Press Release, Oak Orchard Health
BrOCKPORT – Oak Orchard Health has achieved accreditation for Oak Orchard as a Diabetes Education Accreditation Program.
Oak Orchard Health provides a model of care that integrates patient-centered primary care, behavioral health, dental, vision services and health education – treating the whole patient and focusing on wellness and prevention.
OOH believes that we need to treat patients holistically and educate them on what they need to do to maintain good health. This accreditation comes from the only organization dedicated solely to diabetes education, the American Association of Diabetes Educators.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment and allows OOH to provide diabetes self-management education, which removes barriers to care,” said Dr. Nancy Ciavarri, OOH’s chief medical officer.
Remarked Mary Ann Pettibon, CEO, “Removing barriers to care for our patients is of paramount importance to us at OOH, and we are so delighted that this accreditation will assist us to do just that.”
Erin Goodrich, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, Oak Orchard’s Registered Dietician will oversee the education program. Ms. Goodrich, a native of Albion, received her undergrad degree at Daemen College and then pursued her master’s degree in dietetics at D’Youville College in Buffalo.
“Passionate about bringing more healthcare opportunities to Albion,” said Ms. Goodrich who has been working at OOH for over a year-and-a-half, and received her certification as a Diabetes Educator, which is an interdisciplinary specialty in diabetes education.
HOLLEY – The Orleans County Health Department wants to facilitate TeleMedicine for local school districts, where sick students and possibly even staff could have access to a doctor or nurse practitioner. They would diagnose a health problem and prescribe medication. The diagnosis likely would be sent to a child’s primary care doctor.
Frontier Middle School in Hamburg is the first school in the state to offer the program. Frontier started working with Mobile Health Partners in October. Now, Orleans County health officials want to bring the program to local school districts.
“We’re pretty excited,” said Paul Pettit, the county’s Public Health director. “We’ll be one of the first places in the state to try it.”
Pettit said the county’s access to primary care physicians is one of the worst ratios in the state. In Orleans it’s one primary care doctor for every 13,780 residents. That compares to the state average of 1 primary care doctor for every 1,200 people, and a national average of 1 to 1,326 people.
“We want to improve access to care,” Pettit said. “Right now we have one of the worst accesses to health providers.”
Many parents struggle to get students to doctor’s appointments due to work commitments or transportation issues, he said.
With TeleMedicine, students would go the nurse’s office, where the nurse would check pulse and blood pressure. The nurse would direct a robot that can “see” in ears and in throats. Those images could be seen offsite by a doctor, nurse practitioner or nurse’s assistant.
Holley schools officials discussed the program during the Board of Education meeting on Monday. The district likes the idea. The access to health professionals could help prevent illnesses or limit sicknesses to the early stages. That would improve attendance.
“Ultimately our goal would be to have them not be so ill so they can be in school and learning,” Brian Bartalo, the Holley superintendent, told the Board of Education on Monday.
The program would be grant funded for the start-up costs and the first year, with the services also being billed to insurance companies or Medicaid, Pettit said.
Bartalo said parent permissions would be needed for any student to participate in the program.
Pettit said the permissions or parent consent forms could be sent out during the beginning of next school year.
The Health Department has already met with Holley school leaders about the program, and will be having a meeting with officials from all five school districts in the county. The company and the robot would be available for demonstrations to show schools how it works.
Pettit would like to have the program start in Orleans this fall.
Counties making gains in some areas
Press Release, Public Health Departments in Orleans and Genesee
According to the 2019 County Health Rankings, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, Genesee and Orleans counties rank 42nd and 52nd, respectively, in overall Health Outcomes. The Rankings are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.
“As Chief Health Strategists, we use the County Health Rankings to 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,” stated Paul Pettit, director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “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 include length of life and quality of life, while Health Factors include health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment. Genesee County ranked 42nd out of 62 counties for Health Outcomes and 29th in Health Factors. Orleans County ranked 52nd in Health Outcomes and 54th 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 2019 Rankings, the five healthiest counties in the state, starting with most healthy are Rockland, followed by Nassau, Westchester, Saratoga and New York. The five counties in the poorest health, starting with least healthy are Bronx, Sullivan, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Niagara.
