181652 Service coordination: A critical component of sustainable access to care for rural residents

Monday, October 27, 2008: 1:15 PM

Albert Ramirez , Integrated Community and Family Services, College Station, TX
Laura M. Windwehen, MPH , Center for Community Health Development, School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Angela Alaniz, BA , Center for Community Health Development, School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Monica L. Wendel, DrPH, MA , Center for Community Health Development, School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Many communities across the U.S. and internationally have realized that a fragmented service delivery system is inefficient and ineffective, particularly for those individuals and families who lack resources and have difficulty accessing services at all. Several strategies in integrating and coordinating services have proven effective in a variety of settings, leading to the conclusion that service coordination is a critical component of improving access to care. In the Brazos Valley, we have witnessed this phenomenon in improving access for rural residents. In this context, service coordination occurs at two basic levels: organizational and individual. At the agency level, service coordination serves to facilitate a network of organizations, fostering communication and information sharing. In many cases, this leads to identification of distinct opportunities to leverage resources to increase organizations' capacity to serve their clients and to expand services that are available in the community. At the client level, service coordination begins by assessing a continuum of needs and then identifying appropriate resources to meet those needs. A key element to the success of service coordination in our experience has been individual and family capacity building that happens through the service coordination process. Service coordinators focus on basic self-sufficiency by identifying educational and vocational opportunities, working with clients on developing budgets and managing finances, and providing supportive services to assist the client in achieving their goals.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, participants should be able to: Discuss a variety of strategies for improving access to care for rural populations; Describe the role of service coordination in improving access to care; Apply capacity-building principles to assessment of community-based public health strategies

Keywords: Access and Services, Service Integration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a service coordinator in the Brazos Valley, and I have developed the types of services that are discussed.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.