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The following article appeared in the Finger Lakes Times. Click here or read below.

Rural Americans face healthcare challenges… but they also have more options than ever.

In many rural communities of the United States, health disparities are more prevalent than in urban areas, leading to higher rates of chronic disease, more people living in poverty and a lack of adequate resources.   Rural areas experience more gaps in services, especially in the areas of chronic disease management, dental and mental health conditions. Rural communities have higher rates of uninsured people and fewer physicians to serve them. In November we will celebrate National Rural Health Day and take the opportunity to create awareness for the challenges our communities face. It’s also an opportunity to tell you there are resources in your area to help.

At Finger Lakes Community Health we offer nine health center locations in the communities of Penn Yan, Geneva, Bath, Sodus, Newark, Ovid, Port Byron, King Ferry, and at Dundee Dental. We are dedicated to improving the health of the communities that we serve. Community Health Centers are located in every state of the nation and help to improve access to care and also bring millions of dollars of savings to the health care system. In fact, recent studies show that, on average, each patient receiving care at a community health center saved the health care system 24%, annually. With 21,040 patients served by Finger Lakes Community Health in 2013, the estimated annual savings is $27 million at $1,263 saved per patient.

As Finger Lakes Community Health continues to expand, the revenues and corresponding economic impact through the organizations increasing number of employees and its expenditures locally also grow. Its economic impact in the Finger Lakes region is estimated at about $14 million dollars in 2013 alone.

In addition, we have made tremendous strides to recruit providers of the highest quality to care for our patients. Physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, as well as all of our staff are dedicated to this mission to provide access to care and to keeping our patients healthy. Early next year we will open a pharmacy at our Geneva Community Health Center so that medications are that much easier for patients to fill.

Access to specialists is often a challenge since it means driving quite a distance to get care. However, with Telehealth technologies, sometimes called Telemedicine, we now have the ability to connect patients to specialists right from our health centers. Providers and patients can have a face-to-face consultation with an off-site specialist in areas such as, psychiatry, pediatric neurology, nutrition counseling, Hepatitis C treatment, pulmonology, pediatric dentistry, and diabetic retinopathy…to name a few. Through the use of digital technology and high definition video, off-site specialists can examine the patient and consult with the primary care provider on their diagnosis and treatment.

Getting health insurance has now been made easier as well. Open enrollment has now begun and if you obtained health insurance last year, it’s time to renew. If you don’t have health insurance, you can sit down with a trained insurance enroller at one of our health centers or another facility near you to determine which health insurance plan is best for you. Or go online to:

Community Health Centers offer access to comprehensive health care services for all who seek health care including the entire family. Finger Lakes Community Health offers several locations to provide the most cutting edge treatment and services with the patient as the key member of our healthcare team. We will continue to provide the care that our patients need, as well as providing positive economic benefits to the communities that we serve.

Mary Zelazny, CEO

Finger Lakes Community Health