What’s new for 2019? This year’s Rankings explore severe housing cost burden and health. The 2019 Key Findings Report highlights the link between housing and health that the RWJF and the UWPHI are seeing across the nation. As housing costs have outpaced local incomes, many families not only struggle to acquire and maintain adequate shelter, but also face difficult trade-offs in meeting other basic needs.
Did you know increases in the share of households that are severely housing cost burdened are linked to more children in poverty and more people facing food insecurity? New measures this year that help to illustrate how counties are fairing including Severe Housing Cost Burden, Homeownership and Life Expectancy. A new ranked measure included this year is Flu Vaccinations. In addition, an updated data source for the ranked measures of Preventable Hospital Stays and Mammography Screening are being used.
“The County Health Rankings show how Genesee and Orleans Counties rank on factors that influence its overall health ranking,” Pettit said.
For example, Genesee County has an improved Clinical Care ranking, scoring 40 this year as compared to 57 out of 62 counties five years ago. This improvement can be attributed to a lower uninsured population (under age 65) than the NYS average, as well as an increasing number of mental health providers available although still far behind the state average. A similar trend can be found in Orleans County in regards to these two ranked measures.
Additional strengths in Genesee County include a lower percentage of children living in poverty, which is 15% as compared to the state average of 20%. The high school graduation rate in Genesee County (91%) and Orleans County (89%) in 2019 is higher than the state average of 82%.
The rankings of Social Associations, Severe Housing Problems, and Long Commute-Driving Alone are also fairing well in both counties compared to the NYS averages. Orleans County has also improved in the Physical Environment and Health Factors rankings, by 11 points (21st out of 62) and 2 points (54nd out of 62) compared to 2018.
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% / Orleans – 22%), adult obesity (Genesee – 35% / Orleans – 36%), physical inactivity (Genesee –29% / Orleans – 31%), access to exercise opportunities (Genesee – 61% / Orleans – 70%), driving alone to work (Genesee – 84% / Orleans – 80%), and access to clinical care for primary care physicians, dentists and mental health providers.
Orleans County is also ranked as having a higher percentage of children living in poverty (24%) as compared to the state average mentioned earlier.
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 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; the Get Fit! Program, an 8-week family-friendly physical activity and nutrition focused program; a tri-county Opioid Task Force; and decrease smoking/nicotine usage through referrals and increase cancer screenings.
“The Rankings data will be used in conjunction with additional local sources, such as the Community Health Assessment Surveys and Community Conversations that are being collected and occurring now, to develop the 2019-2024 Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Community Health Improvement Plan, which will be submitted to the NYS Department of Health this December,” Pettit said.
The CHA survey is available online in English and Spanish until March 31. Paper copies are also available at various locations in each county. The survey is anonymous and only takes about 15 minutes to complete and focuses on the health of the person taking it. If you are younger than 18, be sure to receive permission to take the survey from your parent(s) or guardian(s).
To access the GOW CHA survey visit.
The GOW Health Departments are also seeking to schedule Community Conversations with willing groups to learn what they feel are the greatest health concerns or issues in their community and thoughts on how they can be improved.
Responses from the confidential surveys and conversations will help identify services that are working, need improving, or to be created. The more members of the public who participate, the larger and stronger the “building block” of these plans will be!
MEDINA – Orleans County’s lone hospital is trying to raise awareness about proposed cuts in Medicaid, which would reduce Medina Memorial Hospital’s revenue by $400,000 the next two years.
For a rural, low-volume hospital those cuts can be devastating, said Larry Knox, political and community engagement coordinator for 1199SEIU, a union for healthcare workers.
“In rural hospitals there is no fat to cut,” he said during a news conference and rally on Friday at Medina Memorial Hospital.
Gov. Cuomo proposed the Medicaid reductions as part of his budget proposal in January. Healthcare workers from throughout the state will be in Albany on Tuesday to send a message to state legislators to restore the $500 million in Medicaid funding for hospitals of all sizes.
“The union and the hospital administration do not always agree on issues but in this case we are in total agreement,” said Amy Stiles, a respiratory therapist at Medina Memorial the past 19 years. “These cuts will assuredly lead to more layoffs which will severely impact safe patient care.”
