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Albion healthcare clinic adds occupational services

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Orleans Community Health is now offering occupational therapy at its Albion site. Paul Graupman, occupational therapist, is working with Mary Stack of Medina to regain mobility in her fingers after breaking her wrist.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 19 February 2019 at 8:19 am

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.

Nancy Fallon, director of Rehabilitation Services at Orleans Community Health; Paul Graupman, occupational therapist; and Allyn Christopher, certified occupational therapist assistant, discuss the new occupational therapy service now being offered at the Albion Walk-in Healthcare Center.

“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.

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Flu is on the rise locally with 84 confirmed cases in Orleans since September

Posted 15 February 2019 at 4:50 pm

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).

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Teddy Bear Clinic helps kids feel more comfortable with hospital

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 February 2019 at 9:32 am

Photos contributed

MEDINA –  Albion Elementary School children recently attended the Teddy Bear and Doll Clinic at Medina Memorial Hospital. They visited the nurses’ station, where nurse manager Mary Dunham (pictured) patched up their dolls and Teddy Bears with splints and Band-Aids.

The hospital welcomes kindergarteners for the Teddy Bear and Doll Clinic. The students are urged to bring in a stuffed animal or doll that could be bandaged with pretend injuries. The hospital hopes the event will help children to feel more comfortable if they ever need to go to the hospital.

Kate Brauen, pharmacist at Medina Memorial Hospital, greeted children from Albion Elementary School during the Teddy Bear and Doll Clinic. The children learned medication safety and what a pharmacist does.

Students were also served a healthy snack during the Teddy Bear and Doll Clinic. Children taste tested some new foods and learned about healthy eating.

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Oak Orchard Health receives $456K grant for alternative pain therapy

Posted 7 February 2019 at 5:29 pm

 Program will help address opioid crisis in community

Press Release, Oak Orchard Health

BROCKPORT – Oak Orchard Health has been awarded $456,953 by the Finger Lakes Performing Provider System in response to a proposal submitted to the FLPPS System Transformation Fund.

The funding request was made to create a program that offers non-opioid pain therapy options for their patients. While patients will be educated on effective alternative pain treatments, this program will help address the opioid crisis in the community.

OOH provides a model of care that integrates patient-centered primary care, behavioral health, dental and vision services – treating the whole patient and focusing on wellness and prevention.

OOH believes that the alternative pain therapy program can help to prevent opioid addition that results from acute or chronic pain and they plan to provide convenient alternatives to treat and manage pain, some of which might include osteopathy, music therapy and massage therapy.

“The intent is to not only reduce hospitalizations and higher cost treatments for pain management and possible complications, but also to mitigate loss of life and mental wellness complications related to opioid addiction, an unintended consequence of opioid prescription,” said Mary Ann Pettibon, chief executive officer of Oak Orchard Health.

The organization has healthcare sites in Albion, Lyndonville, Brockport, Warsaw and Hornell. Staff will begin planning for the program immediately.

“This program presents patients the opportunity to take advantage of wellness options and alternative methods to manage symptoms – working together with their health care providers and therapists as a team,” Pettibon said.

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GCASA awarded $4.7 million state grant for residential program for women and their children

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 February 2019 at 12:01 pm

The Genesee-Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse has been awarded a state grant for $4,672,255 to construct a new 25-bed intensive residential substance use disorder treatment program for women and their children.

The grant is among $204 million in state funding to support 95 projects that will protect and transform New York State’s health care system, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

This funding from the Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program will improve patient care through the development of high-quality medical facilities and programs serving the inpatient, primary care, mental health, substance use disorder and long-term care needs of communities throughout the State.

“While the federal administration has spent two years working to roll back healthcare access, we are investing more than ever in programs and facilities to ensure New Yorkers get the high-quality services they need,” Governor Cuomo said. “These investments in cutting-edge infrastructure will expand 21st century healthcare options in every corner of the state and improve the health and wellbeing of families for decades to come.”

