The Columbia County Community Healthcare Consortium, Inc. (“the Healthcare Consortium”) is a not-for-profit corporation established in 1998 to create a network of health and human service providers serving the rural community in and around Columbia County. It is governed by a multidisciplinary Board of Directors, which includes representatives from county government, county public agencies, our local hospital and its network of providers, the mental health, substance abuse, and disabled populations, the clergy, business interests and healthcare providers and consumers. The agency has an annual operating budget of approximately $1.3 million, employs roughly 35 full and part-time staff, and manages several NYS Department of Health and private foundation contracts.
The Healthcare Consortium’s central mission is to increase access to quality healthcare through collaboration, education, information and service delivery. In order to advance this mission, the Consortium provides a number of programs and services, all of which are informed by the following values: Access to quality health care is a fundamental right of every individual; improving the health of our community occurs through the partnership of health, social service, all levels of government, and wellness organizations; individuals are primarily responsible for their own health care decisions and require information and education to fulfill their role effectively; and, collaboration and provision of preventive and wellness services has long term efficiencies.
Since its inception, the Consortium has gained extensive experience with program planning, administration and delivery. Highlights from the Consortium’s current portfolio of direct service include, but are not limited to, our Children and Adults Rural Transportation Service, which provides non-emergency medical transportation; our Navigator Program which provides assistance to individuals and families enrolling in health insurance programs on the exchange; our Prescription Access and Referral Program, which facilitates access to low or no –cost prescription medications; our Cancer Services Program, which provides cancer screening and diagnostic services to the uninsured and underinsured; and, NYConnects, an information and referral service for individuals and families with long-term care needs.
Additionally, the Consortium has and continues to be involved in activities that address health and well-being at the community-level through policy and structural change. This work has included our Kids in Motion Childhood Obesity Prevention Project, which promoted good nutrition and physical activity among school-aged youth, and the Rip Van Winkle Tobacco-Free Action Project, which aims to limit tobacco advertising and availability. Throughout these programs, the agency employs evidence-based models of education and intervention, and strives to evaluate program performance using both process and outcome measures. Furthermore, we conduct extensive advocacy, outreach and public communications activities, including paid and earned media, as part of each program.
Beyond the provision of services at the individual and household levels, and our extensive policy and advocacy work at the community level, the Healthcare Consortium has a long history of successfully facilitating collaborations among stakeholders with the aim of improving health and human service delivery by reducing redundancy, achieving efficiencies, and filling gaps. In this work, we often play the “dirty smelly scout” who identifies priority health issues, barriers to healthcare access, and unmet community needs. We advance the discourse around these issues, and design, promote and often initiate programs to address them—always in close working partnerships with other health and human service providers, including our local hospital and its network of providers, our county’s public agencies, governmental bodies from the village to state level, numerous community-based organizations, and schools. Highlights from the Consortium’s rich history of initiating and leading programs in partnership with other stakeholders include the Columbia-Greene Diabetes Coalition, the Children’s Dental Health Partnership, and the Partnership for Palliative Care. Importantly, many of these programs have since been shifted to and absorbed by our county’s public agencies or other community-based organizations, where they have found a permanent home.
TIMELINE of SIGNIFICANT MILESTONES AND ACHIEVEMENTS
The New York State Deparment of Health awards the Healthcare Consortium a contract to serve as In-Person Assistors/Navigators for Columbia and Greene Counties.
The Foundation for Community Health, based in Sharon, CT, awards the Consortium a grant to administer the Children’s Mental Health Services Project in the Taconic Hills (Columbia County) school district.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awards the Consortium a one-year planning grant to explore the feasibility of establishing a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in or around Hudson.
Berkshire-Taconic Foundation helps fund Assuring Your Wishes, an on-line program that allows individuals to record and store their health care proxy in a secure environment on-line for easy retrieval by health care professionals if needed.
The Healthcare Consortium begins coordination of NY Connects, Columbia County, an information and referral service for individuals with long term care needs.
The Healthcare Consortium partners with Columbia Memorial Hospital to bring mobile dental services to children and adults in Greene County.
The Healthy People Partnership transitions into the Cancer Services Program of Columbia and Greene.
The Healthy People Partnership combines the Breast And Cervical Cancer Screening program (Healthy Women Partnership) and the more recent Colorectal Cancer Screening program into one cancer services program serving both Columbia and Greene Counties.
The Cancer Support Program is expanded to include separate emphasis for serving two diverse groups in Columbia and Greene Counties: children and adults.
The Healthcare Consortium is awarded the first New York State grant for Colorectal Cancer Screening and Education for Columbia and Greene counties.
The Healthcare Consortium is awarded a second Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Education grant.
The Healthcare Consortium becomes coordinator for Long-Term Care Insurance Education and Outreach.
The Healthcare Consortium adds the Prescription Access and Referral Program for eligible Columbia County residents. The Program later expands to serve residents of Greene and Northern Dutchess Counties as well.
The Healthcare Consortium is awarded a 3-year grant from the NYS Nutrition Consortium to help identify and assist eligible individuals and families in Columbia and Greene enroll for Food Stamp Benefits.
The Healthcare Consortium is awarded 2 grants from NYSDOH Bureau of Chronic Diseases: Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Cancer Support Services to residents of the twin counties.
The Facilitated Enrollment Program began assisting residents in the twin counties to enroll in Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus and Medicaid. This program was ultimatley renamed “Covering the Uninsured.”
The Columbia-Greene Diabetes Coalition becomes the local chapter of the Greater Capital Region Coalition for Diabetes Prevention and Control with The Healthcare Consortium as coordinating agency.
The Mobile Health Partnership is created forged by a collaboration of providers and health services agencies.
The Healthcare Consortium is named coordinating and fiscal agent for the Columbia County Healthy Women Partnership. Free breast and cervical exams are avaialable to qualifying women.
Rip Van Winkle Tobacco-Free Coalition is born when NYSDOH awards funding to The Healthcare Consortium .
Received the first of 3 grants to start The Children’s Dental Health Partnership.
C.A.R.T.S. passes the 50,000-miles-traveled milestone–in only 1-1/2 years!.
The Healthcare Consortium begins operating the C.A.R.T.S. Medical Transportation Service to provide service to Columbia County residents with barriers to transportation.
The Columbia County Health Services Directory was mailed to over 30,000 households.
The Columbia County Community Healthcare Consortium was formed.
A rural health network development grant was awarded to Columbia Memorial Hospital as lead agent.