Schuyler Discusses New Care System, Prenatal Screening

Chautauqua County has a new county-wide system of care directed toward young children born affected by prenatal exposure.

On Thursday, Christine Schuyler, director commissioner of social services and public health director, discussed the new system that was developed during a four-day period by local health care professionals and other county stakeholders. The new system is geared toward improving the serious emotional and behavioral problems of early childhood due to prenatal exposure to alcohol and drugs.

Schuyler said in 2014 county health department officials started to notice more reports following births showing parental substance abuse. She said Dr. Ira Chasnoff and members of the Leadership Institute were invited to the county to assist with the development of the new system of care aimed at children from the age of zero to five.

“Its an actual true system change,” Schuyler said. “Were on the verge for something phenomenal for out county.”

Schuyler said the new system is about improving third-grade reading scores, improving graduation rates and fewer children in the juvenile justice system. She said the new system has developed the right assessment tools to provide the right treatment.

The new system is known as SART, which stands for screening, assessment, referral and treatment. There are three guiding concerns that include the health and well-being of children and families, especially those affected by the use and misuse of an legal or illegal substances; the success of the care provider; and the responsible allocation and oversight of resources so as to enhance the quality of life for children and families.

Schuyler said the vision is to have children from the age of zero to five be healthy, and their families being informed, engaged and supported through universal and uniform screening of children. She said all children will have access to timely and responsive care that will allow them to achieve their inherent potential.

In other HCAT business, the group also heard from Becky Robbins and Trenton Lutes of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities. Both BPU employees are part of the health and wellness team at the city-owned utility. The BPU was named one of the “Healthiest Companies In America” by Interactive Health in 2018.

Lutes said the BPU health and wellness program is a point-based program. He said participants can lower how much they pay for health insurance. He added in 2017 they had 54 percent participating, but that increased to 69 percent in 2018.

The BPU has a self funded insurance program, Lutes said. He said spouses and retirees can join because they’re a part of the health insurance coverage.

HCAT, which is a subcommittee of the Jamestown Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission, was formed to focus on the impact of health care on development in the community, as well as accessible, high-quality health care for residents. Partners on the team consist of City Council members; various foundations; UPMC Chautauqua WCA; Jamestown Area Medical Associates; The Resource Center; Jamestown Primary Care; Chautauqua County Health Network; The Chautauqua Center; Mental Health Association of Chautauqua County; Workforce Investment Board; SUNY Fredonia; Jamestown Community College Nursing Program; and Chautauqua County Health & Human Services and Mental Hygiene departments.