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The Berkshire Fallon Mobile Health Unit will be staffed by Community Health Programsí medical and operations staff during its visits to various Berkshire locations.

Berkshire Fallon Health Collaborative Unveils Mobile Health Unit

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CHP CEO Lia Spiliotes and the new Mobile Health Unit.

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Berkshire Fallon Health Collaborative, a MassHealth Accountable Care Organization Partnership Plan, has launched a new state-of-the-art Mobile Health Unit (MHU) that will travel throughout Berkshire County, increasing outreach and bringing healthcare directly to patients.

The Berkshire Fallon Mobile Health Unit will be staffed by Community Health Programs' medical and operations staff during its visits to various Berkshire locations.

"One of the advantages of the ACO model of care is that we are afforded the flexibility to be creative in addressing the needs of the populations we serve. The Mobile Health Unit will be a great asset to the communities in Berkshire County as it complements our combined commitment to reduce fragmented care, improve health outcomes and contain costs," said Richard Burke, president and CEO of Fallon Health. "Fallon Health is proud to help our shared members navigate the complex system of healthcare and connect them with the proper medical and social resources in a welcoming atmosphere."

"Living in the Berkshires offers a multitude of benefits, including stunning physical beauty, world-class art, and the pleasures of country life. It also offers health care challenges, unique to a rural environment. Transportation is among the top challenges we face in the county, which is why we are making it a priority to bring care to the patients, instead of having the patients come to us," said David Phelps, president and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems, noting that mobile clinics are making health care accessible for some of the most difficult to reach groups in both rural and urban communities in the country, according to a recent Impact Report by Harvard Medical School.

Unveiled during a ceremony Tuesday at CHP Community Health Center in Great Barrington, the 40-foot vehicle contains two full exam rooms, an intake area and a bathroom. It will be staffed by a coordinator, nurse practitioner and medical assistant and offers a variety of services from primary care, sick visits, preventative health screenings, ophthalmology and social services.

Patients with MassHealth ACO Berkshire Fallon Health Collaborative insurance will be able to schedule appointments at the MHU's location ahead of time through the Community Health Programs electronic medical record system, or with a walk-in visit. Dates and locations for the MHU will also be available via an online calendar, social media and local newspapers, and each CHP practice will have access to the schedule.

The hours of operation will vary to fit the needs of the community, such as evenings, early mornings and weekends. MHU staff will also provide basic care, including blood pressure checks, flu shot clinics, immunization clinics, vision screenings and screenings for chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma. The unit will also offer social services through such organizations as Women, Infants & Children Nutrition Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Fuel Assistance and licensed clinical social workers.

"The Berkshire Fallon Health Collaborative Mobile Health Unit is unique in that it offers such a broad range of health care and social services, at accessible locations and times for the community," said Lia Spiliotes, CEO of Community Health Programs. "Our community members deserve to have a high level of care no matter what ZIP code they are in. And under this innovative model, they can. Community Health Programs is pleased to be part of this important effort that will surely improve the lives of many of our neighbors."

BFHC is made up of Berkshire Health Systems, its Physician-Hospital Organization called the Partnership for Health in the Berkshires, Community Health Programs and Fallon Health. The creation of BFHC is part of the state's reform of MassHealth to include ACOs in which physicians, hospitals, insurers and other health care providers work together to provide integrated care with the goals of improving health outcomes and containing costs.

Berkshire Health Systems is the primary provider of comprehensive healthcare services to residents of and visitors to Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and the surrounding region. BHS affiliates include Berkshire Medical Center, Fairview Hospital, the Berkshire Visiting Nurse Association and BMC and Fairview Physician practices. BHS is a nationally recognized healthcare provider, ranking among the nation’s top hospitals for clinical care and patient safety, and is also the largest employer in Berkshire County. For more information, visit the website.

Community Health Programs based in Great Barrington, Mass., is a nonprofit federally qualified health center network serving patients of all ages throughout Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts. CHP’s medical and dental practices serve all patients regardless of their means of payment, with high-quality health care, nutrition and family support services. For more information, visit the website.

Founded in 1977, Fallon Health is a leading health care services organization that supports the diverse and changing needs of those we serve. In addition to offering innovative health insurance solutions and a variety of Medicaid and Medicare products, Fallon creates unique health care programs and services that provide coordinated, integrated care for seniors and individuals with complex health needs. Fallon has consistently ranked among the nation’s top health plans and is accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for its HMO, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid products. For more information, visit the website.

Founded in 2016, Partnership for Health in the Berkshires is a Berkshire County, non-profit, Physician Hospital Organization or PHO. its mission is to enhance collaboration between and among Berkshire County physicians, other health care providers and Berkshire Health Systems in order to provide the best possible care for members of our community while at the same time, working to improve efficiency and lower costs. The organization is also seen as critical to improve the long term viability and sustainability of health care delivery in our county.

 





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Berkshire Waldorf School Announces 2020 First Grade Teacher

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Berkshire Waldorf School (formerly Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School) welcomes Safina Alessandra as first-grade class teacher for the 2020-21 school year.

Alessandra was selected from a pool of applicants after an international search. At Berkshire Waldorf School, as in most Waldorf schools worldwide, grade school class teachers practice "looping," moving through the grade school curriculum with their classes, to build strong, long-term relationships for up to eight years.

"We are so happy to welcome Safina Alessandra as teacher for the Class of 2028," said Berkshire Waldorf School Director Dr. Sue Das. "She is already a valued member of our teaching staff, working effectively with students at all grade levels, and brings many valuable resources and experiences to the class, including her love of diverse cultures. Ms. Alessandra's addition to the faculty as class teacher continues the school's exciting phase of growth, heading toward our 50th anniversary in 2021."

Alessandra earned her teaching certificate in Waldorf Education from the Alkion Center at Hawthorne Valley in Ghent, N.Y. She also holds a bachelor of science in early childhood and childhood education from the State University of New York at New Paltz, a certificate in childhood education for grades one through six from New York State and a certificate in therapeutic education from Camphill Special Schools in Glenmoore, Pa.

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