“CONNECT”ing in Lincoln County
As part of the PFS grant, we are supporting and recruiting for CONNECT. CONNECT is a free referral system for service providers in Montana. A provider would be anyone that offers a necessary support service to families, children, or adults. The network allows information or referrals to be shared between service providers. This information DOES NOT include patient files. The goal of CONNECT is to reduce common barriers for external referrals and increase client uptake services. It reduces duplication of services and has an easily trackable history and documentation of patient contact and progress.
In Lincoln County, we had a kickoff event on February 28th. There were 20 people that showed up; we also had a joint virtual presentation 2 other days, where approximately 8 people from Lincoln and Sanders Counties attended online. Attendees were given a history of CONNECT, a success story of Lincoln County, and a demonstration on the system. People were also able to suggest others for us to contact; these are businesses, agencies, and people they provide referrals to or receive referrals from.
The Cardiac Unit at Cabinet Peaks Medical Center (CPMC) stated they were not receiving all of the referrals from Kalispell Regional Hospital (KRH). Lincoln County residents are commonly sent to KRH for heart attacks and surgeries. Since joining CONNECT, the hospital stated they are receiving over 85% referral rate. Referrals were getting lost in being sent to wrong number, faxed to number no longer in service, and just a loss of referral somewhere in the system. Now, they are sent to “gate keepers” who reply back to KRH that they received the referral, the patient has/had been contacted, and that they are receiving services. (Cardiac and diabetes programs are required by grants that they receive to take part in CONNECT.)
Agencies are also able to do some customizing of their referral to meet the needs of their organization. They are able to put in their profile if they accept certain insurances, ages, and what services they do provide. An organization is also able to print or look at reports such as referral delays to an agency, number of referrals, and referral outcomes.
Like Parenting Montana, CONNECT can be a great tool to break the ice with agencies you may not have thought of or are having a hard time breaking through to. In Lincoln County, I have spoken to realtors, the mortuary, drug court, Adult Protective Services, day care centers, and service organizations to name a few. I am planning on having 2 booths at the upcoming health fair; Parenting Montana and CONNECT. Schools, medical providers, social service agencies, law enforcement, churches, and nursing homes are also good agencies to approach.
Even if your grant does not have CONNECT in your strategies, you can still be a great ambassador for CONNECT! Attend a training to familiarize yourself, go online and educate yourself, and let your county CONNECT leader some organizations to contact! This is a great resource and tool for Montana! It links the community to services!
For more information:
[email protected] for someone from the State of Montana team.