Rep. Tom Reed visits Penn Yan Community Health

Staff reports
The Chronicle-Express
Last week was "Health Center Week" and Rep. Tom Reed visited Penn Yan Community Health (part of Finger Lakes Community Health) to discuss many healthcare topics with FLCH CEO Mary Zelazny and the leadership team.

PENN YAN — In recognition of National Health Center Week, Rep. Tom Reed visited Penn Yan Community Health (PYCH), a health center site of Finger Lakes Community Health (FLCH), to discuss important healthcare topics that impact the local community. Mary Zelazny, CEO FLCH, Anne Slack, CFO, Ellen Hey, Chief Quality Officer, and Sirene Garcia, Chief Innovation Officer were present.

“National Health Center Week is an important moment to recognize the high-quality service local health centers like FLCH are providing to our communities,” said Reed. “We thank FLCH for its hard-work and dedication to servicing the region, and will continue to fight for policies that expand access to care, improve our healthcare infrastructure, and reduce costs.”

Finger Lakes Community Health is one of over 1,400 community health center programs across the United States. To serve the more than 30 million patients annually, health centers rely on programs that allow us to offer their patients comprehensive, quality healthcare.

In her meeting with Rep. Tom Reed, Finger Lakes Community Health CEO Mary Zelazny brought up several needed actions by congress that will improve healthcare in rural parts across the US.

Some of the important programs discussed with Reed include:

· Prescription Drugs: The 340B Federal Drug Pricing Program needs to be protected in order to be available to patients. This critical program provides prescription drugs at significantly reduced prices to those who might have limited incomes. Patients rely on these medications to manage their health conditions including diabetes and high blood pressure.

· Infrastructure is a major issue. Community Health Centers across the United States are seeing a steep rise in new patients, as their model of care offers quality medical, dental, and behavioral health services under one roof with patients’ needs coming first. To meet this increased demand for services, facilities need more space to accommodate this growth.

“FLCH needs to expand its facilities and that takes capital funding," said Zelazny. "We are grateful to HRSA and Congress for the funds awarded to FLCH that will allow us to add a large addition at our current Penn Yan Medical campus to include dental services at that site. This will allow us to accommodate more patients at that site.”

· Passage of the Telehealth CONNECT Act, which has been re-introduced in Congress. This bill would put into law permanent rules that help healthcare providers offer on-going access to care through telehealth technologies, particularly for rural communities.

“During the pandemic, our older patients have been able to connect to us using telehealth," said Ellen Hey, FNP, Chief Quality Officer. "This proposed legislation would cement that ability and allow us to expand how we offer care. It benefits our patients, no more worries about transportation, and it safely connects them to our physicians and specialists. It makes getting medical care easier for them.”

About Finger Lakes Community Health

Finger Lakes Community Health is an independent healthcare organization, founded in 1989 as a provider of healthcare for agricultural workers. Services are now expanded to provide comprehensive healthcare for everyone, with numerous health centers in the region, including Bath, Geneva, Newark, Ovid, Penn Yan, Port Byron, and Sodus, and Dundee Dental. Finger Lakes Community Health is a part of the Federally Qualified Health Center system through the federal government, receiving funds to assist uninsured and under-insured patients. For more information, please visit www.localcommunityhealth.com.