This letter is to strongly recommend community support for several of Waveny LifeCare Network’s innovative proposals to the town for ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds being considered for funding.
These funds from the State ARPA grants have already been received by the town to address direct health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several weeks ago, Leo Karl, Board Chairman of the Waveny LIfeCare Network, wrote a comprehensive proposal to the town officials and media that outlined factually and in detail the town’s strategic needs for these new Waveny health and economic programs. The Waveny proposal and Mr. Karl’s request was to support four vital Waveny LifeCare Network programs. I wish to highlight and emphasize special support of two of these programs, which as a long time member of the Town Health & Human Services Commission, I personally feel are critical to receiving a portion of the town ARPA funding:
1) Creating a new Entry-Level Local Healthcare Jobs Training Center at Waveny in New Canaan. It is well known that due to the pandemic, there is a shortage of nurses and trained healthcare workers on a national, state and New Canaan centric level. The principal focus of this New Canaan-based school would be to continually train Nursing and Healthcare Aides. The school will be taught by accredited professionals and would be held on Waveny’s Farm Road campus. Participants would be in class half the day and in hands-on practical training with Waveny staff the remainder of the day. The strategic goal of Waveny’s innovative school is to develop an employer driven training program to create sustainable local jobs in the healthcare field. This program meets a major community need & provides an economic multiplier for the Town of New Canaan
2) Creating Expanded New Telehealth, Telemonitoring and Telepsychiatry programs. In the spirit of community collaboration, this program would complement not only the current Waveny Telehealth Medical & Mental Healthcare monitoring, Silver Hill Telehealth and as well as the Town Seniors’ Telehealth Wellness Program. This emerging telehealth technology has demonstrated the capability to improve health care and reduce healthcare costs. Telehealth technology is now broadly accepted by the patient and the healthcare industry. These technology enabled health management programs have demonstrated ways to better serve a cross section of our community, including our seniors, identified high risk households, special needs children, and individuals requiring mental & behavioral interventions as they arise. The programs can also help support the town EMS, Police and other town Health & Human Services as required, operating within regulatory HIPPA & confidentiality patient information guidelines.
As was reported on the town websites and papers, the Town Health & Human Services Commission earlier this year discussed recommending to the Town grant process any special health & human service oriented applications of the ARPA funds. As Waveny is the town’s largest healthcare provider, over the past two years there are numerous examples of where Waveny has stepped up and collaborated with the many Town services in providing and executing a variety of COVID testing and vaccinating programs. Much of the Waveny COVID service work has not been reimbursed, and has been paid for by Waveny as a community contribution. Training of entry level healthcare workers and expanding Telehealth technology service development are definitively meaningful investments of the town ARPA funds.
I personally recommend the Board of Selectmen and Town Council expedite approval of the Waveny LifeCare Network ARPA funding.
James L. Lisher
Member, Health & Human Services Commission
Steve Benko was larger than life.
Unforgettable and irreplaceable in every way imaginable. The things Steve did for this town over the course of his five decades as Recreation Director will never be truly known. The impact he had on thousands and thousands of lives cannot ever be truly measured.
Steve was easily the most recognizable person in New Canaan. He was everywhere. Sometimes you thought there had to be more than one of him.
But anyone lucky enough to know him also knows…there was only one Steve Benko.
That smile, that energy…he just never stopped moving. And everything he did, he did because he loved this town. And this town loved him in return. You can see it from the many tributes posted online – service, commitment, giving, selfless.
It is impossible to imagine New Canaan without Steve Benko. Because New Canaan would not be the special place that it is had it not been for Steve Benko. He embodied everything our organization stands for.
Again, Steve Benko was larger than life. And because of that, he lives on – even after his life here has ended.
Our thoughts, prayers and love to Sue, Elaine, Dave and the rest of the Benko family.
On behalf of the New Canaan Old Timers Association