Co-Location and Service Coordination Improves Efficiency, Saves Money and Improves Access to Care in Allegany County
Allegany County held a symbolic "ribbon joining" ceremony in 2010 when their new home for NY Connects, Veterans Services, Office for the Aging and the Department of Social Services Long Term Care Unit was opened. The primary reason for bringing multiple agencies together under one roof was to improve access to long term services and supports by expanding the scope of NY Connects to serve as a coordinating entity responsible for assisting community residents to apply for and become connected to public assistance programs.
Allegany County Office for the Aging, the NY Connects program, the Department of Social Services and Veterans Services have all partnered in this endeavor established to assist all Allegany County residents in need of long term services and supports. The collaboration has utilized federal, state and local funds.
Since the co-location of agencies, continuous planning efforts and further collaboration among the partner agencies have led to additional improvements in Allegany County's long term care system. Recently, office space within the building has been provided to a local Facilitated Enroller, a Community Health Advocate, a local SNAP Coordinator, the Alzheimer's Association, and Directions Independent Living. The use of a single assessment that can trigger multi-agency services, a single case manager and cross agency care planning are the main benefits of this arrangement.
In addition to providing information and coordinating referrals, the local NY Connects program also assists with Medicaid applications, food stamp applications, full benefit applications, and Medicare Savings Program and Low Income Subsidy (MSP/LIS) applications. The NY Connects staff also assists individuals with SNAP applications online through the MY Benefits website if applicants are not able to complete the form or if they don't have supports in place to help. For the Heating and Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), NY Connects serves as an alternate certifier.
As a result of the coordination efforts guided by NY Connects, the county has experienced significant improvements in their long term care system. In the first year of operation within their new construct, their total contacts increased by 11%. Without increasing their staff, they were able to serve 18% more consumers. In 58 cases, the agencies were able to coordinate services for individuals who would have traditionally required a case manager from each agency. This alone reduced driving by over 500 miles and saved 120 hours of staff time, resulting in a cost savings of $2,500. This approach to coordinated care does not only wield savings of resources, it accomplishes the primary goal of the collaboration by streamlining access to services and improving conditions for the consumers.
For more information on this partnership, call 866-268-9390, or visit their website. To receive on-site services, individuals may visit the Allegany County office at 6085 St. Rt. 19N in Belmont.
Did You Know?
NY Connects has served a pivotal role as the hub between entities in Allegany County. It is in place in most counties across New York State. To find information on some of the long term services and supports that may be available in your community visit NY Connects online.