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North Country telehealth innovation awards given in Lake Placid

Adirondack Health Institute’s Nancy Gildersleeve (far right) and Charles R. Wood Foundation’s Charlene Wood (second from right) are pictured with this year’s Telehealth Innovator Award recipients (from left): Robert Kleppang, Hamilton County Community Services; Kevin Dougrey on behalf of Hudson Headwaters Health Network; Dr. Michael Dinkels on behalf of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home; and Jennifer Newberry, Essex County Certified Home Health Agency. (Photo provided)

LAKE PLACID — Telehealth Innovator Award recipients were honored at the fifth annual North Country Telehealth Conference, hosted by the North Country Telehealth Partnership on Nov. 7 in Lake Placid.

The award is given to individuals and organizations in four categories — mental health, primary care, hospitals, and home health — that have implemented an innovative program or application of telehealth leading to improved health outcomes and quality-of-life in the community.

This year’s awardees are as follows, along with excerpts from their nominations:

¯ Robert Kleppang, Hamilton County Community Services, Telehealth Innovator Award for Mental Health — “Bob Kleppang has been an inspirational innovator for telehealth for a number of years, developing consistent, successful solutions. Bob has always been a valuable resource to other providers who are interested in developing their own solution and is willing to share whatever information he can to assist others in implementing telehealth.”

¯ Hudson Headwaters Health Network, Telehealth Innovator Award for Primary Care — “Over the past three years, HHHN has taken every opportunity to expand their service for hard-to-reach individuals. They have implemented several forms of telehealth to accomplish this goal. Diabetic retinopathy screening is a required annual best practice. It has been difficult to meet this standard, especially for Medicaid recipients, due to limited access to ophthalmology care. HHHN, with grant support from the AHI Performing Provider System, was able to implement tele-retinopathy screening that has resulted in many more individuals getting screened. This project proved so successful, it was replicated in the St. Lawrence region.”

¯ Nation Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home’s Tele-Intensivist Program, Telehealth Innovator Award for Hospitals — “As a small, rural hospital serving one of the oldest populations in New York, the demand on critical care services has been burgeoning. Our indicators show a population rife with cardiopulmonary disease and complex disease states requiring a high degree of care intervention and specialization. The demands on the team gave birth to a unique solution, a telehealth intensivist model, technology that has allowed the hospital to keep patients in their community.”

¯ Jennifer Newberry, Essex County Certified Home Health Agency, Telehealth Innovator Award for Home Health — “Jennifer Newberry has been instrumental in advancing telehealth in our region. She has worked with a variety of stakeholders across multiple sectors to offer telehealth services. Jennifer has worked tirelessly and confidently to reach the most despaired populations through telehealth.”

The North Country Telehealth Partnership is a collaborative initiative of Adirondack Health Institute and Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization. The partnership is focused on increasing access to health care through the innovative use of telehealth and telemedicine technology. The partnership covers an 11-county region of northern New York.

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