The funding was awarded under the Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program, which was enacted as part of the FY 2018 Budget. These awards continue the state’s commitment to preserve and expand essential healthcare services in communities throughout New York State.

In addition, the Governor’s 2019-20 Executive Budget will authorize the Department of Health to allocate up to $300 million of the $525 million in Health Care Facility Transformation Funds authorized in the 2018-19 Enacted Budget to support project applications from health care providers that were not awarded grants during this round of funding.

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County’s Public Health director testifies in Albany, sharing concerns about state funding

Posted 6 February 2019 at 1:38 pm

Press Release, Orleans and Genesee County Public Health Departments

Paul Pettit

ALBANY – New York’s county health officials on Tuesday urged Legislative leaders to issue a “call to action” to counter elements of the Governor’s 2019-2020 Executive Budget proposal that significantly underfund local health departments which will be critical partners in implementing new health policies, including legalized recreational marijuana, “Tobacco 21” and an expanded child lead poisoning prevention plan.

The public health officials’ concerns were shared in formal testimony by the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO), presented at the joint Legislative hearing on the health sections of the Executive’s 2019- 2020 budget proposal.

While lauding policy elements of the Governor’s budget plan, including the expanded lead exposure prevention plan and raising the legal tobacco use age to 21, NYSACHO President Paul Pettit told members of the Legislature that the proposal cuts millions from public health, under what is known as Article 6 funding, while significantly increasing the obligations of local health departments. Pettit also is the public health director for Orleans and Genesee counties.

“We’re asking the Legislature to initiate a call to action for a reinvestment of resources into public health and safety infrastructure in New York State through bolstered funding of Article 6. By doing so, you will be demonstrating your commitment to public health preparedness and safety measures aimed to protect residents of New York State,” testified Pettit, who is also the Public Health Director of Genesee and Orleans counties.

Pettit told legislators that local health departments (LHDs) have “reached a tipping point” and require additional resources to adequately maintain core public health services, address emerging threats, and respond to new policies. Specifically, NYSACHO highlighted the following priorities:

  1. Restoration of the proposed cut to State Aid Reimbursement for NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which would reduce the percent of reimbursement above the base grant from 36% to 20%. This cut would strike a severe blow to the core public health services protecting 43% of our state’s citizens.
  2. Allocation of additional resources to Article 6 base grants to ensure crucial public health services can be deployed and sustained.
  3. Consideration of a slow and cautious approach to legalization of an adult-use marijuana program with the interest of public health and mental health at the forefront of decision making by:
  4. Ensuring local health departments receive flexible funding to expand work-force capacity. Protecting public health must be the first major pillar of a regulated marijuana program and must be funded sufficiently to ensure harm reduction.
  5. Guaranteeing local health departments, through NYSACHO, have a seat at the table as regulations and policies are developed.
  6. Support for, and reinforcement of the Executive’s proposal to adopt Tobacco 21 policy statewide and all components of the tobacco control package which will protect millions of New Yorkers from exposure to dangerous tobacco products.
  7. Recognition that unfunded public health policy results in poor policy. Local health departments are committed to supporting and carrying out effective public health policy, but the success of new or expanded policies can only be achieved with investments in Article 6 state aid, or within flexible grant programs to allow for effective implementation at the local level.
  8. Early Intervention: NYSACHO supports the proposed 5% rate increase for targeted service providers. Though it remains to be proven whether or not this rate increase will improve provider capacity, we believe this increase may prevent further erosion of existing capacity. Furthermore, the proposed budget does not yet account for this rate increase in cost to localities.
  9. Lead Poisoning Prevention: NYSACHO supports lead poisoning prevention efforts to lower the actionable blood lead level to 5 ug/dl. However, local health departments must be resourced with sufficient and flexible funding if we are to implement the expanded work this will require on the local level. NYSACHO conceptually supports primary lead poisoning prevention activities, including those such as the Governor’s lead safe housing policy. However, to adopt such a policy without providing the resources local health departments will need for effective implementation would doom the policy to certain failure.

