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Westchester TIPS Program Piloted By Pace Wins National Award

Dr. Jean Coppola helped pilot the county's award winning tips program at Pace.
Dr. Jean Coppola helped pilot the county's award winning tips program at Pace. Photo Credit: Pace University

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y .-- Westchester County announced last week that its program designed to help seniors monitor their health care has won a national achievement award.

TIPS (Telehealth Intervention Program for Seniors) was selected for a 2016 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award. TIPS recently provided its 20,000th monitoring service to one of the more than 600 seniors who participate in the program.

“TIPS empowers seniors be active partners in their own health care,” County Executive Rob Astorino said. “Our goal is to help them manage their own conditions, avoid emergency situations and reduce unplanned hospital visits. Skyrocketing healthcare costs require us to be innovative, and TIPS is at the forefront. We like to say that TIPS is ‘high-tech and high-touch’ because it combines the best of both worlds for the benefit of our seniors.”

TIPS was launched in 2014 and is geared to seniors who are low income and have multiple chronic health conditions.

It offers clinical screening of blood pressure, pulse, oxygen levels and weight at least once a week, the results of which are monitored remotely and discussed at each session as well as a benefits assessment to make sure seniors are aware of available programs. Seniors are also work with student nurses, social work students and undergraduate volunteers.

The program was funded by a three-year $1.4 million grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation with additional support from the county. The program is available at senior sites in White Plains, Yonkers, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon and Mount Pleasant.

A recent $150,000 grant from the AARP Foundation has resulted in two additional senior housing sites in Ossining and Port Chester as well as additional services for the program.

The program was was initially piloted with Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science & Information Systems and Vital Care Services, a privately held telehealth provider. The success of the pilot resulted in expanding the program.

Dr. Jean Coppola, associate professor at the Seidenberg School said that these programs help save on health care costs and also helps save lines.

"Our TIPS programs has many case studies that show it has saved people from unplanned trips to the ER or worse," Coppola said. It is so rewarding knowing we are significantly helping so many older adults."

At Pace, students teach and are trained in terms of sensitivity toward older adults before they go out in the community, learning how it feels to be a senior citizen with various props and simulations.

To learn more about TIPS, contact Colette Phipps at cap2@westchestergov.com or (914) 813-6441 or visit westchestergov.com/seniors.

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