December 2, 2021

Closing in on IRT date

County looks to continue health care effort after event

Senior Airman Julia Santiago/U.S. Air National Guard

U.S. Army Sgt. Adrianna Oliveira places a protective eye cover on Shelley Yang, 7, during the Healthy Cortland event at Homer Intermediate School in Homer, July 18, 2016. Service members provided no-cost medical, dental, optometry, and veterinary care to local residents. They’ll return to Homer July 11 to 20.

The Cortland County Health Department will use a week-long medical event as a way to get people connected with other community resources, according to a health department official.

“The goal at the end is to have everyone hooked up with a provider or resource,” said Catherine Feuerherm, the director of the county health department.

Around 200 military medical providers will come to Homer July 11 to 20 to provide health and dental care at no cost to patients. About 200 more providers will work in Norwich in Chenango County for Chenango Cares Innovative Readiness Training.

Feuerherm said many people have a primary doctor, but may not be set up with a dental or optometry provider. It’s the health department’s goal to change that.

As people leave, Feuerherm said, staff at tables will sign people up for follow-up appointments with local providers, get a radon test kit, get information of health issues like chlamydia and get trained to use naloxone, the drug to reverse an opioid overdose.

The details

• When: July 11-20
Where: Homer Intermediate School, 58 Clinton St., Homer Dental or vet appointments Call 211 from inside Cortland County or 877-211-8667 if from outside the county from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Other services
Walk-ins are available for physicals, eye exams, screenings, nutrition counseling, testing for cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Other veterinarian services include deworming and vaccinations.

Volunteer orientation
Volunteers must attend at least one orientation

When: 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. Monday; 10 a.m., 2 or 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Where: Homer Senior High School Auditorium, 80 S. West Road Homer

The military personnel are likely to provide services to at least as many people as they did in 2016, when they provided 7,613 services to 1,807 patients, including making and distributing 725 eyeglasses, vaccinating 727 pets for rabies and spaying or neutering 168 pets at no cost to participants, Cortland County planners said. That was more than $850,000 in health care.

Patients can come from anywhere. The 2016 event saw patients from Onondaga County and farther away, too.

This year’s event is the second largest IRT hosted event in 2019, behind IRT Puerto Rico with its 517 medical providers.

People will be able to walk in for things like optometry services and physicals. However, appointments are needed for spay and neuter veterinary and dental services. Only nine male cat appointments remain available, said Seven Valleys Health Coalition Assistant Director Susan Williams. Williams said there are still a number of dental appointment times open, though.

“The first two days are totally booked,” she said.

Organizers have filled 71% of the volunteer shifts available. The Healthy Cortland website states that volunteer registration has closed.

Williams said a small group of military personnel will arrive Saturday with the rest following Monday to begin setup. Homer Police Chief Robert Pitman said he doesn’t expect any traffic issues related to the event.

“With traffic, I’m not highly concerned,” he said. “The patient flow was in and out the last time and we had over flow parking set up.”

Pitman said when people arrive at Homer Intermediate School, someone will direct them where to go. The main entrance will be for medical services and another entrance will be set up for vet services.