willing to work with them and they need some assistance to get from where they’ve been to where they need to be.”

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‘Run for Wayne’ will be Colon Cancer Awareness 5K run and walk

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 February 2018 at 9:08 am

File photos by Tom Rivers: Adam Burlison gets ready to cut the string holding the balloons during the Run for Wayne last April. Mark Moore, the race director, is at right. Adam is the son of the late Wayne Burlison.

ALBION – The fourth annual Run for Wayne, which honors the memory of Wayne Burlison, will return on March 24 as a 5-kilometer run and walk in Albion.

The race, however, will now be formally called “Wayne A. Burlison-Colon Cancer Awareness 5K Run and Walk.”

Burlison was a popular Albion elementary music teacher who also promoted running and fitness in the community. He was 36 when he passed away from colon cancer on March 26, 2014.

The Albion Running Club has organized three “Run for Wayne” events, with the proceeds going towards a scholarship given to graduating seniors and also to a walking trail to be constructed at Bullard Park.

The Running Club is teaming with Oak Orchard Health with the Wayne A. Burlison-Colon Cancer Awareness 5K Run and Walk. Both groups want to raise awareness about colon cancer as the third-leading cause of death by cancer for men and women. Colon cancer is preventable or treatable with the proper knowledge, resources, and early detection.

“We want to unite our voices and educate others while remembering the legacy of a much-loved man,” the Running Club said in an announcement about the race.

The course for the race starts on Clarendon Road by the elementary school and heads to Mount Albion Cemetery before ending at the school’s parking lot.

There will be post-race snacks, overall male and female winners’ prizes, and top 3 winners in 10-year age groups. Each registered participant will also get a runner’s cap with a logo.

Proceeds from the race will go to scholarships in Burlison’s name and towards the walking trail at Bullard.

For more on the event, click here.

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