health & wellness

Health Department urges precautions from extended extreme heat

Posted 18 June 2024 at 8:14 am

Press Release, Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments

Genesee and Orleans counties are expecting unusually hot weather this week, which will last through Friday evening, particularly on Wednesday and Thursday.

“The duration of the heat will include both daytime and nighttime temperatures, with little or no relief during the overnight hours,” stated Paul Pettit, public health director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “This poses an elevated risk of causing heat-related illnesses.”

GO Health is reminding residents to take necessary precautions during this week’s extreme heat event. Follow the steps below to stay cool, hydrated, and safe:

  • Stay in a cool or air-conditioned building as much as possible. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
  • Cover windows with drapes or shades.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary or alcoholic beverages. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully. If you must be outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity and find shade where you can. Limit strenuous activities and exercise. Drink plenty of water and take frequent breaks.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Choose clothing that is lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting.
  • Take a cool shower or bath using mildly warm water. Sudden temperature changes may make you feel dizzy or sick.
  • Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
  • Do not leave kids, pets, or anyone else in cars. Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open.
  • Wear sunscreen. Sunburn can impact how your body cools down and can cause you to become dehydrated.
  • Check on your neighbors, family and friends, especially those who are at higher risk. Those most at risk include older adults, infants and young children, pregnant people, people with disabilities, people with chronic conditions, and outdoor workers.
  • Keep your pets safe. Don’t keep your pets outdoors for too long, and provide them with plenty of fresh water. Avoid asphalt and dark pavement, which can be very hot.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke is a medical emergency, and if it is suspected, call 911 immediately. To learn more, click here.

OCH recognizes staff during Nursing Assistants’ Week

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 June 2024 at 9:23 am

MEDINA – Orleans Community Health held a luncheon Friday to honor the dedication and hard work of their certified nursing assistants, personal care assistants and patient care technicians.

The luncheon celebrated National Nursing Assistants’ Week, which officially runs from June 13 to 16. OCH, however, observes it from Monday through Friday, said Scott Robinson, director of Marketing, Communication and Outreach.

“During the week, our organization provided numerous opportunities to recognize and appreciate the invaluable contribution of these essential team members,” Robinson said. “Each day was dedicated to acknowledging the commitment and compassion of our CNAs, PCAs and PCTs.”

The luncheon was an opportunity to further thank these team members for their contributions, Robinson added. He called these professionals the backbone of patient care, ensuring the highest quality of service and support for their patients.

“We are immensely grateful for the dedication and compassion shown by our CNAs, PCAs and PCTs,” said Kimberly Gray, chief nursing officer of Orleans Community Health. “Their hard work and unwavering commitment are vital to the health and well-being of our community.”

Nursing assistants at OCH are Taylor Best, Roberto Vega, Theresa Parker, Tina Woolley, Angela Brown, Stephanie Klumpp. Olivia Neidert, Chloe Adams, Melinda Austin, Tricia Belcher, Jennifer Belcher, Barbara Brown, Jennie Dibble, Nina Dilorenzo, Kristi Fulwell-Adams, Kimberly Hare, Avery Horn, Pamela Jones, Tina Kelley, Destiny Miller, Ashley Pietrzykowsk8i, Kayleen Schafer, Jessica Skowneski, Lorraine Stockwell, Ronnie Depaul, Trisha Horton-Fisher, Elizabeth Langendorfer, Icyst Morales, Brittany Rosario, Donnalyn Shaughnessy, Tonya Stephens Newsome, Bailey Jackson, Victoria Wilson, Leah Knab, Amy Knox, Megan Perkins, Pamela VanOrden and Christine Walczak.

Orleans Community Health extends its heartfelt thanks to all nursing assistants for their continued excellence and dedication.

Middleport blood draw lab reopens after being closed 4 years

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 30 May 2024 at 11:04 am

MIDDLEPORT – After being closed since 2020, the Middleport lab draw station will officially reopen to the public on June 3.

The lab draw station is located adjacent to the offices of Dr. David Stahl and Dr. Celeste Stahl-Balaban.

In a press release today, Orleans Community Health has announced the station is ready to resume its services for the community.

“Our team is dedicated to providing efficient and reliable lab testing services, ensuring patients receive timely and accurate results,” according to Scott Robinson, director of Marketing, Communications and Outreach at Orleans Community Health.

The public is advised that appointments are walk-in during their hours of operation and no advance appointment has to be scheduled.

Patients are reminded to bring their lab scripts or have them faxed directly to the lab at (585) 798-9348.

Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 3:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Middleport Lab Draw Station is committed to maintaining the highest standards of safety and care, and looks forward to meeting the community’s lab testing needs with professionalism and a smile.

