RHCs Respond to Community Needs related to COVID19

Regional Health Connectors are an integral part to the health response in communities across Colorado. As a program team, we developed a survey to understand the needs, activities, and impact of RHCs in the response to COVID19. RHCs are being surveyed every two weeks and asked to reflect on the previous two weeks of activities. For more information, contact Gillian.

Survey 6 Results (6/29/2020 – 7/13/2020)

  • Activities to address these needs (fewer reported new or continuing activities this cycle):
    • COVID-19 outbreak response-
      • working with partners to develop future plans for prevention, testing, tracing and messaging
      • Collecting and compiling data regrading testing and tracing
      • Identifying additional information and resource needs
      • Connecting community partners to one another to address testing needs
      • Grant writing to fund future needs
      • Plans for improving telehealth
    • Offering resources-
      • PPE supplies and training
      • Info about housing
      • Resources and planning to address social determinants of health
  • Outcomes of activities:
    • Resources and connections to resources for practices, partners, and community members
    • Support for marginalized populations (LGBTQ+ virtual event, testing among population experiencing homelessness, mobile testing, funds for testing in jails and long-term care facilities)
  • Benefits to Region:
    • RHCs reported specific benefits related to connecting community members to resources and addressing persistent needs:
      • Connect to new behavioral health providers
      • Plan for sustainable behavioral health resources
      • Hosting virtual community events
      • Develop new testing options and plans for people experiencing homelessness
      • Resuming testing based on supplies RHC helped access
      • Help with grant writing to support future work and needs
      • Support a more robust transportation infrastructure, including non medical support: “…it was because we had reformed our coalition, we are showing w are serious about bringing regional transportation here, and we have made great strides to get where we are today. CDOT will not fund a ‘new organization’ and they are ready and willing to help coalitions such as ours, that are now recognized as a true transit council. This announcement last Friday and the recognition as our Regional Transit Advisory County is a big step.”
    • Connecting provider to a specific, identified need in the county: “I was able to pull together experts to address medical providers on COVID in the County. This met a need identified by County Health Care and the County Medical Society for providing this information to providers. Over 25 providers were on the call and over 80% of participants found the information very useful.”

Key gaps and barriers that need additional support:

  • Public health professional consultants to help guide local organizations on COVID and messaging
  • Guidance and support on dealing with those who disregard public orders to wear masks
  • Information on where to seek additional funding or grants to support local efforts
  • Continuing need among providers for updated information about COVID-related resources

Survey 5 Results (6/15/2020 – 06/29/2020)

  • Activities to address these needs:
    • COVID-19 testing – including message to community members and partners, collect and compile data regarding testing and tracing, providing local partners technical assistance and subject matter expertise on performing community testing
    • Offering resources – mental health resources for community members, social determinants of health resource list, list of food resources for community organizations
    • Task force participation – housing for people experiencing homelessness, healthcare access and telehealth strategies, community needs
  • Outcomes of activities:
    • Support for vulnerable populations – people experiencing homelessness, as well as individuals who are homebound
    • Connecting providers, community members, practices with resources, particularly related to behavioral health
  • Benefits to organizations or individuals:
    • Behavioral health
      • Behavioral health resources and outreach for local jails
      • Connect individual community members to local mental health resources – RHC noted: “Overall, I think connecting people to local mental health resources shows that people do still care in a time where most people feel extremely isolated and alone. I was able to provide a mental health connection so that a local community member could start seeing a counselor to deal with her suicidal thoughts and feelings due to COVID.”
    • Connecting community members to resources
      • Local food resources. For instance: “During the past two weeks my work helped a single mother of 5 access food resources provided by the city of and district police department.”
      • In-home COVID19 testing for individuals who are homebound: “I was able to give referral information to [County] Human Services case manager team for homebound individuals and now they have a resource for in-home COVID-19 testing. They were seeing a need in the population who were needing to move from private home to group living (due to increasing need of care) and needed to provide negative tests prior to admission to Assisted Living or Skilled Care Facilities.”

Survey 4 Results – (5/29/2020 – 06/15/2020)

  • Activities to address these needs:
    • Coordinating, Collaborating and Engaging with Community Organizations through COVID training, formal task force, basic needs resources, meetings with parnters, coalitions, or local government
    • Information and resource sharing to partners and community members – especially related to telehelath, funding and grant opportunities, resource lists, being subject matter experts
    • Testing and outbreak management – emergency response teams, case and contact investigation, community testing
  • Outcomes of activities:
    • Improved collaboration and relationships with partners
    • Provision and coordination of resources to support access for community, share accurate information with partners and advocate for social needs with vulnerable populations

Survey 3 Results (5/15/2020 – 5/28/2020)

  • Activities to address these needs:
    • Assisting with social needs – including efforts to provide housing and shower access to those experiencing homelessness, assisting practices with screeners for social determinants of health, sharing resources related to social need and isolation, mask giveaways, free lunch programs, and working with jails on a Medicaid release program.
    • Providing information – weekly emails with resources and updates to local community partners with COVID19 resources, posting resources on websites, sharing telehealth related resources
    • Coordinating and collaborating across community orgs and practices – RHCS are coordinating across community organizations and practices, and task forces on public health and healthcare access to ensure that information on testing, outbreak management, and community needs is shared to those who need it
  • Outcomes of activities:
    • Building awareness of and connections to resources
    • Improved coordination and collaboration of health services, community resources, primary care

Survey 2 Results (5/5/2020 – 5/18/2020)

  • Activities to address these needs:
    • Providing information and resources to partners and community members – locate, compile, and share COVID related resources and information with practices and communities, including capacity for care for patiencts with COVID, mental and behavioral health supports, social determinants of health, telehealth services
    • Coordination of testing, contact tracing, and distribution of PPE
    • Connecting medical providers and practices to provide telehealth
  • Outcomes of activities:
    • Distribution of resources
    • Access to Care
    • Collaboration between local organizations

Survey 1 Results (4/30/2020 – 5/4/2020)

  • Activities to address these needs:
    • Communication and outreach with partners and community members
    • Social needs – distributing resource lists to partners, referring individuals to organizations, or assisting practices with screening for social needs
    • Outbreak management – including case investigation, contact trainings, public health recommendations,
    • Testing information
    • Supporting medical providers and practices to provide telehealth
  • Outcomes of activities:
    • Provision and coordination of resources
    • Strengthening relationships
    • Addressing social needs