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AHMC Employee Honored as 2020 Rural Health Champion of the Year

A UVM Health Network – Alice Hyde Medical Center employee has been recognized for her work promoting health care in rural communities through the organization’s Rural Health Clinic initiative.

Angela Bashaw, Director of Programs and Support for Alice Hyde’s Outpatient Medical Services Team, received the award Wednesday during Adirondack Health Institute’s Leadership Summit. The event was held virtually due to the ongoing public health emergency. Bashaw said she was honored by the award, but pointed out that the hospital’s RHC Initiative was a project that involved many individuals.

“What I’m most proud of is our staff stepping up and doing all the extra things that were required to make this project a success,” said Bashaw. “It showed their desire to do everything possible to ensure our patients get the best care. That’s our dedication to the community and to our patients.”

The Rural Health Clinic program is a federal initiative intended to increase access to primary care services for patients in rural communities. Facilities must meet rigorous guidelines and conditions, including an operations audit by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that focuses on safety protocols, ensuring laboratory programs and services offered to patients, and the use of a team-based approach to primary care services.

Bashaw’s work on Alice Hyde’s RHC initiative began in 2018. Since then, nearly all of Alice Hyde primary care clinics, including all of the hospital’s off-campus health centers (Bessette, Dwyer, Leroux and Tower) have been certified as Rural Health Clinics. Additionally, as part of the CMS-lead audit all the facilities were designated Exemplary Providers – a designation only given to Rural Health Clinics that demonstrate 100 percent compliance with CMS standards for infection control, diagnostic testing and pharmaceutical services. The accreditation is valid for a 3-year period. The most recent clinic to receive accreditation, Alice Hyde’s primary care offices at 183 Park Street, was certified in May.

Bashaw said the team’s ability to continue the RHC initiative during the ongoing pandemic shows the dedication of the clinic’s providers and staff.

“The dedication that our providers and practice staff have to our patients is amazing,” she said. “They’re always looking for ways to best serve our community.”