Orleans Community Health will also continue to offer lab draw services at Medina Memorial Hospital and the Albion Healthcare Center.

Care Closer to Home–Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Expansion at Oak Orchard Health

Posted 28 May 2024 at 8:30 am

By Robin Govanlu, LMHN, LAC, LPC, Chief of Behavioral Health, Oak Orchard Health.

Although many aspects of daily life appear to have returned to some sense of normalcy since the pandemic, there is an increasing impact and cultural shift in the need for mental health services, especially for children and adolescents. Since the start of the pandemic, Oak Orchard Health (OOH) continues to see the demand for behavioral health services on the rise, with limited resources to respond to that demand in the rural regions that we serve.

Since 2020 we have continued to see immense growth year after year with a 119% increase in all behavioral health visits and a 164% increase in pediatric visits since the start of the pandemic.  Our Brockport and Albion sites are our largest volume sites serving many of our child and adolescent patients. Unfortunately, that has resulted in longer than usual wait times for an appointment. As a parent, we know how difficult that can be, so we’ve been partnering with many organizations to help improve this situation.

Oak Orchard Health has served as a lead agency for many years on the Western Monroe County Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Coalition, which includes important community partners such as The University of Rochester Strong Pediatric Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP), Rochester Regional Health, SUNY Brockport, and the Brockport Central School District.  The collective data from this coalition further demonstrates the need for expansion of pediatric behavioral health services in Western Monroe and Orleans Counties, and the surrounding areas as many families that live west of Rochester experience significant challenges with accessing care closer to home.

To adequately address the behavioral health crisis in our regions and keep more children out of the hospital we need more mental health services in our community and that’s where Oak Orchard comes in. Getting our young patients connected quickly to the services that they need is vital to their well-being and ongoing development. Therefore, OOH will be expanding child and adolescent behavioral health services at the Brockport Health Center and the Albion Wellness Center. This expansion will include hiring additional therapists with a specialty in pediatric behavioral health. We’ll also be hiring support staff and a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner within the next year. Services can be provided in-person and through our telehealth program which allows for audio or video communication between the patient and mental health provider using their phone, laptop, or iPad.   

Another goal is to reduce the wait from time of referral to time of intake to get kids and families the help they need sooner.  With the new therapists hired in the coming months, we expect to be able to see new patients this summer. We plan to care for kids from as young as 2 to 21 years of age. Please share with others and we look forward to partnering with schools and parents in the area regarding the expansion of this program. We hope to make a major impact on the youth in the region. If you have any questions or want to make an appointment for the July/August period, please call Oak Orchard Health at (585) 637-3905, ext. 2102.

Orleans recognizes May as ‘Mental Health Awareness Month’

Posted 16 May 2024 at 8:28 am

Press Release, Orleans County Mental Health Department

ALBION – The month of May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month and the Orleans County Department of Mental Health is taking the opportunity to work with their local, regional, and national partners to promote the many mental services available to residents.

“It is important that we are always talking about mental health and the services and supports available, as it is an effort to reduce stigma and reinforce the importance of reaching out for help for anyone who is experiencing a mental health challenge or are in emotional distress,” said Danielle Figura, director of Orleans County Mental Health & Community Services.  “Through efforts like Mental Health Awareness Month, I believe we have made tremendous progress on how the public views mental health, although we recognize we still have a lot of work to do.”

Figura said drawing attention to mental health awareness begins with promoting the county’s Care and Crisis Helpline. Those in crisis should call the helpline at (585) 283-5200. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

“The helpline is there when people feel they have nowhere else to turn, whether its depression, anxiety, substance abuse, trauma or any other need that may be interfering with emotional wellbeing,” said Figura.  “We want the people to know they are not alone.”

Figura said locally in Orleans County, there are many mental health supports and resources available to the residents of Orleans County.  “These programs and services exist to support individuals and their families so if you feel you or someone you know may need assistance, please take advantage of them.”

Orleans County Mental Health Department

(Click here to see the website)

  • New York State Office of Mental Health Licensed Article 31 Outpatient Clinic Treatment Programs offering individual therapy, family therapy, couples therapy and psychiatric services (to include psychiatric evaluation, psychiatric monitoring, and pharmacology). Open access hours for new clients are Monday to Friday at 12:30 p.m.
  • New York State Office of Mental Health Licensed Article 31 Outpatient Clinic Satellite Sites at UConnect Care (formerly GCASA) and Orleans County School Districts offering individual therapy at those host locations.
  • Health Home Care Management Programs serving both youths and adults. A program under New York State Department of Health, which looks to connect individuals to additional supports and resources to promote overall physical and emotional health wellness.

