Dover

One More Year: Whitney’s Story

 

All things considered, Strafford County is an unremarkable corner of New Hampshire.

 

This is no criticism of the region and those who call it home. Quite the contrary: From the wooded tranquility of Barrington to the bustle of Durham’s campus life, Strafford is full of the sort of hometown warmth that can quickly charm any tourist into believing that they’ve lived there all of their lives.

 

It’s a county that’s chock full of ‘Anytown USAs,’ and for this very reason it’s a place where the nation’s opioid epidemic is alive and well.

 

No zip code in America is immune to the crisis, but rural communities like Strafford that struggle with bleak job prospects and high rates of poverty are fertile ground for the behaviors that can lead to substance misuse. In short, any place where tomorrow may not be any better than today is where this crisis lives.

 

While rediscovering hope is the driving force behind recovery, access to affordable treatment is what makes all of the work possible — and few know this better than Goodwin Board Member Whitney Galeucia.

 

The search for access 

 

Whitney moved to Rochester in the summer of 2014 and made her way to local a medication assisted treatment program for those coping with substance misuse, “It was great and I really benefited from being there,” she remarked. “But when it got to the point to start the outpatient program, it was going to cost me $30 per visit three times a week. Add to that the $130 fee every time I needed to see a provider and it just wasn’t affordable.”

 

Whitney eventually found herself working with a Goodwin staff member who helped her to sign up for the New Hampshire Health Protection Program (NHHPP), the state’s Medicaid Expansion effort under the Affordable Care Act.

 

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“The people at Goodwin helped me to go over my finances, fill out all of the paperwork, get enrolled in the NHHP, and finally afford the treatment I needed for my recovery,” she said. “I had absolutely no idea that any of this was available to me. I’d never been on any kind of state insurance before … without help from Goodwin, I would have felt too overwhelmed and given up on the whole thing.”

 

Giving voice to the epidemic

 

That was all back in 2014, today Whitney is well on the way to recovery.

 

She’s down to 6 milligrams of the opioid treatment Suboxone after starting out on 16 milligrams, with the goal of being completely off the drug by the end of this year. She’s steadily working at a job that she loves, paying off her student loans, and serves as a member on Goodwin’s Board of Directors.

 

As a Goodwin patient recovering from substance misuse, Whitney views her role on the board as a way to bring focus to the opioid crisis that so many Granite Staters are working to overcome, “A big part of being in recovery is learning how to use your voice,” she said. Going on to say that she saw her role on the board as “a chance to be a voice for the recovery community.”

 

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Whitney (fourth from the left) at a Board of Directors meeting

 

It was plain to see that Whitney was a woman on a mission, someone determined to stare down her demons and chart a brand new pathway forward on her own terms. But amid all of the optimism, she revealed that there was one overarching fear that hung over her head every step of the way: whether or not the NHHPP was going to continue to be there for her.

 

When scariest thing about recovery isn’t recovery

 

With the looming possibility of huge cuts to NHHPP funding, working class Americans like Whitney who are struggling with recovery from opioid misuse can easily find themselves without access to everything from mental health services to inpatient treatment programs. Indeed, with so many former opioid users living on the fringes of society, a sudden loss of affordable health coverage carries huge health risks to those who are currently in treatment — a reality that Whitney is already beginning to plan for.

 

“I watch the news and find myself shaking from fear,” she revealed. “I have so much on the line here, and while I trust God and his plan for my life, all of these fears are still there. I have a job that I adore, but there’s no way I would be able to afford my recovery and still have money to put food on the table without Medicaid. It’s a huge part of why I’m aiming to be off Suboxone by the end of the year.  I don’t want to leave anything to chance.”

 

Facing the trials of substance recovery is difficult enough on its own, but the idea of someone hurrying along the pace of that process for fear of losing health insurance coverage was staggering. Though she expressed no concern for herself, she noted that the added stress of losing access to care was exactly the kind of fear that could drive many to “make the same bad decisions that lead them back to always feeling the need to chase a high.”

