Douglas County Communities' Network of Care website

This screenshot shows the Douglas County Communities’ Network of Care website

Seven local health care organizations have combined to create the Douglas County Communities’ Network of Care website that is designed to provide a one-stop, reliable up to date resources accessible to the public.

The partners include Aviva Health, Evergreen Family Medicine, Umpqua Health, the Cow Creek Tribe, Douglas Education Service District, Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Foundation.

Dr. Tim Powell, CEO and medical director at Evergreen Family Medicine, said the basis of the Network of Care is to have a one-stop site to share information about community needs and work together to establish a common community needs assessment. The site would work toward coordinating resources toward those problems that the community identifies as most important.

Powell said a community needs assessment will give them more information to work from and allow the groups to construct a community health improvement plan so they can improve the site to make it more user-friendly.

Kim Tyree, chief operating officer for Evergreen, said the Network of Care is about making a healthier community.

“Besides the website being a resource hub, it’s also having all of your resources together building a healthier community working side by side,” Tyree said.

Powell said the website will also help the partners understand what the other agencies are doing so resources can be coordinated, and it’s an opportunity to find out what’s most important in the community that can help the groups work together.

“I think we’ll not only be more effective but it will bring us closer in this community,” Powell said.

KC Bolton, CEO of Aviva Health, said it’s important to have a combined effort to get meaningful data that all the entities can use.

“So when we’re able to kind of funnel patients, in an intentional way, to the right resources,” Bolton said, “then that makes the whole system work a lot better.”

Heidi Hill, with Umpqua Health Alliance, Douglas County’s only coordinated care organization, said what comes out of an assessment that feeds into a community improvement plan is meaningful.

“The process is actually equally as important as the deliverable of the health assessment that we submit to the state, because it actually brings community stakeholders together to participate,” Hill said.

CHI Mercy Medical Center does regular surveys for community needs and improvement plans. Lisa Platt, executive director of Mercy Foundation which is the community benefit arm of Mercy, said working together on the surveys is good for everybody.

“It just makes sense that we all work together and do one,” Platt said. “And it’s an opportunity for all of the smaller nonprofits in Douglas County to leverage grant opportunities if we’re all sharing the same data.”

Ruth Galster, part-time coordinator and liaison for the Network of Care, thinks being able to combine efforts with organizations on a website or in as resource directory and make it available to organizations, clinics and physicians in Douglas County would be helpful.

“So gradually, groups have begun to realize it isn’t just an assessment of care and data but it’s really day to day practical things that we can help families with,” Galster said.

The Network of Care will put out a survey to the community in August and hopes to get back a lot of responses that will help form an analysis so they can decide what the highest needs are.

“The more that we use it and the more people that use it, the more useful it will become,” Powell said.

To be added to the monthly community meetings, contact Lyndsie Rupp at lrupp@efmpc.com.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at dbain@nrtoday.com.

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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