Crisis Supports & Resources

  • Spectrum Health CARES Team – Mobile Crisis Team Available Evenings, Weekends, Holidays for over the phone support, and in home assessments. Serving both adults and youth. Requests for the CARES Team can be made by contacting the Care & Crisis Helpline at (585) 283-5200 or contacting the Orleans County Sheriffs Dispatch.
  • Rochester Psychiatric Center MIT Team (mobile integration team) – Serves Adults only and is available Monday – Friday during business hours. Providing in home, community based assessments, outreach and engagement efforts.Requests for the RPC MIT Team can be made through the Care & Crisis Helpline at (585) 283-5200.
  • “988” National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline – Call or Text 988, Connect via chat at or visit for more resources.

Additional Programs & Resources

  • Mental Health Association of Genesee & Orleans Counties. Serving adults in Orleans County, through programs to include the Warm Line, Transportation, and Drop-In-Center. Click here for more information.
  • Oak Orchard Health. Click here for more information.

Medina Memorial observing Hospital Week, highlighted by Vendor Fair on Friday

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 May 2024 at 7:56 am

MEDINA – Orleans Community Health is joining hospitals throughout the country in celebrating National Hospital Week May 12 to 18.

In observance of the week, everyone throughout their facility will be recognized, including the more than 300-person team within Orleans Community Health and the positive impact they have on the larger community.

“Whether you’re at Medina Memorial Hospital, the Albion Healthcare Center, either of our dialysis centers or the Middleport lab, you matter to us and the entire community,” said Marc Shurtz, CEO/CIO of Orleans Community Health.

 The week of events includes several internal functions, including several team members for their years of service and a community-wide Vendor Fair and Farmers’ Market on Friday.

The Vendor Fair, hosted by the Employees in Action Committee, will take place in the parking lot between Maintenance and the Business Office, and the public is encouraged to stop and check it out.

Vendors include Mr. Pix popcorn (kettle corn), Human Farms (plants and flowers), Red Check (handmade/refurbished décor), Melissa Clark (roses), Tupperware by Judy Szulis, Niagara Farmhouse Finds (handmade rustic décor), The Bird Nest (bakery), Blue Groove (coffee truck), The Uniform Outlet (scrubs/accessories), John Roberts (garlic and veggies), Crafty Corner (handmade bracelets), Caitlyn Allen (handmade jewelry), North Wing Resident counsel (baked goods) and Sally’s Costume Designs (vinyl designs).

The Vendor Fair will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday.

“Hospital Week is truly an opportunity to highlight everyone on our team,” said Scott Robinson, director of Marketing for Orleans Community Health. “Whether it’s the first person you see while going through admissions or the nurse who cares for you in subacute rehab, our team works collectively to make sure the care you receive is unmatched.”

VA, Independent Living teaming up for veteran-directed care in 9 WNY counties

Posted 14 May 2024 at 9:59 am

Focus will be to reach underserved rural parts of region

Press Release, WNY Independent Living

BATAVIA – A partner of the Veterans Administration Medical Centers (VAMC) in Buffalo and Batavia, Western New York Independent Living, Inc. received the sole contract for Veteran Directed Care (VDC) with the VA.

While the Veteran Directed Care model is new to WNY, it has demonstrated success in self-directed care by veterans across the nation. VA Medical Centers partner with non-profit Independent Living Centers to empower Veterans to employ their own aides (often already being provided by family members).

WNY Independent Living CEO, Douglas Usiak shares, “As an aging service-connected disabled veteran myself, I am excited to know that my brother and sister veterans will have the comfort to direct their own homecare needs and remain in their home of choice as long as possible.

“A secondary satisfaction to being involved in the launch of this program is the opportunity to work with the VAMC in the capacity of a partner, and not just one of their consumers of services,” Usiak said. “This partnership gives me the opportunity to advance my lifelong passion of promoting the Independent Living philosophy that believes that we all have a right to live in our homes, work in our communities, and engage in society as a person with a disability.”

A focus of this program is to reach the underserved rural parts of WNY where veterans face provider shortages, geographic and distance barriers, limited broadband coverage which impairs their ability to participate in telehealth, and social determinants of health relative to rural living experiences (i.e., access to transportation, employment).

To ensure a trust-built rapport with veterans, WNY Independent Living has employed another Army veteran, Thomas Patterson, to serve in the Person-Centered Counsellor role and interface directly with the veterans in assessing their needs in their homes and communities.

Veterans and Patterson will work together to build a spending plan to identify costs for their personal assistants and obtain any additional goods and services the veteran requires to improve quality of life in their home and community.

The power of this Veteran Directed Care program can be recognized in the experiences of the individual veterans who are participating in VDC.  For example, a 94-year-old veteran who functions independently in his own home and wants to remain there with some additional oversight for specific household tasks and community access – like going to the library for a new mystery novel – has employed his daughter-in-law for these functions.