The hospital is part of Orleans Community Health, which has healthcare sites in Albion, Medina and Batavia.
Mark Cye, OCH chief executive officer, said the Medina Memorial is the only “safety net” hospital in the region.
“Consistent state and federal funding cuts jeopardize the future of hospitals across our state,” Cye said.
Stiles, the respiratory therapist, urged the state to look for cuts elsewhere in a $175 billion state budget.
“The health of our community is at stake,” she said.
Press Release, New York State Association of County Health Officials
ALBANY – Local public health officials today expressed concern that a critically important proposal to better protect children from lead poisoning will be impossible to effectively implement without an appropriate commitment of new flexible state resources.
The proposal, which passed the NYS Assembly and is also contained within the Executive Budget, would lower the acceptable blood lead level in children from 10 to 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood.
Local health officials conservatively estimate that implementing and sustaining the program would increase costs to local health departments by $35 million annually. The Executive Budget proposal allocates just $9.4 million in funding, which is insufficient in both dollar amount and funding structure. Any and all funding for this proposal must be located within the existing Lead Prevention appropriation to allow for nurses and staff to intervene. Without the proper funding structure, local health departments will not be able to hire staff to meet the demands of this policy.
“Lowering the acceptable blood lead threshold is good policy, but it will trigger an avalanche of intervention demands on local health department nurses and staff,” said NYSACHO President Paul Pettit, who also serves as Public Health Director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.
State Health Department data from the three years most recently reported show that nearly 500,000 children under the age of 6 had been screened for lead poisoning. In 2015 alone (the most recent year reported by DOH) 1,800 children tested above 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. These children and their families required services from local health department staff to engage in the clinical and environmental response strategies necessary to protect the entire household from continued lead exposure. Depending on the magnitude of the poisoning sources and required mitigation, these interventions can last days, weeks and even months.
Lowering the limit to 5 micrograms of lead, while sound public health policy, will dramatically increase the number of children and families who would require similar services. Based on the 5-year average incidence (from 2011-2015), if the lower limit is adopted, approximately 18,000 additional children could require services. Local health departments would be unable to respond to an increase of that scale without a commensurate increase in re- sources that can be used to hire staff.
“Effective public health policy requires public health resources,” Pettit said. “We will continue working with our state leaders to craft a final proposal that will deliver on its promise of better protecting our children from lead poisoning.”
Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Public Health Column
The first seven days of March are dedicated to celebrating the world of Weights and Measures. Are you familiar with this? From March 1st to March 7th we commemorate President John Adam’s signing of the first United States weights and measures law on March 2nd, 1799.
Individuals who protect the laws of Weights and Measures have very big responsibilities. “We are responsible for enforcing all applicable laws, regulations, rules, and ordinances prescribed by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets,” stated David Diegelman, Director of Weights and Measures for the Genesee County Health Department.
Weights and Measures officials are responsible for assuring that all commercial weighing and measuring devices throughout the county are tested for compliance and accuracy so that consumers, businesses, and manufactures are protected from unfair practices.
The devices that Weights and Measures focus on includes scales, petroleum pumps, vehicle tank meters, timing devices, linear measuring devices, and calibration of farm bulk milk tanks. Weights and Measures have the jurisdiction to test at any establishment where commodities are being purchased or sold by weight. This includes pharmacies, food stores, delis, supermarkets, hardware stores, and gas stations. Weights and Measures also have the jurisdiction to test at larger industrial locations such as feed and fertilizer businesses, stone quarries, asphalt plants, scrap yards, farms, and food processing and manufacturing facilities.
Orleans and Genesee County Weights and Measures Departments were very busy in 2018. Genesee County did 170 Weights and Measures related inspections and Orleans County had 77 establishments requiring inspections. Genesee County tested and sealed about 600 devices and Orleans County tested and sealed 426 devices. These devices included various scales, petroleum pumps, and timing devices. Genesee County weighed about 500 packages and Orleans County weighed 743 packages to verify the net weight of the contents. In addition, Genesee County submitted 53 petroleum samples and Orleans County submitted 52 petroleum samples from gas stations and wholesale consumers. These were tested to verify the octane or cetane rating of the products.
