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Program to offer resource network

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

NCCARE360, the first statewide coordinated care network, will be rolled out today in Edgecombe County as part of the next wave of implementation across the state of North Carolina.

The program, which is the result of a public-private partnership between the state Department of Health and Human Services and the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation, will offer hospitals, doctor’s offices and nonprofit organizations better access to resources in the community to help find solutions for patients and clients in need of services. NCCARE360 will allow these organizations to electronically connect people with identified needs to community resources and allow for feedback on the outcome of that connection.

“NCCARE360 is a uniform network for providers to coordinate care. This initiative makes connecting people with community resources much easier. It is designed to focus on the person and help them access the services and resources they need to be healthy,” said Mary Scott Anderson, community impact coordinator at the United Way Tar River Region.

Megan Carlson will be the community engagement manager with NCCARE360 for Edgecombe County, Anderson said.

The United Way is acting as implementation partners for NCCARE360, facilitating the roll out, enrollment and establishing connections between community partners in the Twin Counties. 

Though the program is not yet available in Nash County, that roll out is expected to take place in September, Anderson said. While the program will be used primarily by health care professionals and nonprofit organizations, it will benefit residents by providing a better connection to resources and by streamlining the process.

“The individual’s information will be captured once and shared on his or her behalf so they don’t have to endure repeating personal details over and over. United Way is excited about this opportunity for North Carolina,” Anderson said.

As an example, Anderson said, if a doctor feels that a patient is suffering because they do not have access to enough nutritious food, they can use the NCCARE360 to help locate food banks or other resources for the patient. They can later follow up by seeing if the patient actually connected with those resources to get the help they need.

The program also will help hospitals as patients are released.

“For instance, if a patient is hospitalized for frostbite, the reason for that frostbite might be that they are homeless. NCCARE360 would allow staff members to refer the patients to organizations like United Christian Ministries, find out if they have availability and send the patient to a place where they can get the help they need,” Anderson said.

There is growing recognition that better coordination and investment in the non-medical drivers of health — like access to healthy food, safe and affordable housing and well-paying jobs — can improve health and decrease health care costs, according to the DHHS. The NCCARE360 system is designed to make community resources easier for people to navigate.

“Providers often operate in siloes, are disconnected and have no meaningful way of coordinating services for local residents. NCCARE360 is collaborative solution to this problem by providing a coordinated, community-oriented, person-centered approach to delivering care in North Carolina,” the DHHS website states.

For more information about the implementation of NCCARE360 in Edgecombe County, contact Anderson at  252-937-2213 x 204 or maryscottanderson@unitedwaytrr.org.

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