 

Hope — the ultimate treatment

 

In spite of all that she’s willing to share about her experiences, what’s most impressive about Whitney is the positive outlook that she viewed every aspect of her life through. Whether she was discussing her struggle to get clean or the tension of maintaining health coverage, every word of hers is accompanied by a confident smile that lit up the room.

 

When asked what she would say to someone who saw Medicaid spending as an expensive handout in need of trimming, she paused for a moment, flashed that humble grin and replied, “The growth I’ve had since 2014 has been tremendous. Every day I tell myself that this entire struggle is only temporary. So, I would tell them that I’m going to be dynamite someday, but just give me one more year.”
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Goodwin Holds 8th Annual Fathers Day 5k

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Dover, NH, June 1, 2017 – On Sunday June 18th, Goodwin Community Health will stage its 8th annual Father’s Day 5K at Margaritas Mexican Restaurant in Dover. With registration still open, the Somersworth community health center invites area residents of all experience levels to run, jog, or walk with them as they celebrate fatherhood in all of its forms. Sponsored by New Hampshire Healthy Families, Pelmac Industries, and Margaritas, all proceeds from the annual event will go toward the work that Goodwin does to bring quality and affordable healthcare to the residents of Greater Strafford County.

 

The Father’s Day 5K is a proud member of the Dover Race Series and takes place on a certified course, complete with complimentary breakfast burritos and other Margaritas-style food and fiesta after the race.

Margs

This year, Goodwin’s annual 5K comes on heels of the organization’s announced intention to merge with Families First Health and Support Center of Portsmouth. By joining forces, the two groups plan to pioneer a regionalized delivery system to deliver integrated care to the Seacoast.

“There are big things on the horizon for the way Goodwin and Families First serve their respective communities, but family-friendly traditions like the Father’s Day 5K are a reminder of deep hometown roots that Goodwin has planted in this neighborhood,” says Travis R. Morin, Goodwin’s Marketing Director and first time 5K Race Director.

“Organizing a 5K is a new experience for me, but with all of the amazing support from the community this race almost seems to ‘run’ itself – pun intended!”

Those looking to participate in this year’s race can follow this link for details and registration.  Registration forms can be completed online, or printed out and mailed to Goodwin Community Health at 311 Route 108 in Somersworth. Same day registration is available beginning at 8:00am and the race will begin at 9:00am. Day of registration is $25.00 dollars, but advanced registration is only $20.00 for adults and $5.00 for children under twelve.  All participants are encouraged to wear a necktie to honor fathers, grandfathers, and other father-figures that play a special role in our lives.

The top male and female runner will each win a $50.00 gift certificate to Runners Alley.  Gift certificates to Philbrick’s Sports will go to the top males and females in each of the twelve age divisions:  14 and under, 15-19,  20-24, 25-29,  30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-55, 55-59, 60-69, and 70+.

Proud

New Hampshire Healthy Families -a health care enterprise that helps to bring affordable and reliable health care plans to Granite Staters- joins Pelmac Industries and Margaritas as the 5K’s top sponsors.  Additional sponsors include: Philbrick’s Sports, Liberty Mutual, Convenient MD, Well Sense Health Plan, Service Credit Union, Garrison Women’s Health, Northeast Credit Union, Clark Insurance, Quest Diagnostics, Runner’s Alley, Dover Women’s Health, and Dead River Company.

Goodwin Community Health is the only 501©(3) Community Health Center serving the Greater Strafford County area of New Hampshire and Maine.  They make it affordable for local people to access the wellness services and quality primary care that lead to good physical, dental and behavioral health. For more information on the Father’s Day 5K visit www.GoodwinCH.org or www.doverraceseries.com.

Sponsors

For questions, please contact Travis R. Morin at tmorin@goodwinch.org.

Goodwin Community Health and Families First Announce Intent to Merge

Goodwin Community Health of Somersworth and Families First Health & Support Center of Portsmouth today announced their intent to merge. The boards of directors of both organizations have unanimously agreed to become one organization by the end of 2017.

The strategic merger will create a single, regional organization that improves patient care and health outcomes through clinical integration, increases access to care and services, and positions the new organization to meet the demands of a rapidly changing health care system. It also brings operational efficiencies, economies of scale, and advantages in recruiting and retaining clinical staff.

