Joan is a provider at a food bank in a small, rural, Wyoming town best known for its economic history in natural resources and agriculture. Every month, she receives food from the Food Bank of Wyoming in Casper that she then provides to individuals and families within her community.
For the past several years, Joan has noticed an increase in the number of families needing her food bank’s assistance. Given an economic downturn in the minerals industry and an ever-inconsistent agricultural economy, the people of her town have been struggling.
Having developed relationships with the individuals that utilize her service, Joan understands that the lack of food within her community’s households is not strictly due to a lack of food access, but rather a myriad of other issues. Some individuals struggle to afford rent and utilities. Others have exorbitant medical bills due to a lack of insurance. Some are suffering from poor mental health and substance use. All of these issues prevent members of the community from maintaining financial stability and forces them to prioritize certain necessities over others, like food.
When Joan can, she attempts to offer resources to her clients for these issues. Joan has a small booklet she’s created with the names and numbers of resources that she often sends people to. She also utilizes the Wyoming 211 resource database through her computer and encourages her clients to call Wyoming 211 for additional information and referral.
However, she lacks the tools for communicating with other organizations, consistent follow-up with clients, case management, and is often left wondering if those she serves have acted on any of the referrals she’s made.
Although on many occasions she has led clients to the right resources, she often sees the same people coming into her food bank every month. Not only is it a lot of work for Joan, navigating a slew of resources with no standard process in place for care-coordination, but it seems that her hard work and current system for making referrals is just not enough.
Joan, feeling desperate, calls Wyoming 211 to see if they offer any other services or suggestions to help her manage a better system of care. After talking to a 211 Community Resource Specialist, she’s connected to a representative of Communicare, the new statewide Community Information Exchange, or CIE.
Joan discovers that a CIE is a network of providers that coordinate care with one another through a centralized technology platform. CommuniCare allows providers to complete client intakes, send and receive electronic referrals, provide follow-ups, communicate with other in-network service providers, and offers SDOH screening tools to partners.
As a partner of CommuniCare, Joan would also gain access to a CommuniCare Navigator, who can monitor referrals, follow-ups, and offer case-management services to her food bank clients. With all the resources and tools CommuniCare offers to providers, Joan immediately submitted her information to Wyoming 211 and was quickly onboarded by the CommuniCare team.