Another veteran depends on his granddaughter for activities of daily living and then she needs to go to her job in the community to support herself. Being able to be paid to continue the care she already provides to her “Poppy” will improve the quality of life for both. One thing is certain: their stories are being heard.

Crucial to WNY Independent Living’s successful launch as a VDC program, VDC Director Julie Andrews Krieger expresses gratitude for the mentorship of the other providers in the VDC community, including the Independent Living Center of Hudson Valley and VA Medical Center in Albany.

WNY Independent Living will support veterans across the wider WNY region in Orleans, Niagara, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Wyoming, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties. We are proud to serve the veterans in our community.

To qualify for this program, a Veteran must request Veteran Directed Care from their VA physician and Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) at the local VA Medical Center or VA Clinic and an assessment is completed and referral made to the VDC program.

The Western New York Independent Living, Inc. family of agencies offer an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

Rankings put Orleans below average in state and nation for Health Factors

Posted 13 May 2024 at 2:57 pm

County does better in report on Health Outcomes

Chart from Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments

Press Release, Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments

The 2024 County Health Rankings have been released and updated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI).  The Rankings are available at

“Each year we look at the County Health Rankings to get an overview of our health and factors that influence our health,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “This year the County Health Rankings have made some changes in reporting. Rather than ranking with specific numbers, the Rankings are looking at how each county fits in the scale from Healthiest in the United States to Least Healthiest in the U.S. The purpose of the annual data release is to help communities understand the many factors that influence health.”

The rankings are broken into two main categories: Health Outcomes, which include length of life and quality of life, and Health Factors, which include health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.

Genesee County is faring about the same as the average county in the state for Health Outcomes, and better than the average county in the nation. Orleans County is faring worse than the average county in NYS for Health Outcomes, and better than the average county in the nation. For Health Factors, Genesee is faring worse than the average county, and better than the average county in the nation. Orleans is faring worse than the average county in New York State and in the nation.

“As Chief Health Strategists, we collaborate with our partners and community members to provide quality training, education and referrals as well as develop coalitions to explore the best way to help our county residents thrive and improve health factors,” Pettit said.

As referenced in the chart above, both Genesee and Orleans counties have health factors that could be improved specifically with local access to physicians, mental health providers and dentists along with excessive drinking, adult obesity, and adult smoking. Access to care significantly impacts and drives the rankings for both counties. Additionally, it is a substantial barrier for residents and ultimately, has an impact on not only an individual’s physical, social, and mental health, but also their overall quality of life.

Some key areas of the 2024 County Health Rankings for Genesee and Orleans Counties are:

  • Genesee and Orleans are currently working on providing information and programming to decrease adult smoking (20% with New York at 12%) and adult obesity (40% with New York at 29%). GO Health is providing an awareness campaign in partnership with Tobacco Free GLOW on the impact smoking and vaping has on health.
  • Both counties are bringing back the National Diabetes Prevention Program by presenting the Lifestyle Change program. This is an evidence-based program developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help individuals at-risk of or diagnosed with pre-diabetes to learn how to lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes over 26 one-hour sessions.

The Rankings have become an important tool for communities that want to improve health for all. Working collaboratively with community partners in Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming counties, Genesee and Orleans use the GOW 2022-2024 Community Health Assessment to choose the priorities for the Community Health Improvement Plan over the next three years.

We analyze the Rankings along with New York State data and community input from the Community Health Assessment survey and Community Conversations to determine these priorities. The 2022-2024 Community Health Improvement Plan priority areas are: prevent chronic disease, promote well-being, and prevent mental and substance use disorders.

For more information on Health Department programs and services, visit or call your respective health department at:

  • Orleans County: (585) 589-3278
  • Genesee County: (585) 344-2580 ext. 5555

Hospital continues brunch to recognize current and retired nurses

Photos by Ginny Kropf: A group of retired nurses share memories during the Nurses’ Recognition Brunch. Clockwise, from left, are Dorothy Casey, 42 years as an LPN; Mary Lou Tuohey, 10 years as a charge nurse and relief supervisor; Joanne Bracey, almost 29 years as an ER nurse; Paula Dresser, an RN with 30 years in OB, administration and surgery; Jeanne Crane, RN, infection control nurse and risk manager; and Cheryl Kozielski, almost 35 years in OB, med/surgery, ER, OR and supervision. About 50 active and retired nurses attended the brunch.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 11 May 2024 at 9:41 am

‘Each of you, whether currenting practicing or retired, has dedicated your life to the noble pursuit of caring for others.’

MEDINA – Last year Kim Gray, chief nursing officer at Orleans Community Health, came up with the idea to have a brunch to honor current and retired nurses during Nurses Week.

