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Health Committee Meeting Notes – January 19th, 2021

The notes from the Health Committee’s January meeting. 23 participants attended this meeting which lasted from 11am – noon on January 19th, 2021.

To download the meeting notes, click here.

 

Note: This meeting, and all future Health Committee meetings, will be held virtually on Zoom on the third Tuesday of each month, 11am – noon.

  • Welcome of first-time attendees

  • Updates and Announcements

    • Families moved into new Woodstock Avenue transitional housing complex two days before Christmas
      • All units stocked with food as well as Christmas trees and gifts, if celebrated
    • $200 million for the CoVid relief budget available to VT in this round of stimulus
      • Estimated $50 million of which will target rental support
      • Estimated $20 million for direct service coordination
    • Mentoring and Youth Engagement Subcommittee announcements
      • There are three fronts to the mission to increase youth engagement, reduce youth loneliness, and help develop a sense of purpose and passion within communities
        • Chartering a survey that will assess youth services across the region to direct organizational energy moving forward
          • What are the youth resources? What’s being utilized? What are the gaps?
        • Two youth councils (Rutland City and Slate Valley Union) that will then feed into a county-wide youth council to actively involve youth in the process of chartering how to use organizational energy in the future
        • Parent engagement training to educate what resources are available, how to connect with their youth, and how to help their youth connect with their communities
      • Reach out to Chris Hultquist at christ@mentorconnector.com if you have questions or interest in joining the work
    • Food Access Subcommittee
      • Organizing community conversation focus groups
        • Conversations around food access and fresh food access with participants of the Farmacy program
      • VT Foodbank is in its advocacy phase of the year
        • Supporting efforts for universal school lunch, Vermonters Feeding Vermonters program
    • 211 data from 2020 demonstrates a significant increase in food information requests compared to previous years
      • 6x more contacts for Farmers to Families program
      • 103 food pantry contacts for Rutland County
    • BBF released the ‘How are Vermont’s Young Children and Families’ report
    • AHS annual 24-hour snapshot of data on sheltered individuals is proving logistically difficult this year as there are currently 10x more people involved in the hotel voucher program than in previous years
      • Agencies and organizations who directly work with sheltered populations may be contacted by the Homeless Prevention Center for help in acquiring accurate data
    • Hotel voucher program does not require identification for participants to qualify, though some participating hotels request that sheltered guests have a form of ID
      • Suggested course of action is that economic services refer individuals without ID to hotels that do not require it
  • Overview of Community Health Needs Assessment participant data

    • 61 agency responses to ‘key informant survey’
      • 23% of respondents involved in childcare/ parenting work
      • 12% of respondents involved in supporting aging community work
      • 8% of respondents involved in mental health work
      • 13% of respondents involved in housing work
      • 44% of respondents involved in general work
        • Half are agencies that touch on all four of prior categories
        • Other half are respondents whose work doesn’t clearly fall into the categories
    • Percentage of respondents that view the priority areas as still in need of attention
      • Housing – 95%
      • Childcare/ Parenting – 95%
      • Mental Health – 93%
      • Supporting Aging Community – 85%
    • Reasons why respondents believe their clients don’t access health care
      • Unreliable transportation access, ease of health care access, affordability, underinsured, and lack of trust were the top responses
    • Why people may not get care from other agencies
      • Transportation, ease of access, unawareness of services, trust, and stigma were the top responses
    • Major themes related to barriers within each priority area
      • Housing
        • Costs/ affordability; Safety and availability; Discrimination; Agency funding
      • Childcare and Parenting
        • Affordability and availability of quality options; Shortage of providers; Parental support and education; Respite and afterschool care options; Discrimination
      • Mental Health
        • Accessibility; Provider shortage; Limited funding, resources, and capacity; Stigma; Transportation; Challenging process/ system
      • Supporting Aging Community
        • Not being valued; Aging in place; Transportation; Funding for program; Housing, food security, isolation; Grandparents raising grandchildren
    • Identified strengths in priority areas
      • Housing
        • Local agencies; Innovative opportunities; Champions in the field
      • Childcare and Parenting
        • Agencies, coalitions, schools, childcare centers, recreation center, and local businesses addressing education and need
      • Mental Health
        • Strong commitment from agencies; Opportunity to expand on collaboration; Reduced stigma
      • Supporting Aging Community
        • Agencies, senior centers, and service providers; Strong community
  • Breakout Sessions to discuss questions in each of the four priority areas