Both Families First and Goodwin will continue doing business under their current names and at current locations.

Once the merger is complete, Goodwin CEO Janet Laatsch will lead the merged organization as CEO. Laatsch, who has expertise in finance and nursing, has served as CEO since 2005. Helen Taft, Families First Executive Director since 1989, will retire once the transition is complete.

During a deliberate three-year planning process, the organizations identified serious health care challenges in the region. These include high levels of chronic disease, lack of access to behavioral health and substance abuse treatment, provider shortages and an aging population — all in an increasingly complex and uncertain health-care landscape. The merger will boost the health centers’ ability to meet these challenges while expanding access to integrated primary, behavioral, prenatal and dental care; substance misuse services; public health and wellness services; and parent and family programs

“We are excited about what this merger will offer our patients,” says Laatsch. “This is a tremendous evolution for both organizations and will ultimately benefit patients by broadening our position in community health care and sharing best practices. Throughout the process of becoming a single organization, our focus will be on continued patient-centered care to every single Families First and Goodwin Community Health patient.”

Helen Taft says, “My goals before retiring have been to position Families First for the future in an ever- evolving health care environment and to maintain our mission and ability to respond to community needs. I am confident that we will achieve these goals through this reorganization into a larger entity.”

Goodwin and Families First share similar heritages and values and nearly identical missions. Both non-profit Community Health Centers began as prenatal clinics and later expanded to offer integrated primary care, dental and behavioral health services. They also share a 30-year history of collaborating on best practices, staffing solutions, and population health programs, like mobile health care, to meet the needs of their adjoining service areas in southeastern New Hampshire and southern Maine.

Public forums to share more detailed information and address questions will be held at Goodwin Community Health, at 311 Route 108 in Somersworth, on June 21 at 5:30 p.m, and at Families First, at 100 Campus Drive in Portsmouth, on June 22 at 5 p.m. All are welcome.

The merged organization will include Families First facilities in Portsmouth and Seabrook, Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, and mobile health clinics in five Seacoast towns. For more information on the organizations and merger plans, visit GoodwinCH.org or FamiliesFirstSeacoast.org.

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Room to Heal With Goodwin — Sheri McSheehy

Picture1The Japanese have a saying: a person is whatever room they’re in. On the day of March 20th, 2017, Sheri McSheehy was in a Goodwin Community Health conference room full of policy makers and muffins.

A patient and former member of the Goodwin Board of Directors, Sheri had come to the morning’s Legislative Breakfast to share her story with the state representatives in attendance – a story that began almost two years ago with what she thought was a migraine.

“In October of 2015, I had a bad headache which turned out to be a brain bleed from a brain aneurysm,” remarked Sheri in front of a packed room of policy makers. “They sent me to Maine Medical for a few weeks, but when I got home it was a six month wait to see a neurologist. So I came to Goodwin and said ‘Ok, what do we do?’”

A 38 year native of Strafford County, Sheri and her husband Jack had been Goodwin patients for over two decades; coming in for everything from primary care to the birth of their youngest daughter. Both self-employed, Jack as a carpenter and Sheri the owner-operator of a local restaurant, Goodwin’s model of affordable patient care fit right into the family’s way of life. She’d go on to join the Board of Directors and play an active role in the building of the new Somersworth facility, all while she was going back to school and achieving her lifelong dream of becoming a massage therapist. But her 2015 aneurysm and the road to recovery had other plans for Sheri.

“I missed massage terribly and I was so angry from being without it — everything I worked for was lost,” she recalled. “But through counseling and my physical therapy, I saw that my life wasn’t over.”

Sheri spoke warmly of the Goodwin doctors, physical therapists, and counselors who have been by her side these past few years, but she credits much of her success to Goodwin’s Whole Health Action Management (WHAM) program: a weekly patient-led support group that puts an emphasis on setting achievable goals for those recovering from long-term illnesses or disabilities. Without costing its participants a single dime, WHAM provides patients with a compassionate hub of friends and neighbors, each of whom understand that potent role that a sense of community plays for striving to heal.