“Weights and Measures is extremely important. A small weighing or measuring error can accumulate to millions of dollars,” stated Ronald Mannella, Director of Weights and Measures for Orleans County Public Health Department. “Weights and Measures assures that people are getting what they are paying for and assuring the integrity of businesses.”
During the first week of March make sure you take a moment to learn more about what Weights and Measures are, give thanks to the people who assure such accuracy, and look out for the stickers below to see what has been tested by weights and measures.
In 2015, 144 people died from heart disease in Orleans County
Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming Public Health Column
The Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming County Health Departments are encouraging county residents to “Choose Health.” By taking small steps in our day-to-day living and making positive health choices, people have the ability to change their future health for the better.
During an average lifespan, the heart beats more than two billion times. The heart is vital to your health and without it, blood wouldn’t be able to move through your body. February is American Heart Month, a time to remember how important this muscle is and educate ourselves on how to take better care of it since it is the reason we are all still alive.
More people die of cardiovascular diseases than all other causes of death combined
In fact, approximately 610,000 people die in the United States every year from heart disease, making the disease accountable for 1 in every 4 deaths.
In 2015, Genesee County had 201 deaths from cardiovascular disease, Orleans County had 144 deaths, and Wyoming County had 120 deaths. The most common cardiovascular disease is coronary heart disease (CHD), killing an average of 370,000 people every year. This disease occurs when the small blood vessels that carry oxygen and blood to our hearts get very narrow. Coronary heart disease is usually caused by a condition called atherosclerosis, which occurs when fatty material and a substance called plaque builds up on the walls of your arteries.
Plaque is a waxy substance that forms in the artery wall made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances. The buildup forces the arteries to become narrow, slowing down or completely stopping the blood flow to the heart. Narrowing of the arteries can lead to chest pains (stable angina), shortness of breath, or even heart attack.
Heart disease has a close relationship to lifestyle choices. This is why it is so important that you make healthy decisions, participate in physical activity, and eat healthy. The New York State Department of Health recommends people of all ages engage in physical activity for at least 30 minutes on all or most days of the week. If you do not exercise at all, start slow and discuss with your doctor steps you should take to get active and help improve your heart health. This may include going to the gym, getting involved in a sport, or even walking the mall with a friend. You can even break the exercise up and do 10 minutes three times a day building up to 30 minutes a day, if 30 minutes all at once seems to be too overwhelming. By repeating these small changes daily, they are likely to turn into a habit and your heart will thank you for it in the long run.
It is also important when focusing on heart health to pay close attention to nutrition. Poor nutrition can lead to many health problems, including high blood cholesterol levels, obesity, and diabetes. Consuming food high in saturated fat (whole milk, butter, and red meats), trans fats (foods with hydrogenated oils like boxed cookies, crackers, and doughnuts) or sodium (found in many processed foods) can increase your risk of getting heart disease.
To improve you’re eating habits and lower risks of heart disease you can eat more fruits and vegetables, limit processed foods, eat foods high in fiber, reduce your sodium intake and limit trans fats, saturated fats and cholesterol. When choosing to eat meats avoid red meats and go for lean meat instead, these would include meats such as lean ground turkey, fish, and skinless chicken. “Staying on track when it comes to eating healthy can be a difficult thing to do but is extremely necessary to stay healthy and prevent cardiovascular disease,” states Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for Genesee and Orleans Counties.
Although poor nutrition and lack of exercise are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, the single largest risk factor is smoking.
Smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack as nonsmokers are, and are between two and four times more likely to die suddenly from heart disease. This is due to the nicotine in cigarettes raising blood pressure and the carbon monoxide limiting the amount of oxygen that can be carried by your blood. Although you may not smoke, exposure to smoke in the home and workplace has also been shown to increase risk from the second hand smoke. Talk with family members about quitting smoking or discuss designated smoke areas to reduce second hand smoke. The New York State Smoker’s Quitline is a great resource for free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and support services. Call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866- 697-8487) or visit www.nysmokefree.com.
