Fulton County agencies awarded nearly $550,000 to enhance Medicaid

Michael Countryman, executive director, of the Family Counseling Center of Fulton County, second from right, receives an innovation/transformation fund check from Nancy Gildersleeve, executive director – Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment operations and Fulton Population Health Network, Adirondack Health Institute. They are joined by Geoffrey Peck, vice president of Population Health, Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home, and executive director of Nathan Littauer Foundation, and Kelly Owens, manager, Workforce and DSRIP operations. (Photo submitted)

GLOVERSVILLE –Nearly $550,000 in health grants have been awarded to Fulton County agencies to enhance the use of Medicaid dollars.

The Adirondack Health Institute will dispense the state money to the Family Counseling Center of Fulton County and Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home “to undertake innovative and transformative health care projects,” according to an AHI news release.

More than $456,000 will be given to the two agencies to hire staff who will guide Medicaid recipients in appropriate directions in the health care system in Fulton and Hamilton counties, $18,000 will go to the FCC to cover transportation costs for clients, and $11,000 will make renovations to transform FCC space into two primary care rooms, according Phil Kahn, an AHI spokesman.

The $81,000 transportation portion of FCC’s funding will be used to purchase taxi cab vouchers, bus tokens, and gas gift cards for clients. Funding will also be used to pay for minor car repairs for individuals to get to such destinations as health care appointments, job interviews, school meetings, pharmacies to pick up prescriptions, and the grocery store.

The organization is also dispersing these resources to collaborators at Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home, Planned Parenthood, the Community Health Center, HFM Prevention Council and the Mental Health Association of Fulton and Montgomery Counties to share with their clients.

“One of the largest deterrents to health care in our region is transportation. Fulton County is a very rural community with a limited transportation network and many of our residents are unable to get to their health care appointments and other important destinations,” said Michael Countryman, FCC executive director.

“We anticipate distributing 3,100 taxi cab vouchers, more than 3,700 bus tokens, and more than 600 gas cards over two years to individuals who have an identified transportation barrier that relate to a health care need. It is expected that in bridging the gap in transportation resources, that recipients would be able to get to their appointments, pick up medications at the pharmacy, and take care of other needs that, left unmet, would otherwise result in a further decline in one’s wellness.”

The funds are awarded under a state program called Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment. “Each of the awarded innovation and transformation projects in the Fulton County area align with the overarching DSRIP goal of improving population health and creating an integrated delivery system,” said Eric Burton, AHI CEO. “Findings and lessons learned from Fulton County region initiatives will be shared across the AHI service area so that successes can be replicated in other regions. It is anticipated that these innovation and transformation fund projects will substantially improve population health in their respective communities, as well as create a blueprint for innovation and transformation across the entire AHI service area,” said Burton.

DSRIP is the main mechanism by which New York State implements the Medicaid Redesign Team Waiver Amendment. DSRIP’s purpose is to fundamentally restructure the health care delivery system by reinvesting in the Medicaid program, with the primary goal of reducing avoidable hospital use by 25 percent over five years. For more information, visit www.health.ny.gov/health–care/medicaid/design/dsrip.