Health agency will offer new services
SCHUYLER COUNTY—At the Feb. 14, 2011 meeting, the Schuyler County Legislature announced the sale of the county run certified home health agency (CHHA) to Genesee Region Home Care Association, Inc. (GRHC), also known as Lifetime Care.
CHHA, has been the only source for in-home care in Schuyler County since the Schuyler County Hospital closed its services in 2004 and provides a variety of care, including skilled nursing, home health and personal care aides, medical social services, occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy. Deputy Director of Public Health and Patient Services for Schuyler County, Marcia Kasprzyk, explained that the case load for last year was 450 new patients, causing a strain on the facility to remain staffed at the necessary levels. She is pleased about the new services GRHC will be able to provide such as a diabetic educator, a cardiac care team and a wound care specialist, just to name a few.
GRHC, a section of Lifetime Healthcare Companies, is a not-for-profit organization based out of Rochester, N.Y. It currently provides home health care in Seneca, Wayne, and Livingston Counties and is in the process of starting to serve Ontario County. Helen McDermott, public relations for GRHC, says this cross county service offers better service to the patients by allowing more flexibility in routing the healthcare providers.
One service McDermott will bring into the area is telemedicine (telemed). Telemed is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another by way of electronic communications to improve patients’ health status. The telemed unit would be installed in the patients’ home and would constantly monitor the patient. The information would be transmitted to the Rochester office and monitored by a team dedicated to the process. McDermott explains that this is particularly helpful in a patient with, for example, congestive heart failure or someone who has just suffered a stroke or heart attack.
According to County Administrator, Tim O’Hearn, the transfer process will take approximately a year to complete. The New York Department of Health must approve each step. During this time GRHC will start to provide assistance in recruitment, training and compliance. To the patient, O’Hearn assures, the transition will be seamless.