EHS Spreading Health and Wellness

 EHS Spreading Health and Wellness

By Dan Guarino

What is Population Health? According to Episcopal Health Services (EHS), which encompasses St. John’s Episcopal Hospital and outlets like their medical complex at Beach 105th Street and Rockaway Beach Blvd., it refers to “the health status and health outcomes within a group of people rather than considering the health of one person at a time.”

Under their Population Health Program banner, they have initiated several programs to spread good health and emphasize prevention and wellness not just to the individual patient, but the community as a whole. “EHS is committed to working with the community to identify and reduce the gaps in care, coordination of care, reduce health disparities and increase access to health care.”

For example, their Cancer Services Program provides free breast and cervical cancer screenings, diagnostic follow-up services through the newly opened Clinical Learning Center on Beach 19th Street and Margaret O. Carpenter Women’s Health Center at Beach 105th Street.

They also offer treatment referrals for uninsured/underinsured women and men at or below 250% of the Federal Poverty Level and meet other program requirements. Their goal is “to improve access to care, cancer screenings, and early detection.” For more information call 929-928-2039.

EHS’ Patient Navigation Program’s goal is “to reduce avoidable emergency room visits by linking patients to primary care providers, community-based organizations, specialist care and detox facilities.”

The key target of the program, they note, are “high utilizers and substance use patients.” The aim is to understand “the cultural beliefs and practices of the population and build trust,” and provide “peer-level support (which) teaches individuals how to navigate the healthcare system.”

Addressing two widespread health concerns are their Community Hypertension and Diabetes Self-Management Education programs.

Community Hypertension “educates participants on the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure and connects them to providers as needed for follow up care and resources,” encouraging lifestyle changes and medication adherence, and educating individuals on available resources.

Fully accredited through the American Association of Diabetes Educators as a Diabetes Self-Management Education Services Program provider, EHS offers a six-week workshops with focus on topics like “Healthy Eating, Being Active, Diabetes Monitoring, Taking Medication, Reducing Risks, and Problem Solving and Healthy Coping.” To register call 718-869-7954/718-869-7100.

Mental health is an often overlooked yet key component to everyday life and well-being. To address this, EHS offers free Mental Health Workshops, which they provide to organizations and schools, customized to the needs of each group. Their workshops include, but are not limited to, topics like “Health & Wellness (i.e. handling health setbacks, receiving a new diagnosis), Emotional Wellness (i.e. mindfulness, reducing stress, maintaining a positive outlook, stress management), Personal Care/Control (i.e. sleep patterns, self-care, body image, self-image, self-esteem, personal hygiene, Social Networks (i.e. finding supports), Safety Planning (i.e. impulse control, boundaries, conflict management, identifying supports and risk factors, protective factors), Mental Health (i.e. depression, anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorders, loneliness), and Trauma (i.e. grieving, loss, forgiving, coping strategies). Schedule a workshop at 718-869-5042.

Proper nutrition and sufficient healthy food are strong foundations for good health. EHS is addressing this by joining with the Campaign Against Hunger to present a free fresh produce distribution every second and fourth Thursday of each month from 12 to 2 p.m. in the St. John’s Episcopal Hospital visitors’ parking lot at 327 Beach 19th Street.

They also present Nutrition Workshops designed to “inform the public about the importance of diet and how it affects their lives.” The goal is for people to “develop skills to improve their diet without abandoning their favorite food” and “understand the relationship between good eating habits and preventing or managing specific chronic conditions and diseases.”

Workshops are tailored to each audience and cover such topics as healthy meal planning, weight management, prevention and management of diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and hyperlipidemia. They also discuss how to understand nutrition labels and ingredient lists, as well lifestyle, medicine, food safety and may include supermarket tours. The goal is to help people feel at ease planning healthy meals for themselves and others. Workshops can be scheduled by calling 718-869-7454.

Taking Population Health out into the community is St. John’s Hospital’s Mobile Health Unit, their large blue and white “bus” emblazoned with “Healthcare Within Reach” and “On The Road To Wellness,” which is dispatched to various sites on the peninsula.

The unit brings easy and convenient medical services like blood pressure screenings, lipid profile/cholesterol testing, depression and anxiety screenings, flu and other shots, A1C “point-of-care” testing, nutritional education and information, hearing tests, social needs screening, social work consultations and links to community resources, health education, primary care physician referrals and more. For information on the Mobile Health Unit Outreach Program, contact the Population Health Department at 718-869-7100.

Since its inception Episcopal Health Services confirms their Population Health programs have achieved several notable commendations in serving the Rockaway/Broad Channel community.

For example, they state, “Our Cancer Services Program has received a member spotlight in the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) platform to advance cancer prevention services in our community,” while their Mobile Health Unit program has been nominated for the HANYS “Community Health Improvement Award” for improving access to care and promoting preventive screenings.

They have also received an email letter of appreciation from the NY State Department of Health for their “collaborative efforts in detection of carcinoma and timely enrolling of the patient into the Medicaid cancer treatment program which covers the cost of entire treatment,” and “have also received testimonials from patients on losing 18 to 20 pounds and controlling their A1C through our Diabetes Self-Management Education program.”

EHS confirms they are staring a Healthy Heart Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program this May, Monthly Healthy Grocery Shopping tours in April, and a National Diabetes Prevention program in July.

When it comes to serving the Rockaway/Broad Channel community, EHS says, their “Population Health team is dedicated to improving the well-being not just of each patient, but the health of the whole peninsula.”

 Photo by Dan Guarino.

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