As Nurses Week ends this year, Gray is thrilled to announce the Nurses’ Recognition Brunch has become an annual tradition.

Approximately 50 retired and active nurses from all areas of the hospital attended the brunch Friday morning.

Gray greeted the full room, praising each and every one for choosing nursing as a profession.

“Each of you, whether currenting practicing or retired, has dedicated your life to the noble pursuit of caring for others,” Gray said. “Your incredible dedication to healthcare has left an immense mark on this hospital and the countless lives you’ve touched in this community. Your years of service to this hospital’s history is a testament to your commitment to healing and compassion.”

Karen Irwin, a retired nurse in risk management at Medina Memorial Hospital, and her grandson Langston, 3, attended the second annual Nurses’ Recognition Brunch Friday morning. Here, she chats with Paula Dresser, who was a nurse for 30 years at the hospital.

Gray encouraged each nurse to remember the lives they’ve helped save, the comfort they’ve provided and the hope they’ve instilled through the years to their patients and their families.

“I want to say ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart for coming out this morning to be here,” she said. “I pray we can keep this brunch an ongoing tradition to celebrate Nurses’ Week.”

Dorothy Casey of Medina was an LPN at Medina Memorial Hospital for 42 years, and thought the brunch was great.

“Working in a small rural hospital was the experience of a lifetime,” Casey said. “What you learned here gave you all-rounded experience, so anybody would hire you.”

Nurse Leighann VanAuker shared she was born at Medina Memorial Hospital, was treated there several times as a child and did her clinical training there.

Kim Gray, chief nursing officer at Orleans Community Health, talks with Mary Williams, retired human resources director; Elaine Smith, retired nurse; and her husband Charlie Smith, a semi-retired registered nurse who will have 35 years with the hospital in October.

Charlie Smith, an RN, is semi-retired, and plans to keep working until October, when he will have completed 35 years.

“He’s everywhere you need him,” Gray said.

Smith’s wife Elaine is also a retired RN.

The Smiths sat with Mary Williams, retired Human Resources director. Charlie and Williams went to nursing school together.

The nurses were asked to fill out cards on the tables listing any funny or meaningful stories from their careers, which they wished to share.

A gourmet brunch completed the morning get-together.

Gray said everyone seemed to have a good time, and she’s already looking forward to next year.

In addition to the brunch, nurses were recognized throughout the week with small gestures and gifts, said Scott Robinson, director of Marketing at Community Partners. One day flowers were handed out, bags of candy on other days and additional gifts throughout the week.

“The organizers really deserve a lot of credit for putting this all on,” Robinson said.

Nurse in North Wing at Medina Memorial named DAISY award winner

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 9 May 2024 at 8:01 am

Photos courtesy of Scott Robinson: Cassie Maynard (left), charge nurse on Medina Memorial Hospital’s North Wing, was selected as the first DAISY Award winner. Lisa McQueen, an LPN on the North Wing, was recognized as a finalist.

MEDINA – During the past year, Orleans Community Health announced its participation in a national program to recognize nurses who go above and beyond and make a profound difference in the lives of their patients.

On Wednesday, the first DAISY Award was presented to Cassie Maynard, charge nurse in the hospital’s North Wing. In addition, Lisa McQueen, LPN for the North Wing, also was recognized as a finalist.

Having only graduated from nursing school in 2021, Maynard is a relatively new registered nurse, but has assimilated very well into her leadership role on the North Wing Skilled Nursing Unit, said Thomas Bloomer, vice president of Human Resources and administrator for the North Wing.

“Within her first few months, she hit the ground running, quickly learning the position, building relationships with staff and residents, and proactively assuming the charge nurse duties,” Bloomer said. “Cassie exemplifies the DAISY Award mission by showing compassionate care to both our residents and families, as well as being respected by her team and coworkers. She shows a great work ethic, displaying excellent attendance, coming in early, staying late when needed and popping in during off hours to address resident care needs. Cassie is a valued member of our North Wing family and we are very proud to honor her with this exceptional award.”

Kimberly Gray, chief nursing officer, also praised Maynard for her compassionate approach, which has touched the lives of countless residents, providing comfort and healing during times of need.

“Her kindness, empathy and professionalism serve as an inspiration to everyone around her,” Gray said. “Cassie consistently goes above and beyond to ensure that every resident receives the highest standard of care. Whether it’s holding a resident’s hand, advocating for their needs or lending a listening ear, she embodies the true spirit of nursing. Cassie truly makes a difference for our residents every day.”

Rebecca Mannella, director of nursing, added her praise for both Maynard and McQueen.

