North Country health providers given props for telehealth


(Nexstar DC photo)

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Adirondack Health Institute and the North Country Telehealth Partnership held their annual North Country Telehealth Conference on Wednesday. The conference is a chance to award care providers and groups from around the North Country for their work in using telehealth to improve quality of life for patients.

This year, those awards were given special consideration given the new prevalence of telehealth in getting patients care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The North Country Telehealth Partnership is a collaboration between the Adirondack Health Institute and Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization. They cover 11 counties in increasing access to telehealth.

The Adirondack Health Institute released a full list of 2020 award recipients, as well as excerpts from their nominations.

Recipients include:

  • Planned Parenthood of Greater New York Telehealth Team, 2020 Telehealth Primary Care Innovators
  • An excerpt from their nomination read: “Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, PPGNY has worked tirelessly to ensure our patients and communities can still rely on us for care, and our providers have found innovative ways to make our services more accessible, patient-centered, and sustainable, all while keeping patients and themselves safe.”
  • Darcy Fournier and Tiffany King, The University of Vermont Health Network – Alice Hyde Medical Center, 2020 Telehealth Hospital Innovators
  • An excerpt from their nomination read: “During this implementation, a special segment of our patient population was identified as being special needs. Some of our more rural residents did not have adequate internet service to connect with their provider. Another significant segment of our patients did not own a device. Tiffany and Darcy created a curbside service, whereby these patients can receive the same video service, with our devices, on our campus.”
  • Dr. Neha Golwala, Adirondack Physical Therapy and Fitness, 2020 Telehealth Specialty Care Innovator
  • An excerpt from her nomination read: “The key to her therapeutic approach with me was communication. She called several times to be sure I had a device and that I knew how to use the Zoom app. She sent me an email indicating what I would need for her sessions. And most of all, I received phone calls and emails constantly asking how I was doing on days I wasn’t scheduled. I felt a bond with her during this time period, and she made me feel important.”
  • Dr. Brett Nelson and Frederick Jones, Four Winds Hospitals, 2020 Telehealth Mental Health Innovators
  • An excerpt from Dr. Nelson’s nomination read: “What would typically take months or years, took four days because Dr. Nelson had done all of the research and much of the prep work, and was solution-seeking from the start. It was Dr. Nelson’s vision and leadership that was the driving force. Between March 23rd and June 30th, Dr. Nelson and his colleagues held 2,478 telepsychiatry appointments, serving 893 children and adolescents.”
  • An excerpt from Mr. Jones’ nomination read: “Within days of the program closing its physical doors, Mr. Jones reimagined the partial hospital and intensive outpatient programs and led his team of prescribers, therapists, and nurses to open a virtual group therapy program using the online platform. This required an enormous amount of restructuring, rescheduling, faith in the power of telehealth, and a steadfast belief in his team of professionals.”
  • Sheena Smith, St. Lawrence County Community Services, 2020 Telehealth Mental Health Innovator
  • An excerpt from her nomination read: “Sheena devoted much of her time before the COVID pandemic began to getting us on track for utilizing telehealth simply because the technology would allow for us to help more people who were unable to find the time to attend sessions in the office. This proved to be a wise choice when the pandemic hit as we were already familiar with utilizing this technology. Our clients have responded very well. Our success in utilizing this technology has also driven us to begin using telehealth in our mental health clinics. Sheena is always looking for more ways to help our current and potential clients.”

The institute also gave honorable mentions to the following providers:

  • Dr. Dragos Banu, The University of Vermont Health Network – Alice Hyde Medical Center
  • Dr. John Bennett, CDPHP
  • Kimberly Coolidge, The University of Vermont Health Network – Elizabethtown Community Hospital
  • Christopher Del Vecchio, MVP Health Care
  • Steve Koop-Angelicola, Essex County Health Department, Home Health Unit
  • Traci Ploufe, Mental Health Association of Essex County
  • Linda Spokane, Hudson Headwaters Health Network

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