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Orleans United will be presenters at national conference

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 February 2019 at 6:19 pm

Provided photos: Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition meets recently to discuss an upcoming presentation at a national conference. Pictured from left include Dr. Dan Webb, Pat Crowley, Sarah Stendts and Wayne Litchfield.

ALBION – The Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition has been selected to be a presenter at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America 29th National Leadership Forum.

That conference, from Feb. 4 to Feb. 7, is at National Harbor, MD. The forum brings together nearly 3,000 local, state and national experts in the drug prevention and treatment fields.

Pat Crowley, project director for Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition, and Dr. Dan Webb, program evaluator, were selected to be presenters on behalf of Orleans United., Sarah Stendts, Coalition program assistant, and Wayne Litchfield, Visual Data Committee chairman, will also be attending.

The training session – “A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words! Using Infographics in Coalition Work” – is one of more than 70 in-depth training sessions offered at the CADCA Forum.

Crowley noted that coalitions must use as many ways as possible to disseminate their data. The organizations also need to be creative in disseminating data to different target audiences.  In the Orleans United session, the group will demonstrate how Orleans United has used infographics to educate and inform the community in situations where traditional data tables and graphs are inappropriate and/or potentially ineffective.

“We will talk about the basics of infographics, discuss types of infographics and situations in which to use them, and show attendees how to create their own infographic using a popular online service,” Crowley said.

These are some examples of infographics that were created by Orleans United to highlight some of the local survey results from the Prevention Needs Assessment Survey, completed by 1,450 Orleans County youth in 2017.

Litchfield designed many of the posters that present data about teen drug, alcohol and tobacco use in Orleans County. The posters were created using infographic software, Venngage. The posters have been presented at school districts, coalition meetings, community events and on billboards in the county.

The posters highlight the following data:

• In 2017, 82 percent of Orleans County youth did not use alcohol;

• In 2017, 90 percent of Orleans County youth did not use marijuana;

• In 2017, 95 percent of Orleans County youth did not smoke cigarettes;

• In 2017, 98 percent of Orleans County youth did not use prescription drugs (that weren’t prescribed to them);

• Orleans County’s five most important health concerns, according to an adult survey: 65 percent say illicit drug abuse; 40 percent say prescription drug abuse; 40 percent say mental health issues; 33 percent say child abuse/neglect; and 24 percent say alcohol abuse.

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Staff at Medina nursing home ‘Go Red’ for heart health

Staff Reports Posted 1 February 2019 at 1:51 pm

Provided photo

MEDINA – Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center today is taking part in the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women fundraising campaign. Staff members made donations and wore red to support the event.

Pictured in front row from left include: Amy Martin, Sara Marciniak, Carrie Ryan and Brenda Cherry. Back row: Jamie Murphy, Jamie Tucker, Connor Bell, Jenna Doberstein, RoseAnn Velesko, Luann Thompson, Amanda Luckman and Sharon Laskett.

The American Heart Association’s signature women’s initiative, Go Red for Women, increases women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally.

Every 80 seconds a woman dies of heart disease or stroke. Spot a stroke F.A.S.T. – F-Facial drooping, A-Arm weakness, S-Speech difficulty, and T-Time to call 911.

Some heart attack warning signs: Pain or discomfort in chest; lightheadedness, nausea or vomiting; discomfort or pain in arm or shoulder; and shortness of breath.

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Medina Memorial Hospital touts X-ray technology

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 30 January 2019 at 12:41 pm

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Erica Chutko, director of Radiology and Cardiac Services at Medina Memorial Hospital, and radiologist Dr. Dale Sponaugle are shown with the hospital’s 64-slice CT scanner, one of the most advanced in the industry.

MEDINA – Staff of Orleans Community Health are determined to dispel myths that people have to go to the big cities to find the latest advancements in X-ray technology.

Some of the scanning and X-ray equipment at Medina Memorial Hospital are comparable to those found in many bigger hospitals, according to Erica Chutko, director of Radiology and Cardiac services at the hospital.

