(MEDFORD, OR 7/24/19). In partnership with six other community-based nonprofit organizations, Rogue Community Health (Rogue) launched a collaborative in 2016 known as the “Rogue Challenge.” Its purpose was to help community members access resources and to reduce the complexity of varying eligibility requirements among multiple organizations. Today, the Rogue Challenge has eight participating partners and proudly boasts that 82 percent of its referrals for member appointments are completed.
Rogue Challenge partners include the Eagle Point School District, YMCA of Medford, Grants Pass School District, Siskiyou Community Health Center, OnTrack Rogue Valley, Family Nurturing Center, Southern Oregon GoodWill, Southern Oregon Head Start and Rogue Community Health. Utilizing Lifespan software, the Rogue Challenge is leveraging technology in a closed-loop system known as the “Community Hub” to track member referrals among its partners to address both medical and social determinants needs. While the Community Hub is still in its early stages of development, the participating organizations are already seeing benefits from adoption of the model.
In the Eagle Point School District, School Care Coordinator and Rogue Community Health employee, Nikki Day, is busy connecting students with resources. “I have about 50 students, and their families, identified to benefit from the Community Hub referral system,” said Day. “And I am in the process of contacting parents/guardians of students in the Eagle Point School District to gain consent to assist and coordinate resources to support each individual, as needed.”
There are many barriers people face when accessing healthcare: geographic (where they live), transportation, cost, service and provider shortages. Rural residents typically have a significant disadvantage to receiving healthcare services. “It is important to bring awareness to families in the community so that they know support is available,” adds Day. Once Day has a signed consent to help a student, she determines the resources that are needed and begins the referral process using Lifespan software. One of the benefits of the closed-loop referral system is that it does not require follow-up because the Lifespan software allows for shared communication and notification that the referral has been received and that the initial appointment is complete.
“I want to be a safe person for students to talk with and to make sure they get the services they need,” states Day. “I have always wanted to work with youth; I feel the greatest impact can be made during these early years, and that is what really instills change.”
By creating a system where individuals, families and service providers all feel a greater sense of belonging, and people are better equipped to access the resources they need to thrive.