BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN HEALTH CARE AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT
It is said that a community is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable residents, and in Harford County the Harford County Health Department is helping make our community a little brighter for our folks in need.
In the spring of 2015, the Harford County Health Department was awarded a $320,000 grant from the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission to create the Care Coordination Plus program, a rapid referral program for residents whose health needs extend beyond traditional medical care.
“Often what prevents clients from getting better are barriers outside of medical care such as safe housing, access to food, addiction treatment, mental health services, cancer screenings, assistance with self-care, transportation, or even the ability to connect with others in the community to combat social isolation”, says Kim Proutt, RN Care Coordination Manager for the program.
Since its inception, the Care Coordination Program has received nearly 2,000 referrals for services, with nearly a quarter of those referrals requiring multiple services.
According to Dr. Russell Moy, Harford County Health Officer, “The Care Coordination Plus program is the primary point of entry at the Health Department for clients in need of significant care coordination. Our staff works with the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, Healthy Harford, Beacon Health Center, the Department of Social Services, Harford County Government, and other community partners to ensure that Harford County residents receive the supportive services that enable them to lead a healthier life and keep them out of the hospital. Such care is particularly important for high risk new mothers, veterans, the elderly, victims of domestic abuse, people experiencing homelessness, or those with multiple chronic illnesses such as diabetes, COPD, cancer, or arthritis; many of whom would not achieve ideal health without this program.”
The CC+ program works in tandem with the Healthy Harford WATCH (Wellness Action Teams of Cecil and Harford Counties) program, which serves Medicare eligible seniors with multiple chronic conditions. A WATCH team member is even imbedded in their office. It is an excellent example of agencies collaborating to best serve the residents of our community.
Optimal health care is helping people access appropriate resources within a community to not only feel better, but to be able to take care of themselves and their families. Care Coordination Plus does that by harnessing the power of our community, helping those in need, and connecting people to the services they need.
To find out more information about the Care Coordination Plus program, visit the health department’s website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com.