“I feel honored and blessed to work with such outstanding professionals,” Mannella said. “Both Cassie and Lisa are very deserving of this award, and they give 100 percent to the residents and North Wing team. Our community is a better place knowing we have such high quality nurses.”

“It is a great honor to receive this award,” Maynard said. “North Wing is my family. I have so much love for my residents and staff. I couldn’t be more thankful.”

Maynard joined Medina Memorial Hospital in February 2023.

“Lisa continues to be a valuable asset to our nursing team,” Bloomer said. “Her dedication to our residents and clinical expertise and compassion have a significant impact on our residents and their families. Lisa could always be counted on to be a great advocate for our residents, and she is a wonderful team player.”

McQueen said it was a great honor to accept her award.

“I try to achieve the highest level of care to all of my residents,” she said.

McQueen joined Medina Memorial Hospital in April 2018.

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Flen Ellen, Calif., and was established by family members of J. Patrick Barnes, who died at the age of 33 from a little-known auto-immune disease. The care he and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and families.

“These unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the super-human work they do,” said Bonnie Barnes, CEO and co-founder of the DAISY Foundation. “The kind of work the nurses throughout Orleans Community Health are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of the DAISY Award.”

Scott Robinson, director of marketing for Community Partners at Orleans Community Health, said the DAISY Award will become an annual presentation now.

“We’ll be launching the next call for nominations in the near future,” he said.

Members of the DAISY Committee who chose the award winner, Orleans Community Health personnel and winners posed on the North Wing Wednesday morning. From left are Orleans Community Health CEO Marc Shurtz; Christine Kropf, chair of the Daisy selection committee; winner Cassie Maynard; committee member Jennifer Morgan; finalist Lisa McQueen; committee member Leighann VanAuker; Director of Nursing Rebecca Mannella; and Tom Bloomer, vice president of human resources.

Walk and health fair at Albion park puts focus on mental health

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 May 2024 at 5:16 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – This group takes part in a Mental Health Walk and Health Fair today at Bullard park. Participants joined on the crusher-run walking trail on the perimeter of the park.

The Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern organized the event for the first time. Participating agencies at the health fair included GOMOC, UConnectCare (formerly GCASA), NYS Senior Action Council, the Orleans County mental Health Department, Fidelis and Healthy Families (serving Orleans and Niagara counties).

Participants received t-shirts with a quote, “May the Fourth be with your Mental Health.”

Jami Allport, GOMOC director, said the agency wanted a local event as part of May as mental Health Awareness Month.

Pattie Beadle brought two llamas for the event. Beadle is a therapist with the Orleans County mental Health Department. She also has been showing llamas for about 30 years. She noticed at llama shows the animals have a calming effect on visitors.

She is working to have the llamas be certified as therapy animals.

Beadle is shown with “Slick.” Her other llama “Oscar” is in back.

“When people touch a llama, a calm comes over them,” she said.

These people start the walk for mental health. There were several signs about mental health myths and facts posted along the trail.

This sign said the following:

Myth: Children don’t experience mental health problems.

Fact: Even very young children may show warning signs of mental health concerns. Early support can help a child before mental problems interfere with other developmental needs.

Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.

Fact: The majority of people with mental health problems are not or likely to be more violent than anyone else. In fact, many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of their communities.

Your Care, Your Choice: Empowering Patients in Healthcare Decision-Making

Posted 1 May 2024 at 3:00 pm

Provided by Orleans Community Health

In today’s rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, patients are active participants in determining what’s best for their own health. Central to this is the fact that patients have the ability to seek out the care they want, wherever they want it. This message centers around the essence of empowering the patient with information, rather than making the determination for them. With an array of convenient options at their disposal, patients now wield unprecedented control over their healthcare decisions.

There was a time when primary care physicians and the local hospital may have been the only place to receive medical care. Today, there are endless options and informational hubs. Telemedicine, urgent cares, walk-in clinics, and even online searches can provide information that patients previously lacked access to.

However, among the plethora of choices, navigating the healthcare system can be overwhelming for many patients. The abundance of options, coupled with varying levels of quality and affordability, underscores the importance of informed decision-making. Healthcare providers play a crucial role in guiding patients through this decision-making process, offering valuable insights and recommendations tailored to individual needs and preferences. While challenges still exist in our rural communities, efforts are constantly underway to remove those standing barriers. On occasion, these barriers are a product of perceptions versus realities. These barriers can be overcome simply by patients asking additional questions about where treatment might be available closer to home.

Today, patients are empowered to make several decisions about their health with the guidance of others. Specifically, here are some examples of decisions you, the patient, may have to make:

1. Choice of Healthcare Provider: Patients have the freedom to select their healthcare providers based on factors such as reputation, expertise, location, and personal preferences. Whether choosing a primary care physician, specialist, or alternative healthcare practitioner, patients can explore their options and make informed decisions about who will oversee their care.

