Getting access to healthcare is extremely important, especially given the current COVID-19 pandemic. In Fulton County, residents of the community have access to two different hospitals. The first is Nathan Littauer Hospital located in Gloversville, which is a standard hospital with all the essential resources (Emergency room, primary care, surgical team, etc.). The second is Fulton County Public Health located in Johnstown, this clinic deals more with preventative care and education, aiming to educate the community on important health matters.
Nathan Littauer Hospital
Since over 90% of the Fulton County population is white or Caucasian, I was not able to find many resources discussing patient ethnicity. However, this hospital aims to treat all patients equally, and doesn’t discriminate against those without health insurance. Additionally, there is a charity care program provided by the hospital, as well as many other financial services geared towards helping patients pay for their hospital bills. This is especially the case in terms of child healthcare; for example, if the family doesn’t qualify for Medicaid, they have the opportunity to enrol in a case-by-case monthly payment plan. Below are some of the additional services offered by Nathan Littauer Hospital:
- Walk-in appointments with primary care physicians are available, which is beneficial for those with unpredictable schedules, individuals facing homelessness, and many others.
- Women can seek care specifically tailored to them and their needs. The hospital provides both basic surgical OB-GYN services and midwifery. Despite the small size of the hospital, there are two trained midwives available upon request.
- In an effort to limit foot traffic and limit/prevent the spread of COVID-19, the hospital offers online classes and events to educate the community. These events include wellness classes, childcare and parenting classes, and support groups (AA meetings etc.).
- Despite limitations in the different specialities the hospital can house, they do provide various types of rehabilitative medicine. Among others, physical therapy, such as sports injury rehabilitation, and occupational therapy, such as treating speech disorders, are offered. For these services, patients are one-on-one with trained NYS specialists. Another example of an interesting treatment they provide is Lymphedema, which is a special message used to reduce swelling in the lymphatic system.
Fulton County Public Health
Unlike the hospital, Fulton County Public Health serves as an educational center for people who need care. Wanting to promote wellness and educate individuals on different diseases and illnesses, this health center offers many services, free of charge. Typically, members of the community will consult the Public Health center prior to deciding their next steps in treatment. Below are some of the additional services offered by the center:
- People who have HIV or have been potentially exposed can go to Planned Parenthood in Johnstown, which has a contract with the county to cover all costs. Services include HIV testing, treatment, and more.
- The county also offers a variety of different programs for children that require special attention. Parents of children who require special health services have the ability to access care very early on. Before birth, parents can be referred to the Early Intervention Program by doctors, a program that provides education and physical therapy to children from birth to three years old.
- Additionally, the program offers individual therapy and classes for parents as well. New York State also helps out if parents are experiencing any financial difficulties. After the Early Intervention Program, from ages 3-5, children are referred to the preschool program; and after that, to the CSHCN program until turn 21 years old.The “Children With Special Health Care Needs Program” (CSHCN) takes care of children that require long-term healthcare needs, and behavior or physical conditions that need special attention and support.
The Fulton County website sends weekly updates to residents about information regarding COVID-19. It not only has updates for individuals of different occupations but also includes lists of accessible testing centers. However, there are not many testing centers near Fulton County, forcing individuals to drive further away in order to get a test. Potentially due to the lack of adequate testing, there have been a total of 32,990 COVID-19cases in this county since March, which is more than half of the population of 53,219 individuals.