A new program called Care Connect Washington promises to optimize COVID response efforts for the improvement of public health in Washington.
The Washington State Department of Health and the Southwest Washington Accountable Community of Health (SWACH) will be working together to extend support to those experiencing COVID and needing to isolate and quarantine in the home. Care Connect Washington will utilize SWACH’s HealthConnect Hub model across Clark, Klickitat, and Skamania counties. This innovative infrastructure of 40 community health workers in 11 partner agencies connects community members to health care, social services, and other support they need to be healthy. The HealthConnect Hub model is nationally recognized for its coordinated approach to healthcare and non-medical support, which has been shown to lead to a healthier community while reducing costs.
Care Connect Washington will:
- support community members impacted by COVID 19 who need to quarantine or isolate in the home
- allow the Department of Health to coordinate with other agencies, including connections made through the HealthConnect Hub
- provide better reporting on how the state is responding to community needs during the pandemic
- enlist the 40+ community health workers across 11 agencies to enroll anyone who needs immediate and ongoing care
- ensure that COVID individuals and families are connected to the resources they need as well as to long-term regional community care coordination programs integrated and supported by the HealthConnect Hub
Since October 2020, SWACH has been working closely with Clark County Public Health in a coordinated effort to ensure optimal response to the pandemic. SWACH’s network of partners is already in place, with a trained workforce who has been connecting those in need with services. SWACH is training additional community health workers and staff to accommodate the Care Connect Washington program, viewing the new partnership as an opportunity to advance equity.
“We are happy to help marshal our resources and relationships during this pandemic. Our network has been evolving since April 2019. We have been and remain focused on helping all those in our community, and Care Connect Washington is natural way for us to elevate and amplify that effort, centering equity in the process,” says Eric McNair Scott, Director of Community and Clinical Linkages for SWACH.
Workforce development is a key part of this effort. SWACH Executive Director Barbe West reports, “We are already working to help create a diverse workforce within the region’s CBOs, which will come alongside underserved populations- a cohort of community health workers who are Native American, Latinx, African American, Russian, and Chuukese. Our HealthConnect Hub infrastructure is in place. Our training programs are in place. We have excellent partners on board. We believe we are in the right place at the right time to really make a difference, and we couldn’t be more excited about that.”
To learn how you and your organization can become involved in supporting this outreach, contact Eric McNair Scott, Director of Community and Clinical Linkages for SWACH 360-628-4033. Eric.firstname.lastname@example.org.