2. Treatment Options: Patients have the right to participate in decisions about their treatment plans. Healthcare providers should educate patients about available treatment options, empowering them to make choices that align with their health goals.

3. Informed Consent: Before undergoing any medical procedure or intervention, patients have the right to receive comprehensive information about the proposed treatment, including its purpose, potential risks, alternatives, and expected outcomes. Informed consent ensures that patients fully understand the implications of their healthcare decisions and can provide consent voluntarily, based on their understanding and preferences.

4. Healthcare Settings: Patients can choose where they want to receive medical care, whether it’s a traditional hospital, outpatient clinic, urgent care center, or telemedicine platform. The availability of diverse healthcare settings allows patients to access care that is convenient and cost-effective.

5. Lifestyle Choices: Patients play a significant role in promoting their own health and well-being through lifestyle choices. This includes decisions related to diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management. By adopting healthy habits and adhering to recommended preventive measures, patients can proactively reduce their risk of developing chronic conditions and improve their overall quality of life.

At the heart of patient empowerment lies the principle of patient-centered care, which places the individual at the forefront of the healthcare experience. Patient-centered care prioritizes the unique needs, preferences, and values of each patient, recognizing that no two individuals are alike. By embracing diversity, equity, and inclusivity, healthcare providers can create a supportive and inclusive environment where patients feel heard, respected, and empowered to take an active role in their health.

Recognizing that health is influenced by social, economic, and environmental factors, healthcare providers are increasingly adopting a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of illness and promotes overall wellness. This includes initiatives such as preventive care, health education, and community outreach programs aimed at empowering patients to make healthier lifestyle choices and take control of their health.

In the end, you should be able to receive the care you want in a setting that is both comfortable and convenient for you. With several health systems available in Western New York, you have a variety of options where you might want to receive care. Moreover, you don’t need to stick to that system for all of your care. Just because you receive primary care services from one place, doesn’t mean you can’t receive laboratory/blood draws, imaging, or specialty services from another. Where you receive care, is your choice. The results of all of these tests and/or procedures will be available to you and your original physical/provider. By fostering open communication, shared decision-making, and a holistic approach to care, healthcare providers can empower patients to make informed choices that promote their well-being and enhance the overall quality of care.

GO Health advises not to touch wildlife, including baby animals

Posted 1 May 2024 at 11:14 am

Health Department investigated 137 animal bite and rabies incidents in Orleans last year

Press Release, Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments

With the arrival of spring, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health) are encouraging residents not to touch wildlife – including baby animals.

Touching wildlife disrupts their natural behavior as well as poses risks to both human safety and animal welfare. During the spring months, many baby animals are born, and it can be common to encounter these animals. However, it is important to remember that wild animals should be left alone.

Baby animals, while cute and seemingly harmless, can carry diseases such as rabies. Rabies, a viral infection, is spread by direct contact with saliva through cuts on the skin or mucous membranes of the mouth, nose or eyes. Rabies is mostly seen in wildlife, including raccoons, bats, and skunks. It is essential to remember to keep a safe distance and admire wildlife and stray animals from afar.

In 2023, Genesee County investigated 191 animal bite and rabies incidents, and Orleans County investigated 137. Genesee County submitted 31 animal specimens, and 1 tested positive for rabies. Orleans County submitted 20 specimens, and 1 tested positive for rabies. Both positive tests were raccoons.

“If you come in contact with animals, including baby animals and strays, avoid touching them and call animal control. If you handle a wild or a stray animal, or are bitten by one, immediately call the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments,” stated Darren Brodie, Environmental Health Director for GO Health. “In the event that you are bitten by an animal, you should clean the wound with soap and water and get medical help right away.”

GO Health recommends the following guidance when encountering wildlife or stray animals:

  • Observe from a distance and avoid contact – Love your own, leave the rest alone. Observing wildlife from a distance decreases the risk of disease transmission. By avoiding physical contact, you are keeping yourself, your family, and your pets safe.
  • Report concerns – If you come in contact with a wild or stray animal, touch a wild or stray animal, or are bitten by a wild or stray animal, immediately seek medical attention and contact the Genesee or Orleans County Health Departments. If you encounter distressed wildlife, or wildlife is showing signs of rabies, immediately contact your local animal control agency. Signs of rabies in an animal may include aggression, excessive drool or saliva, confusion, hair loss, and loss of movement or function.

Residents are encouraged to take note of our upcoming drive-thru rabies vaccination clinics for dogs, cats, and ferrets in Genesee and Orleans Counties that are offered at no charge.

