TeleHealth, TelePsych services for Groton

Groton Community Health Care Center’s Unit 2 Assistant Unit Manager Liz Weller (left) and Unit 1 Assistant Unit Manager Stacey Perrine, shown with one of the two new state-of-the-art TeleHealth and TelePsych systems.
Groton Community Health Care Center’s Unit 2 Assistant Unit Manager Liz Weller (left) and Unit 1 Assistant Unit Manager Stacey Perrine, shown with one of the two new state-of-the-art TeleHealth and TelePsych systems.
Photo by Linda Competillo

The building at 120 Sykes St. is most often referred to as “The Groton Nursing Home,” but that establishment is actually the “Groton Community Health Care Center” and is so much more than that.

When the residents of Groton came together to establish and build it in the early 1980s, they likely had no idea how exponentially their vision would grow to what it has become today, and when I visited with its president and CEO, Nasar Khan, last week, I was impressed to discover how much has been accomplished in just the past four years that he has been at the helm there.

One of the most recent additions to the GCHCC are the state-of-the-art TeleHealth and TelePsych services that were unveiled in mid-November at a special ribbon-cutting ceremony, at which Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton and a representative from Sen. James Seward’s office were in attendance.

Although Seward could not be present at the event, both he and Lifton conveyed their congratulations and support for this huge milestone in the GCHCC’s history.

This pilot program is the first and only one in Tompkins and surrounding counties. The systems are equipped with an otoscope, dermascope and Bluetooth-enabled stethoscopes and can be used for both TeleHealth consults and TelePsych services.

Khan said he is grateful to the entire staff at GCHCC for all their hard work and ability to adapt and embrace this new technology that will enable the center to manage resident care more efficiently. TeleHealth will potentially reduce hospital admissions and re-admissions, saving thousands of healthcare dollars, and TelePsych will be invaluable, as there is a shortage of mental health providers in our area.

The GCHCC includes an 80-bed skilled nursing facility with long-term 24/7 care with dedicated primary care physicians and a short-term rehabilitation center that offers a plethora of therapy services including rehabilitative, physical, speech and occupational, as well as a full gamut of diagnostic testing.

The center also offers hospice and palliative care and respite care, whereby family caregivers can take a break from their caregiving duties while their loved ones still receive the care they need.

Many may not be aware that the center also oversees two separate IRAs (Individualized Residential Alternative): community residences (one in Groton and one in Ithaca) that provide room and board, food and medical care for developmentally disabled adults, and group and individualized activities offered for residents.

Khan said he applied for the position four years ago because, “I always believed in the mission behind not-for-profit healthcare and serving the community, so this was a perfect opportunity for me.”

One of the first things he undertook when he started was an update to the center’s mission and vision statements, taking ideas from the entire staff to come up with the most relevant and inclusive statements possible.

Its mission: Groton Community Health Care Center is a non-profit committed to serving the community providing compassionate and exceptional care through rehabilitation, skilled nursing and community-based programs.

Its vision is to excel as the community’s provider of choice through innovation, commitment, continuous improvement and excellence.

Khan also came up with an acronym, PRIDE, which hangs framed in the center’s conference room and seems to sum up everything quite well.
Professionalism characterizes adherence to standards of performance. Khan said the center considers each member of its team a professional in their position of serving residents. Respect is the cornerstone of the center’s actions. Khan said they honor and appreciate their residents and each other.

Integrity, or honesty, is the best policy and the foundation of the center’s service. Dedication means commitment to serving residents, families, staff, volunteers and visitors. Excellence and high quality of care is what the center strives for in its objectives and service outcomes.

“Our staff is second to none,” Khan said. “They all really care about the residents and patients that we serve.”

Another major undertaking that was accomplished shortly after Khan’s arrival was a major IT infrastructure upgrade which included a new network to support a new Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system, making the entire facility Wi-Fi enabled to support new touch screen kiosks for CNAs and notebooks on the med carts for nurses. Khan said the facility was primarily run on paper prior to this much-needed upgrade.

Khan is also proud to have added two state-of-the-art handicap-accessible vans for the IRA facilities.

At the time when those were procured, Khan said he believed the vans would be a great addition to the services provided to the residents that are person-centered.

“Now residents in both IRAs will be able to have a comfortable, safe, reliable and state-of-the-art handicap-accessible van for their use,” he said.

Khan would also like the community to know that the center always welcomes the public to come to visit, be it for a tour of the facilities or to connect with the dynamic Therapeutic Recreation Department to volunteer to visit residents, read to them, play games or any other activities of interest.
The GCHCC can be an option for your personal philanthropy as well.

“The giving of time is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give us, and the gift of giving goes both ways when people commit to it,” Khan said.

Khan said that the center was just recently awarded a competitive New York State Department of Health grant to subsidize an independent outpatient therapy clinic, which it expects to have completed sometime in 2021.

Groton on the Inside appears weekly. Submit news ideas to Linda Competillo, or 607-227-4922.

In brief:

Santa at the library

The Friends of the Groton Public Library are hosting Santa Claus on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Santa will be at the library to greet children, give them a free book and pose for photos.

Ridge Runners spaghetti supper

The Ridge Runners of Groton Snowmobile Club will hold a spaghetti supper from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 at its clubhouse, 748 Salt Rd., one mile north of Route 90. Meals include all-you-can-eat spaghetti and meatballs, salad bar, dessert bar and beverage. Cost is $9 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and $6 for children age 5-12. Children age 4 and under may eat for free. This is a perfect way to enjoy a unique dining experience in a rustic country setting. Take-out dinners are also available.

Giving opportunities at GCS

The National Junior Honor Society at Groton High School is collecting clothing, shoes, winter gear and hygiene products to start a community closet called “Comfort Closet” to help meet the needs of its students. If you would like to donate, please drop items off in the main office from now until Dec. 20.

Groton Elementary School is collecting can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House (RMH). The RMH makes about 75 cents a pound for the aluminum weight. So far this year, GES has donated 18 one-gallon bags’ worth of tabs - a new record! The House supports families in so many ways by helping families with children who are ill or in need of specialized medical care. The students, families and community are truly helping when they send in the tabs.

Holiday Bazaar

Save the date for the first-ever “Last Minute Holiday Bazaar” from noon to 8 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Hotel Groton! There will be live music, tastings and wellness treatments, along with last-minute shopping opportunities from locally sourced vendors of soaps, leather goods, jewelry, sundries, candles, herbs and more.

They will also offer full-service gift wrapping for charity. Have all your purchases wrapped to utmost beauty with part of the proceeds benefitting our local youth.

Potential vendors may contact for information.


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