Spring is here. We can’t smell flowers or hear bees from our work spaces, but, still, there’s a buzz in the air.
Addition of a conference room, reconfiguration of existing work space, and assembly of a new team signal the arrival of new services and new efficiencies. The new services are called Care Coordination. The opportunity to provide them stems from legislation passed last year in which people with disabilities, like mental illness, who receive health care from the Medical Assistance program, were asked to enroll in a Special Needs Basic Care (SNBC) health plan for their care. SNBC is a managed care program, meaning it’s available through different health plans, like UCare.
UCare’s SNBC plan is called UCare Connect. And, they asked us to provide care coordination services for their UCare Connect members. Our staff will help members coordinate care for their medical and mental health conditions while helping them reach wellness goals. Promoting access to primary and preventive care and assuring members get the right care, at the right time, and in the right amount is the ultimate goal.
Providing Care Coordination services for UCare is yet another step toward our strategic goals of increasing access to care and expanding services that minimize use of high-cost healthcare resources. Perhaps that’s why the services make so much sense to Beth Allen, Director of Nursing Services. As a Registered Nurse leading the new team Beth says, “I believe our care coordination services are a natural extension of our strengths as an agency.” Her team will get the chance to demonstrate those strengths when UCare makes its first referrals in June.
The strengths of our residential staff are evident in new efficiencies in our Intensive Residential Treatment and Crisis Services. Recognizing that our nurses needed more space to set up medications for residents, staff devised a plan – reconfiguring existing space to create a Medication Room and Nurse’s office. The new rooms provide space for medication education, consolidated storage of medical supplies, and a readily available place for residents to engage in spontaneous, confidential conversation about medications and psychiatric and medical needs. Though creating the new spaces required reassigning several staff to different offices, Director of Residential and Community Support Services, Mandie Kender, says the effort is paying off. “This is really helping us care for people in the moment,” she says. “The quicker you address something, the more likely it will be resolved. We are trying to create an environment that nurtures and allows immediate care to occur.”