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While she views WHAM as the turning point in her struggle against the chronic headaches and fatigue that come after an aneurysm, Sheri will tell you that even a support group can come with its own share of obstacles.

“I remember the first night I was there for a meeting: we were in a large conference room and right next door was a meeting of the very Board of Directors that I sat on before my aneurysm. I stopped and thought to myself ‘I’m in the wrong room.’ But then I realized that anyone can have a setback like this: it doesn’t matter who you are or how much money you make. Yeah, I felt broken — but I know I’m gonna get fixed.”

We’re admittedly a little biased, but from our point of view any room Sheri is in is always the right room.

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Goodwin Doctors Honored at One Voice Addiction Summit

Goodwin celebrates our very own Dr. Kevin Zent and Dr. Joann Buonomano for receiving the Champion in Action award!

Presented to the duo for their long-held commitment to providing excellent integrated care to underserved residents of Stafford County, Doctors Zent and Buonomano exemplify Goodwin’s drive to overcome the barriers that stand in the way of a healthier life for all.

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From left to right: ONE Voice for Strafford County Public Health Director Melissa Silvey, Dr. Joann Buonomano, and Dr. Kevin Zent
New ACA & NHPP Graphic

Special Enrollment Period for Insurance Coverage — What You Need to Know

Special Enrollment Period — Quick Takes

While the 2017 Open Enrollment Period for insurance purchased through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace may be over, you can still enroll in a new plan or change your current plan if you have a life event that qualifies you for the Special Enrollment Period.

How do you know if you’re eligible for the Special Enrollment Period?

This tool from the Healthcare.Gov website will help you determine your eligibility, but you may qualify if you’ve experienced any of these “qualifying life events”:

ACA Qualifying Life Events

 

If you qualify to receive coverage through the New Hampshire Health Protection Program (Medicaid,) you can enroll at any point in the year. To see if you qualify for Medicaid, click here to navigate to the NH Department of Health and Human Services website.

Have questions? Give us a call at (603) 516-2556 to speak to one of our Navigators and set up an appointment.

Friday’s Addiction Summit to Focus on NH Workforce

OPIOID  TASKFORCE OF STRAFFORD COUNTY SEVENTH  ANNUAL ADDICTION SUMMIT WILL FOCUS ON WORKFORCE

Gov.  Sununu & local businesses highlight prevention & recovery practices in the workplace 

 SOMERSWORTH, N.H. – On April 7th, 2017 at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, ONE Voice for Strafford County , will host “NH Addiction Summit Legislative and Business Breakfast: Investing in the Future” ONE Voice is the leading organization that convenes the Opioid Taskforce of Strafford County to reduce the consumption and consequence of opioid through prevention, treatment and recovery supports in Strafford County’s 13 communities.  This is the group’s seventh  annual Summit.

The day’s events will kick off with a 7:30 AM “Investing in the Future” Legislative and Business Breakfast to be attended by Gov. Chris Sununu, who will offer remarks on the important role that proactive substance misuse prevention strategies have to play in keeping New Hampshire’s workforce strong.

Following the Governor’s address, local business experts will present an overview of the intervention practices related to addiction in the workplace in the Seacoast and Strafford County.  “Business can impact exceptional Returns on Investment by creating substance free workplaces,” says Chris Placy, owner of Substance Free Workplace and Taskforce member.

After the breakfast, the NH Addiction Summit begins at 9:30.  This year’s theme is, “ Community Solutions: Everyone has a Role.”  The summit features a panel discussion led by Granite Staters in recovery through multiple pathways, breakout sessions on a host of addiction-related topics.  The keynote address is a lineup of experts within the region’s substance misuse field:

Dr. Meredith Norris, Medical Director for Grace Street Recovery of Portland, ME

  • Tym Rourke, Chairman of the Governor’s Commissionon Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery and Director of SUD Grantmaking at the NH Charitable Foundation
  • Devin Rowe, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free NH
  • Dr. Lucas Kolm, Emergency Medical Physician at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

“On a per capita basis, Strafford County consistently feels the sharpest blow from the state’s opioid crisis,” remarked ONE Voice for Strafford County Public Health Director Melissa Silvey. “It’s easy to get lost in the headlines out of Manchester or Nashua, but the annual Addiction Summit makes clear that this is a systemic problem that’s destroying lives through every corner of the Granite State – and solutions must begin within local communities.”