One of their latest advancements is having digital capability on all X-ray equipment.

“We previously had to take X-rays using film, then wait while the film was developed,” Chutko said. “Now we take an X-ray and the results are available within seconds on a computer.”

Another new service at the hospital is walk-in service 24/7 for general X-ray. There is no need to make an appointment any more, other than for special X-rays.

The hospital is also fortunate to have a highly trained radiologist, Dr. Dale Sponaugle. The doctor graduated from medical school in 1985 at the University of Buffalo; did his internship in general surgery from 1985 to 1987 at the University at Buffalo; did his residency from 1987 to 1991 in diagnostic radiology at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine; did his fellowship from 1991 to 1992 in body MRI at the University at Buffalo; and is board certified by the American Board of Radiology in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

He has been at Orleans Community Health since February 1991.

The department also takes in many student interns, said Cindy Perry, director of Education, Wellness and Marketing at the hospital’s Community Partners.

“Dr. Sponaugle does a lot of educational things with them,” Perry said.

Chutko said they also allow high school students to shadow them for a day to decide if a career in radiology is what they want to do.

Perry reinforced the fact that people sometimes think they have to go to the big cities for their diagnostic testing, when the same opportunities are available right in Medina.

“We have great equipment here,” Chutko said. “Someone can even come in after work at midnight. Our Nuclear Department has taken clients on Saturday when they can’t get here any other time. Our equipment is all state-of-the-art.”

The hospital’s ultimate goal would be to have 3-D mammography, something which is only available now in the big university hospitals.

“We can provide a lot of quality services close to home,” Perry said.

For instance, one of the newest pieces of equipment is a 64-slice CT scanner. The more slices, the more information it provides, Dr. Sponaugle said.

Chutko said Sponaugle is an amazing radiologist.

“He is scary smart,” she said.

Also a benefit to the hospital is the fact the majority of people in the Radiology Department have been there 10 years or more. She has been there 25 years.

Chutko said she practically grew up there. Her mother started as an aide at 16 and worked 30 years in Obstetrics, two years as manager. Her aunt worked almost 35 years in various departments, including two years as manager of the ER.

“We are always up on the latest technology, and we cross train, giving us an edge on other facilities,” Chutko said. “This enables us to offer all our services all the time.”

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Residents urged to complete survey for community health assessment

Posted 25 January 2019 at 4:39 pm

Press Release, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming Health Departments

The Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County Health Departments and Hospitals are currently working with community partners to gather information from residents and those who work in these counties to help with public health planning for the next 3 to 4 years.

The information will inform and guide documents called the Community Health Assessment, Community Health Improvement Plan, and Community Services Plan. This initiative is part of the New York State Prevention Agenda which is the blueprint for state and local action to improve the health of New Yorkers.

To fully assess the health status of our communities we are asking for your input because your health counts! These organizations are asking the public to participate by taking a survey and sharing their viewpoints during community conversations.

An online survey is available, as well as paper copies at various locations in each county. You can access the survey by clicking here.  A Spanish version of the survey will be available soon. Watch the Health Department web sites and Facebook pages for updates.

The survey is anonymous, it only takes about 15 minutes to complete and focuses on the health of the person taking it. If you are under the age of 18 Years old, be sure to receive permission to take the survey from your parents or guardians.

“As chief health strategists the health departments are working toward assessing current capacity, resources, and services,” stated Paul Pettit, Director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “This will also help identify community health needs and current gaps, ultimately helping to develop our Community Health Improvement Plan for the next few years.”

The 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.

To participate in a community conversation, obtain hardcopies of the survey, flyers that promote completing the survey online, or have any questions please contact your local health department:

 Orleans County Health Department at: 589-3278 or check out our website by clicking here.

 Genesee County Health Department at: 344-2580 ext. 5555 or visit their website by clicking here.

 Wyoming County Health Department at: 786-8890 or visit their web site by clicking here.

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