    • Housing, facilitated by Traci Moore
      • What parts of the system/ process of finding secure housing makes it difficult for some groups to participate? Who gets excluded as a result?
        • A gap between people involved in the housing system and the assistance services available for them
          • Services not being accessed, either by a lack of sufficient public education around these services to boost awareness or lack of willingness to reach out for these services
          • Barrier for people intimidated by the housing system
        • Issue around program visibility and ensuring people are comfortable navigating these programs
      • If funding was available, what programming or services would be integral in addressing housing issues?
        • Boosting program visibility and assisting navigation through services
        • Programs to fix degraded properties
        • Programs to ensure available housing options are adequate and safe – raising the standard of living
          • People who feel desperate for housing shouldn’t have to accept degraded rentals
        • Education services to help tenants to learn the pieces they need to navigate the housing system and advocate for themselves
      • Other thoughts
        • Are there more opportunities to pursue housing projects that are like the Pine St housing project
        • How can we rely upon our community partners to gather first-hand data from participants in low-income housing and transitional housing
    • Childcare and Parenting, facilitated by Kim Griffin
      • Outside of the early childhood care range (ages 0 to 5), how to we support parents, how do we support parents in our communities?
        • After school groups, mentors, clubs, parks, sports, libraries to engage youth
        • Committed parent involvement is the big question
        • PTAs have a few dedicated parents to frequently attend, though they tend to be the families already well connected
          • Many families consist of single parent households, two-parent households where each work full-time or more – it’s a big ask to request parents to commit to parent engagement programs
        • Some of the best attended parent education programs are the ones that are judge/ court suggested
          • There should be other effective incentives out there
          • All that can be done is to continue to try different approaches
            • Really plugging at the early education level to shift the culture early on
      • What systems within childcare might support discrimination towards the parents?
        • PTAs’ scheduled times inhibit the participation of many parents
        • Not allowing parents to drop off their child before a certain time in the morning, or forcing parents to pick up their child before a certain time at the end of the day
        • Transportation routes
        • Fee-based afterschool programs
      • If funding were available, what sorts of childcare programs would they best go towards
        • Increasing transportation
        • Valuing after school programs as a part of education and not just babysitting
    • Mental Health, facilitated by Sarah Cosgrove
      • With the lack of providers as a major theme of resources, what strategies do you think will recruit and increase the providers in our area? Specifically, in regard to the lack of providers that specialize in substance abuse disorder populations, pediatric and pediatric substance abuse populations, and the geriatric population.
        • Not fully rely on credentialed providers, but also incorporate individuals without the full mental health expertise to be a comprehensive life coach that engages the patient across a range of health markers such as physical health, nutrition, ect
        • Opening more telehealth options and pulling in remote mental health providers
          • Coupled with individuals without the full credentials that can build an interpersonal relationship with the patient
          • Subcontract remotely for people with specific expertise and then have on-the-ground workers that complement the supervisory role of the credentialed, remote provider
        • Increased and targeted communication, outreach to help segments of the population be able to engage with the providers that are locally available in the region
          • Based in the understanding that many providers are not at full capacity, so there are other dynamics inhibiting engagement
          • Grant opportunities to help offset the costs of services that are not traditionally covered by Medicare
      • What programs or services would help alleviate the stigma of assessing mental health in our area?
        • Promoting more remote services to give a new avenue for individuals who have already gone through the services offered regionally and now feel unable or stigmatized
          • Starts with looking into what services are already available remotely
        • Collaboration between mental health educators and providers
        • Are there community partners/ parental support systems who have access to remote experts that have local people under their guidance
      • What systems within mental health might contribute to discrimination of certain populations?
        • More provider-to-patient education with the purpose of addressing and minimizing stigmas that the patient may attach to
        • A need for more holistic approaches to mental health – physical health, nutrition, ect
          • Siloed approaches to mental health can be counterproductive
        • People who come into services and feel discriminated against due to past experiences require interpersonal, outwardly nonjudgmental services that go beyond the minimum provider services
        • Education and outreach for patients to get the word out that there are grant opportunities to financially help the underinsured whose private insurance may not cover certain services
        • How to get services to people who are the main financial supporter of their household and are unable to participate in longer term, in-person services or rehab that they may need
          • Even with grant assistance to fill the gaps of the underinsured, many people cannot leave their job for an extended period
    • Supporting Aging Community, facilitated by Renee Bousquet
      • What systems of what factors are contributing to the issue of lack of support for our aging community?
        • Increasing emphasis on technology in health services makes it harder to the aging community to engage
        • Transportation issues in rural communities
        • Lack of adequate systems support for caregivers
        • Lack of a welcoming environment in assisted living centers
          • A perception that is now impossible to reflect on without thinking of the massive CoVid outbreaks that ravaged assisted living centers throughout the country
        • Many volunteers of community support programs are themselves close to the age of receiving those services – not much younger representation in the volunteer and support force
      • What does aging in place look like in our community right now?
        • It is critical to have monitoring systems, such as blood pressure, able to be installed at home
        • Tech support is supremely important with the changing health care system
        • Shrewsbury has a group called ‘Living in Place’ that works to help connect the aging community with resources available at the town level
          • View dignity as a central component to aging support
        • Engaging atypical health partners, such as libraries and town clerks, in resource education and outreach
      • What services would support grandparents raising grandchildren?
        • Be easily eligible for benefits
          • Any custody issues can cause a long lag in acquiring support
          • Lack of an agent can make it very difficult to navigate the tech-emphasized enrollment process
        • Normalizing language across fields when speaking about households
          • When teachers say ‘mom or dad’ when speaking about households creates exclusion
  • Next meeting will be on Tuesday, February 16th, from 11am to noon on Zoom

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