Sharing can be healthy.
A group of 12 local social service agencies have received $310,000 from the United Way of Douglas County to fund a plan that promotes greater sharing of resources and collaboration in delivering physical and mental health care.
The funding, announced Wednesday, is the latest effort by the United Way to focus on awarding dollars to organizations that work together on broad goals related to health, education or self-sufficiency.
“Our goal is to ensure the community is in a better place because of these efforts,” said Erika Dvorske, president and CEO of the local United Way. “We have found that by working together we can really do that in many cases.”
The new collaboration plan for health care providers has been in the works for the last 10 months. Dvorske said one of the new ideas, for example, is for the Lawrence Community Shelter to not operate its own health clinic but rather for its clients to receive reserved appointment times at Health Care Access. Independence Inc. will provide transportation to and from the shelter and the health clinic.
Another example is that Meals on Wheels will start delivering food to the homes of some people who were paying in-home care workers to prepare food on site.
“Everybody has really come together, and it has been an enthusiastic process,” Dvorske said.
Funding for the plan was divided into three subcategories:
• $114,200 for Health Plan Support Services. Providers in that group will focus on helping people with tasks such as transportation to and from health care services, assistance with appointment scheduling, or working with people to comply with physician orders. Groups that will be splitting the funding include Douglas County CASA; Headquarters Counseling; Independence Inc.; Lawrence Community Shelter; Lawrence Meals on Wheels; and Trinity In-Home Care.
• $182,800 for Health Plan Screening and Treatment. Providers in this group will focus on providing a variety of health care screenings and case management services. Agencies receiving funding include Health Care Access; Kansas Visiting Nurses; Douglas County Dental Clinic; GaDuGi SafeCenter; and Douglas County Aids Project.
• $13,000 for a baby/child dentistry program between Success by 6 and the Douglas County Dental Clinic.
The new collaboration plan is likely a precursor of what’s to come. Health care providers who want United Way funding will need to submit by the end of the year a more detailed three-year plan on how they will work together to deliver health services in the community.
Three year plans already are in place for an education plan and a self-sufficiency plan. United Way has budgeted $405,000 a year to the education plan and $392,000 to the self-sufficiency plan.
Dvorske said despite earlier concerns that the United Way would fall short of its fundraising goal, the organization has been able to provide the funding at budgeted amounts this year.
“Generous folks stepped up in a really great way,” Dvorske said. “Our board and key donors are really excited about the progress being made.”