Orleans County Rabies Clinics at the Orleans County Fairgrounds (12690 State Route 31, Albion, NY 14411)

  • Wednesday, June 5, from 4 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 10, from 9 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 19, from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

Genesee County Rabies Clinics at the Genesee County Fairgrounds (5056 East Main Street, Batavia, NY 14020)

  • Thursday, May 16, from 4 to 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 8, from 4 to 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 10, from 4 to 6 p.m.

For more information on GO Health’s programs and services, visit

Why choose a Family Nurse Practitioner?

Posted 30 April 2024 at 2:00 pm

By Mary Richards, FNP, Oak Orchard Health at Warsaw

When it comes to your health, you have choices. Choices as to who will be your primary care provider. At which location? With what specialty? And what support services, if any?

More often you will see Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) as one of those options and they are a great choice, especially at Oak Orchard Health.

What is a Family Nurse Practitioner?

An FNP is a nurse practitioner who specializes in family medicine, treating people of all ages. They have a master’s degree in nursing which consists of 6+ years of education from starting as an RN to completing an FNP program. I chose to focus on family medicine because I wanted to have long-lasting relationships with my patients. I worked as a Registered Nurse for many years before returning to complete a Master’s degree. FNPs must have board certification to practice.

I have been a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) for 25 years and work at Oak Orchard’s Warsaw location. Nurse practitioners are at all our health centers. Before becoming an FNP, I was an RN at a local hospital in the intensive care unit where I had a good connection with patients. I often found that patients had a lot of trust in nurses and developed good relationships. Many times patients were hospitalized for illnesses that could be prevented. These situations motivated me to do more for patients and family medicine was the answer.

Family nurse practitioners fit right in with our community health center.

FNPs can care for your entire family – from newborns to seniors. That fits right in with our core values at Oak Orchard Health – we care for everyone. Our focus is on people of all ages, no matter what their insurance status is. And we have medical providers that could work anywhere but choose a community health center.

Treating the whole family has many benefits. Understanding family dynamics can often be helpful when caring for people across the lifespans. For instance, if parents are having a hard time, then it stands to reason that their children may too. Understanding those connections helps me treat everyone. It’s a holistic approach to medicine. I enjoy caring for the pediatric patients of parents I cared for in childhood.

A team approach to care at Oak Orchard Health

As a Family Nurse Practitioner, I am part of a team with MDs, RNs, LPNs, MAs, Care Managers, therapists, and front-end staff to name a few. We are focused on achieving the best patient care goals whether it’s preventive measures or providing solutions for various diseases. Our care managers and therapists are here for a mental health crisis. We have a telehealth service with specialists within and outside our area. You do not have to leave our health center or your home to engage with these enhanced services. We strive to make it easier for patients to access healthcare.

And my team helps make it easier for me to provide the best care to our patients. I count on every member of my team to help deliver high-quality, individualized care for our patients. Our team approach also helps us develop medical solutions that fit our patient’s needs. Working in rural areas, we understand that there are barriers to care such as transportation, food insecurity, housing issues, and health insurance. At Oak Orchard Health, we have that covered. The team here can make those barriers less of a hurdle.

Caring for people across the lifespan

Family Nurse Practitioners care for all ages. Given their nursing backgrounds, they often already have experience listening to and educating patients.  A big plus! Being sensitive, responding to their needs, and educating them to help them stay healthy. Customizing programs that fit their lifestyle is key with my patients.

Looking for a primary care provider?

If you need a primary care provider, call Oak Orchard Health and see which provider is right for you. Visit our website to find out more. and give us a call at (585) 589-5613.

OCH seeks to recognize veterans with display at hospital

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 30 April 2024 at 7:25 am

MEDINA – Orleans Community Health is asking the community to join with them in paying tribute to local veterans.

A year and a half ago, the hospital formed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee to do internal education, and decided to include the community.

In March, to celebrate Women’s History Month, they created a wall of honor in the hospital lobby, where anyone from the hospital or in the community could write the name of a special woman on a slip of paper and post it on a wall of windows.

“For everyone who walked in the lobby, that was the first thing they saw,” said Scott Robinson, director of Marketing, Communication and Outreach at Community Partners. “Chances are, everyone who comes into a hospital is not in the best mood, and this is a chance to brighten their day and showcase people who deserve to be highlighted.”

For the next month, the public is asked to write down the name of a late veteran, with a picture if possible, who deserves to be remembered.

“The intention behind this display is to sincerely honor the memory of friends, family and others who have served the nation and are no longer with us,” Robinson said. “That said, we also want to ensure that no one is overlooked or forgotten. We have a deep admiration for anyone who has served or is currently serving our country in the Armed Forces, and we’ll be working on a future display that honors all veterans and those in active duty.”

Names and photos can be sent to Kristin Grose at or brought to her at the hospital.