Parrish Medical Center’s Community Health Partnership Provides Health Navigator to the 2-1-1 Brevard Helpline
In 2010, Parrish Medical Center (PMC) initiated the Community Health Partnership to help community members access the health care they needed and to prepare for future healthcare changes. The community-wide partnership works together, behind the scenes, to promote and improve the health and well-being of the region. The partnership combines the efforts of more than 40 members representing health and human services, municipalities, schools, civic groups, nongovernmental social service agencies, businesses, local and state associations, churches, state departments, law enforcement, fire departments, libraries and community residents. Each organization was chosen because they represent many other agencies throughout Brevard County, such as the North Brevard Coalition that represents 104 agencies and the United Way that represents/funds 43 agencies. When combined, the PMC Community Health Partnership receives input from approximately 300 organizations throughout the county.
The Community Health Partnerships’ true strength is the innovative approach it takes to community health, and the high level of involvement and commitment of its diverse members. Needs that are being addressed include service gaps and limitations, and coordination of services across multiple agencies that provide similar services. One of the many valuable local community services already available before the Partnership was formed was 2-1-1 Brevard, a private, non-profit organization that manages the 2-1-1 telephone line to provide crisis and suicide prevention, as well as assessment for and referral to a range of health and human services. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, 2-1-1 Brevard specialists responded to 39,497 calls in Fiscal Year 2013, making more than 44,000 referrals to 423 health and human service organizations. Primary and behavioral health needs combined represented 28 percent of the issues reported.
Thanks to the Community Health Partnership, Parrish Medical Center collaborated with 2-1-1 Brevard to expand the service and meet a critical community need. Although the hospital already meets health and medical needs, patients are frequently forced to choose between medicine and other basic life needs such as buying groceries and paying bills. Identifying the gap between social services and medical needs led to the development of a partnership addressing both at the same time.
To help bridge the gap between social and medical needs, Parrish Medical Center developed the Community Health Navigator program in 2012. The program offers a skilled social worker, known as a Navigator, who can assist 2-1-1 Brevard callers with more complex health and social service needs. The Navigator helps residents access social programs that can improve their health, find transportation to medical appointments, find resources for prescriptions, and search for access to health insurance and mental health programs. The Navigator also provides additional educational resources to promote healthy choices for smoking cessation and weight management, manage health risks, and chronic disease management information.
Brevard County residents now experience a more coordinated approach to care as the result of bringing organizations together, including Parrish Medical Center, 2-1-1 Brevard, and the Florida Health Network. By dialing 2-1-1, residents receive better direction to the services that have the greatest potential to impact their social and medical needs, resulting in improved care and an overall improved quality of life.