Creating a Healthier Adirondack Region Together

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Adirondack Health Institute is an independent, non-profit organization supporting hospitals, physician practices, behavioral health providers, community-based organizations, patients and others in our region to transform health care and improve population health.

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« December 2018 » loading...


AHI’s Evansky Featured in Opioid Epidemic Webinar

AHI Project Manager Rebecca Evansky was a featured speaker in a webinar, Rural Networks: Making a Difference in the Opioid Epidemic, recorded on National Rural Health Day, November 15. Facilitated by Karen Madden of the New York State Office of Rural Health, the webinar showcases how small rural networks are innovating and collaborating with their communities to address the opioid crisis.

Watch the webinar.

AHI Announces 2018 Rural Health Champions

In recognition of National Rural Health Day, November 15, Adirondack Health Institute (AHI) is pleased to announce four individuals have been recognized as 2018 Rural Health Champions. The annual recognition is a collaborative effort of four of the North Country’s Rural Health Networks, including the Adirondack Rural Health Network (ARHN), a program of AHI supported with funds from the NYS Department of Health Charles D. Cook Office of Rural Health. Each year since 2015, the Rural Health Networks in Northern New York ask their network partners to nominate individuals who exemplify the selfless, community-minded, can-do spirit that prevails in rural America.

2018 Rural Health Champions:

Chaplain R.W. Williams, Mountain Valley Hospice and the Nancy Dowd Hospice Home (pictured second from right above), is the 2018 Rural Health Community Champion of the Year. “R.W. is a health care worker who is so much a part of the community’s fabric that I think we sometimes forget about the versatile care he provides,” stated nominator Kara Travis, President/CEO, Mountain Valley Hospice, “and the fact that he has been with (Mountain Valley) Hospice for 30 years out of the 50 he’s been traveling the byroads is a feat in and of itself.”

Paul F. Bachman, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Hudson Headwaters Health Network (pictured second from left above), is the 2018 Rural Health Leadership Champion of the Year. “Paul has been a role model and standard bearer for many providers at HHHN. I have always been impressed with his enthusiasm for medicine and his commitment to his patients. Witnessing his work pushes me to do a better job,” shared colleague Suzanne Blood, MD, Chief of Palliative Care and Geriatrics, Hudson Headwaters Health Network. In relating Dr. Bachman’s numerous volunteer activities, nominator Jessie Riley, Creative Director, Hudson Headwaters Health Network, added, “In 2000, he served as a volunteer physician and medical missionary with his family at the Kijabe Medical Center in Kenya. For the last ten years, he has also been a volunteer with the Glens Falls Medical Mission Foundation, working as a physician in Guatemala.”

Kathy Jo McIntyre, Assistant Director, Washington County Public Health (pictured third from left above), is the 2018 Rural Public Health Champion of the Year. “The knowledge and experience she brings to the table are invaluable. She goes above and beyond to ensure that best practices are the driving force behind all programs,” said nominator Vicky Campbell, Salem Rescue Squad. “Kathy Jo truly has a zest and deep concern for the well-being of all community members. Her dedication and commitment have changed the shape of rural health care in Washington County. She is a shining star!”

Tammy Merendo, Program Director of Community Health and HealthLink Services, Nathan Littauer Hospital & Nursing Home (pictured third from right above), is the 2018 Rural Health Hospital Champion of the Year. “Tireless. Imaginative. Driven. A woman with a mission – health. An advocate for the poor, unwell and disenfranchised,” stated nominator Cheryl McGrattan, Vice President, Marketing/Public Relations/Community Relations, Nathan Littauer Hospital & Nursing Home. “Tammy recognizes a need in our region and responds with fun, relevant clinically-based programming. Tammy is not only a model employee, but she is also making the state a healthier place.”

“Rural regions have distinctive health care needs that require those who provide care and community support services to possess unique abilities, drive, and dedication,” said Eric Burton, CEO, Adirondack Health Institute. “Each of our honorees shares the common attribute of being recognized leaders in the facilitation of exceptional health care services in their respective communities and all four are highly-deserving of this accolade.”

Created by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), National Rural Health Day showcases the work being done to address the unique health care needs of rural communities. For more information, please visit

The Adirondack Rural Health Network (ARHN) is a multi-stakeholder, regional coalition that informs on planning assessment, provides education and training to further the NYS DOH Prevention Agenda, and offers other resources that support the development of the regional health care system. The program includes members from New York’s Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Warren, and Washington counties. For more information, please visit

Innovative Resource Navigation and Referral Coordination Network, ADK Wellness Connections, Launches

Adirondack Health Institute (AHI), in collaboration with numerous community, social service, public sector, and health care provider organizations, has launched ADK Wellness Connections, a powerful, centrally-connected resource navigation and referral coordination network. ADK Wellness Connections aims to improve access to care and services to address unmet social and health-related needs for individuals and families in the greater Adirondack region. ADK Wellness Connections is part of a larger effort to increase collaboration and interoperability between clinical and social service providers, under the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program. A five-year program beginning in 2015, DSRIP was intended to transform care delivery to individuals who receive Medicaid with the goals of reducing avoidable hospital use, increasing access to primary and preventative care, and improving population health outcomes. Addressing social factors that impact health outcomes, such as housing, transportation, and access to nutritious food, has proven to be a key consideration in DSRIP initiatives.

ADK Wellness Connections utilizes Unite Us, a secure, HIPAA-compliant software platform, to support referral coordination, resource navigation, and the collection of social determinants of health outcomes data among network partners in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Saratoga, St. Lawrence, Warren, and Washington counties. Network provider partners, from food pantry staff to hospital personnel, can communicate more effectively and efficiently around the care of a shared client, making it easier for that individual to get connected to what they need, when they need it.

“This new platform promises to be a real game-changer for our region, giving clinical and non-clinical service providers the ability to collaborate and share information in a much more coordinated, accountable, efficient manner,” stated Eric Burton, CEO, Adirondack Health Institute. “If we are going to truly address the social determinants of health and improve outcomes, a robust network of this sort will play a vital role in our success.”

ADK Wellness Connections’ network model allows for direct provider-to-provider referrals, while also offering referral facilitation through three regional Coordination Centers. Coordination Centers are assigned a service area to cover and are run by local community-based organizations familiar with the resources and services available in their designated region. Each Coordination Center is responsible for coordinating referrals that come from both network partners and individual community members. Community members can request assistance with connecting to service providers through a self-referral process on the ADK Wellness Connections website, or they can utilize the network’s resource locator to find services in their area. While a primary goal of the network is to increase access and improve health outcomes for individuals who receive Medicaid or are uninsured, there are no restrictions on who can receive referral coordination services within the network.

“ADK Wellness Connections links individuals in our region to services across a full continuum of care, addressing both social and medical needs,” said Jessica Chanese, Community Engagement Manager, Adirondack Health Institute. “It will make it easier for community members to access what they need to keep themselves and their families healthy. AHI and its partners are excited to bring this invaluable resource to our region.”

In addition, AHI is partnering with neighboring Performing Provider System (PPS), the Alliance for Better Health, to link their Unite Us-based network, Healthy Together, with ADK Wellness Connections. The Alliance for Better Health currently serves Albany, Fulton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady counties, expanding the combined network reach to a 13-county region. “The community referral network created by the collaboration between ADK Wellness Connections and Healthy Together allows network providers and individuals seeking services to have full access to both networks’ resources,” explained Kristen Scholl, Vice President, Population Health Programs, Alliance for Better Health. “This partnership will improve continuity of care and create a better user experience for both network providers and the population we serve.”

For more information, visit

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