The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) today honored Rensselaer County for its recent national award for the “ER Anywhere” program they launched last year. The competitive 2020 County Achievement Award honors innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents. It is awarded each year by the National Association of Counties (NACo).
The ER Anywhere program, launched in early October of 2019 by Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, is a public-private partnership designed to harness the benefits of telehealth to improve the quality and accessibility of health care for Medicaid patients in Rensselaer County while reducing unnecessary emergency room visits.
Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said, “Our priority has always been to ensure that the residents of Rensselaer County receive the services they need while protecting local taxpayers from unnecessary costs. That was the guiding principle when we launched this partnership. And now, in the midst of the challenges of COVID-19, this partnership places us in a strong position to weather the fiscal challenges brought on by the pandemic while providing the residents of Rensselaer County with socially distant medical care when appropriate.”
ER Anywhere is an online platform that brings together county and private resources through United Concierge Medicine, CDPHP, County DSS, and 9-1-1 services to connect patients with emergency medical providers through phones, tablets or computers. Under this system, CDPHP Medicaid patients can consult with emergency medical providers to discuss treatment or to triage any acute medical issue, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The system allows emergency medical professionals to assess the situation and even provide for a direct hand off to 9-1-1 if it is deemed necessary. Conversely, even if a patient calls 911 and does not use the ER Anywhere platform, dispatchers can contact ER Anywhere doctors who can intervene when EMS arrives at a patient's home and triage the patient to see if they can be treated at their home instead of at the hospital.
NACo President Mary Ann Borgeson said, “We are seeing firsthand now more than ever that counties work tirelessly to support our residents. This year's Achievement Award-winning programs showcase how counties build healthy, safe and vibrant communities across America.”
Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.
Started in 1970, NACo's annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.
“On behalf of the New York State Association of Counties I want to congratulate Rensselaer County and County Executive Steve McLaughlin on this outstanding achievement,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “In our current economic environment, local governments are under immense pressure to do more with less than ever before. This innovative partnership is a model that counties across the state and nation can follow to increase the quality and accessibility of health care to Medicaid patients, while lowering costs.”