Local business owners as well as professionals in education, government, health care, and public safety are encouraged to attend this annual free event.  This year’s breakfast and summit are at capacity and registration is closed.ONE Voice for Strafford County supports youths, families, educators, and communities who are committed to the prevention of alcohol and drug use. For more, visit OneVoiceNH.org.

CONTACT: One Voice for Strafford County and Public Health Director Melissa Silvey, (603)866-0235 or info@onevoicenh.org

Health Care Legislative Breakfast at Goodwin

On Monday March 20th, 2017 more than 20 Strafford County elected official gathered at Goodwin for a breakfast forum to here first hand accounts of the state of Community Health from Goodwin doctors and patients.  Janet Laatsch, Goodwin CEO also presented on the growth of the organization, positive outcomes, and current and anticipated opportunities and challenges.

Read Foster’s Daily Democrat coverage of the event here

NEW: Anxiety Reduction Group to Start February 16th

Goodwin is launching a new group for patients that will focus on education, anxiety reduction, and coping skills to help manage and reduce daily stress and symptoms. If interested, please fill the Anxiety Group Application and bring it to the Goodwin front desk, email it to rsutton@GoodwinCH.org or fax it to 603-749-2748.

Anxiety Group flyer (2)

The Group will meet on Thursdays from 5:00pm– 6:30pm.  It begins on February 16th and will run  for 8-12 weeks.

This group is for Goodwin patients who are 18 years of age or older; any gender is welcome. Insurance will be billed accordingly.  Insurance and self pay accepted. For more information please contact Rima Sutton at 603-749-2346 ext 542

 

Tri-City Subaru Share the Love Campaign Returns to Benefit Goodwin Community Health

Tri-City Subaru in Somersworth has again selected Goodwin Community Health as its local charity of choice for its annual, “Share the Love” campaign.  From November 17, 2016 to January 3, 2017, Tri-City Subaru customers buying or leasing a new Subaru will have the option of directing a $250 donation to Goodwin Community Health from Subaru of America.  Goodwin Community Health is a non-profit Community Health Center in Somersworth that helps the people of Strafford County access health and wellness services like primary, dental, behavioral and prenatal care, regardless of age, ethnicity or social-economic status.

 

During last year’s Share the Love Campaign, Tri-City Subaru raised $21,698 to help Strafford County families’ access quality health care services at Goodwin Community Health. “When Tri-City Subaru customers select Goodwin Community Health for their donation, it directly benefits local families and allows them to get much needed healthcare visits with dentists and doctors” said Jordan Plante, General Manager, Tri-City Subaru. “We are proud to participate in Subaru’s Share the Love Campaign, it has a big impact nationally and gives Tri-City an opportunity to do good in our local community by helping our friends and neighbors access healthcare services through Goodwin that may otherwise be unavailable.”

 

By the end of this year’s event, Subaru hopes to exceed a grand total of $90 million donated since the creation of Share the Love. Nationally, the program is entering its ninth year. Customers have the choice of the 5 national charities or a hometown charity selected by the local Subaru retailer. In the case of our local Subaru retailer, Tri-City Subaru, the hometown charity of choice is Goodwin Community Health.  This year, 660 hometown charities like Goodwin will be represented in the event.
About Goodwin Community Health

Goodwin Community Health is the only FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) in the Strafford County area to provide access to primary, dental, prenatal, and behavioral health care as well as community wellness and public health services. Goodwin Community Health empowers people to maximize health and well-being and strives to make its array of programs and health services integrated, convenient, high quality, affordable and easy to access.  Find them at 311 Route 108 in Somersworth or online at GoodwinCH.org or on Facebook at  facebook.com/GoodwinCommunityHealth.

About Subaru of America, Inc.

Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered at a zero-landfill office in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts, and accessories through a network of more than 620 retailers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants, and Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. For additional information, visit media.subaru.com.