Everyone knows to dial 9-1-1 in case of an emergency but there’s another number that you might not have programmed into your memory. 2-1-1 is a free number people can call to get non-emergent information and assistance.
After dialing 2-1-1, a live person answers the phone and has access to a database of information and services available in upstate New York. Typical call requests include help with finding services like transportation or healthcare, affordable housing or meals, or assistance with technical needs such as signing up for health insurance. Come tax time, the 2-1-1 operators can even help set up appointments to help residents file their tax information.
When Care Compass Network was established, it identified programs and services which would allow Medicaid members to more easily navigate the health system. In this effort, there was a natural fit with the services provided by 2-1-1s. A central Community Resource Guide is now being developed by a team led by Care Compass Network Project Manager Emily Balmer. Balmer and community leaders representing the Southern Tier region are pulling all of the 2-1-1 directories into one comprehensive, accessible location. “This is a great opportunity for all of the 211s in the region to collaborate and refer resources appropriately while also updating information in a timely manner,” shared Balmer.
Easy access to information that positively impacts the health of the community is one of Care Compass Network’s primary goals. Having a “product” such as the Community Resource Guide available to the people who need it most is a big step in achieving that goal. The Community Resource Guide will offer information for assistance with categories such as housing, hunger, depression and mental health services, veteran services, financial management, transportation, long-term illness and more.
To date, much of this information can also be found online through separate 211 websites. For example, the Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County website can be accessed at www.hsctc.org and from there, people in that area with access to the internet can visit the directory of services to find what they need for their specific circumstances. Similar sites and directories exist for surrounding counties in the region including Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben and Tioga.
“We’ve noticed that existing services provided are not fully utilized in our communities. Making information easier to understand and in one central location is a critical step toward empowering our community to leverage all the resources it possesses.” Balmer said. The 2-1-1 team is aware of the vast capabilities of community based services and has partnered with Care Compass Network to address these long standing needs.
A preliminary version of the resource guide has been distributed to Partners of Care Compass Network for a beta-test phase, with a public release date targeted for Q1 2017. The Community Resource Guide will be available through the Care Compass Network website or by calling 2-1-1 twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. If you would like to know more about Care Compass Network’s work with 2-1-1’s or how to participate in other DSRIP initiatives please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and type “211 Resource Guide” in the subject line.