There are also other factors that increase your risk for heart disease. Unfortunately some of those factors may be out of your control. One factor happens to be gender. For example, men in their 40’s have a higher risk of heart disease than women. However, as women get older, their risk increases so that it is almost equal to a man’s risk. Secondly, genetics can play a role in developing heart disease. If someone in your family has had heart disease, especially before age fifty, your own risk increases as you age. It is especially important that precautions are taken and healthy habits are made in order to decrease risk of developing heart disease.
So how do I know if I am having a heart attack? Well, here are some signs:
• Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and then comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or just pain.
• Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. This can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
• Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
• Breaking into a cold sweat
• Palpitation ( feeling like your heart is pounding or beating fast)
It is important to understand that men and women often have different signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Women are more likely to experience the less known symptoms of the jaw and back pain, nausea and vomiting. Unfortunately, many people are unsure of what is happening to their body and wait to seek help instead of going in right away to find out what is wrong.
It is important to learn the signs, but also remember that even if you are not sure if it is a heart attack, to tell a doctor about your symptoms. Just one call to the doctors, explaining your symptoms could save your life. Minutes matter! If you think you are having a heart attack, do not wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1.
ALBION – Orleans Community Health is broadening its healthcare services by offering occupational therapy at its Albion Walk-in Healthcare Center.
Physical therapy is already offered in Albion on an out-patient basis, said Nancy Fallon, director of Occupational Services at Orleans Community Health. Occupational therapy was offered there for a short time a few years ago, but was discontinued when they lost their therapist.
“We want to get awareness out there that we can now offer this service in Albion,” said Allyn Christopher, certified occupational therapist assistant.
Occupational therapy is different from physical therapy, as OT works with issues necessary for day-to-day living, Christopher said.
Occupational therapy works to regain mobility due to muscle injuries, orthopedic issues, sports injuries, amputation and strokes.
Occupational therapy has always been offered at Medina Memorial Hospital, Fallon said. It is beneficial for a variety of orthopedic and neurological conditions, work-related injuries and arthritis.
“There is a definite need for this service, especially for hand therapy,” she said. “We are excited to expand our services and offer have them available close to home.”
The Albion Walk-In Clinic also offers primary care, lab, X-rays and physical therapy. It is located on Route 31 just east of the village.
Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Public Health Column
The flu is wide spread both locally and in New York! In the past few weeks, there have been an increase in the amount of flu cases. According to New York State Communicable Disease Electronic Surveillance System, since Sept. 1 to today, there have been 84 lab confirmed cases of flu in Orleans County, 142 lab confirmed cases of the flu in Genesee County, and from Dec. 8 to Feb. 9, there were 28 lab confirmed cases of the flu in Wyoming County.
According to the New York State Department of Health’s Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report as of Feb. 9, there have been 8,591 lab confirmed cases of the flu state wide. Additionally there is a 23 percent increase of lab confirmed flu cases during the week ending in February 9th in all counties and in NYC. The flu virus spreads from October to May with the majority number of cases occurring in January and February.
“If you have not received your flu vaccination yet there is still time. Getting your flu vaccination from December through March can still help protect you from influenza,” stated Paul Pettit, Director of Genesee and Orleans Health Department.
This vaccine is available locally but it is recommended that you call your medical provider, pharmacist or health department to assure they have a supply of flu vaccines in stock.
“It is recommended that everyone six months and older get vaccinated in order to fight the flu,” Pettit said. “This vaccine will help protect yourself and your loved ones.”
The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages everyone to follow “Take 3” actions to stop the flu from hitting you:
1. Get your flu vaccination. By getting your yearly flu vaccine you can reduce flu illness, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to the flu.
2. Take every day preventative measures to prevent the spread of germs
a. Try to avoid close contact with sick people
b. While sick, practice social distancing (staying home, not going to crowded places, wearing a mask when out)
c. If you are sick, CDC recommends that you stay home 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever reducing medicine
d. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and throw that tissue away. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow making sure your mouth and nose are covered by your sleeve.
e. Wash your hands often with soap and water
f. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
g. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu
3. Ask your doctor about getting antiviral drugs when experiencing the first signs of the flu.
If your symptoms worsen talk with your primary care provider. Take the steps to stay safe. More information about the flu is available at the State Health Department Web Site (click here).