UMass Memorial Health Care Announced New Leadership for its Behavioral Health
WORCESTER, Mass. – CommunityHELP (Health and Everyday Living Programs), an online resource that links individuals and families with government and charitable social service programs, now has more than 1,000 participating programs with claimed listings in its comprehensive database. This milestone is not the only accomplishment within the program’s reach. Next month CommunityHELP will have supported more than 20,000 searches by community members in need in just under 1-year.
“We still have miles to go in getting people connected to resources but I’m proud of our journey to date,” said Christine Cernak, Senior Director of Longitudinal Care at UMass Memorial. “This valuable resource is performing the way we had hoped it would and can only get better. I encourage all social services program managers to take stock of what CommunityHelp has to offer and to make sure it aligns with the needs of their clients and providers.”
Reliant Medical Group and UMass Memorial Health Care established CommunityHELP to bridge the gap between the community and clinical systems through true collaboration across the continuum of care. The two organizations wanted to create a one-stop repository of local programs and resources available in Central Massachusetts. CommunityHELP uses a highly specific search tool to easily find these resources. The tool also lists up-to-date hours, contact information and other resources on an easy-to-navigate website. Health care providers can also "prescribe" services to a client or patient by using CommunityHELP to send a direct referral on behalf of a patient or client. The site is continually updated to ensure accurate information.
“It is powerful to see the impact of having a single access point for the services available in the community to help our most vulnerable patients,” said Mike Hebert, Senior Director of Care Management and Geriatrics at Reliant. “Often, the time it takes to locate a service only intensifies the need of a patient or family. The CommunityHELP platform helps to decrease that time and works to connect patients/families with the best program to meet their needs”.
For Central Massachusetts residents to get access to the assistance they need, they can log on to CommunityHELP at http://www.communityhelp.net and enter a zip code to find more than 2,000 available programs. A user can click "food" and see programs ranging from nutritional education, free meals and food pantries to food delivery. Those looking for other resources can conduct specific searches for transportation, legal help, education and work. UMass Memorial and Reliant Medical Group providers have a separate website for patient referrals.
When the program went live in Spring 2018 Reliant Medical Group and UMass Memorial were the first organizations in Massachusetts to adopt this platform which is based on the nationally recognized program Aunt Bertha founded by Erine Gray who, overwhelmed by the task of finding care for his mother who was dealing with a rare disease, quickly realized how frustrating it could be. Gray created software to modernize the health and social services eligibility system. Along his journey he saw a need for an easily navigable social services platform and a simple application process. Aunt Bertha officially went live in June 2011 in Austin, Texas and statewide less than a year later. It is currently spreading across the nation.
Reliant Medical Group
Founded in 1929 and having become a part of Optum in April 2018, Reliant Medical Group serves approximately 317,000 patients, making it the largest independent, ambulatory integrated health system in the Central Massachusetts and Metro West Regions. With over 500 providers and 2,600 employees across more than 20 locations, Reliant Medical Group offers a unique team-based approach to care. Reliant accepts all major forms of health insurance. For more information on Reliant Medical Group please visit: reliantmedicalgroup.org
UMass Memorial Health Care
UMass Memorial Health Care is the largest not-for-profit health care system in Central Massachusetts with more than 13,000 employees and 1,700 physicians, many of whom are members of UMass Memorial Medical Group. Our member hospitals and entities include UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital, UMass Memorial – Marlborough Hospital, UMass Memorial Medical Center and UMass Memorial – Community Healthlink, our behavioral health agency. With our teaching and research partner, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, our extensive primary care network and our cancer, diabetes, heart and vascular, orthopedic and surgery programs, UMass Memorial delivers safe, high-quality and compassionate care. Visit www.umassmemorialhealthcare.org.