Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Officials Meet to Discuss Wyoming Health Care Priorities

Oct 10, 2014 | Posted in News

The Daily News - October 10, 2014:

VARYSBURG — One agency helped a migrant worker with dental problems.

Another arranged treatment for a suicidal teenager. And yet another is Wyoming County’s last resort when families need help.
One thread connects them in particular — financial support from the William F. Thiel Fund, which has provided more than $2.35 million since 2007, to the county’s health and safety organizations.

About 50 officials met Wednesday to discuss the fund’s future priorities, as part of the 2014 Wyoming County Health Care Forum.

“It’s importantly a reflection of the values and interests of the people in Wyoming County,” said Greg Bonk, a consultant who analyzed the information.

The forum was the latest evolution after the county’s original health care assessment conducted seven years ago, and updated in 2012.

The findings helped the award 35 grants to agencies such as Crossroads House, Spectrum Human Services, and the Wyoming County Hospital Foundation. It’s estimated 21,000 county residents benefited, representing about half of the county’s population.
The most-recent update anticipates the Thiel Fund’s funding throughout 2017-2018.

The latest update identified three specific kinds of needs, including health care services; enabling health care services; and a community health system infrastructure.

Infrastructure is listed as the highest priority, with equipment listed as the greatest need. Mental Health, and health care personnel are also ranked highly. Identified health problems include cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, respiratory disease, suicide and oral health.

But one of the biggest needs, officials said, was making health care systems easier — issues such as transportation, a medical equipment exchange, and a comfort home for the terminally ill as ways to make care easier.

How do all those things work out in the real world?

The Thiel Fund helped the Wyoming County Community Health Care System secure an endoscopic video system in 2013, to help detect colon and gastroenterology cancer, said Chief Operating Officer Michael Corcimiglia.

Nearly 1,000 people have benefited from the system over the past 18 months, he said.

“Out of those 1,000 people ... 571 patients had polyps removed,” he said. “So that’s 571 people who could have had cancer, that we were able to help.”

The hospital has also completed installation of a drug dispensing system with Thiel funding, Corcimiglia said. The measure will help lessen the risk of medication errors.

The Thiel Fund is managed by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo Inc.

It aims to truly to meet residents’ needs in an informed manner, by gathering data and analyzing the results, said Jean McKeown, the foundation’s vice president of community impact, after the session ended.

To view this story in The Daily News, click here.

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