Douglas County has partnered with United Way of the Plains and Johnson County to provide MyResource Connection, a new website where residents can locate hundreds of services. The website is Douglas.MyResourceConnection.org.
With MyResource Connection, residents can search for services such as counseling, food pantries, legal services, support groups and utility assistance within the northeast Kansas area. They can also call 2-1-1 to talk with a specialist 24/7 or text their ZIP code to 898-211 to text live with a resource specialist.
“We are very pleased to work with Douglas County,” said Patrick J. Hanrahan, President & CEO of United Way of the Plains. “Our goal with 2-1-1 is to get information quickly and efficiently to people in need and this partnership will enhance that goal.”
Assistant to the County Administrator Jill Jolicoeur, who is program administrator for MyResource Connection, said the website eliminates the duplication of efforts among individual agencies to continually update their resource guides. “Now, there is a timely, one-stop resource guide for our community,” she said.
Additionally, MyResource Connection has an internal, HIPAA privacy-protected application where trained case managers and care managers have access to client information, so they can assist in timely interventions that support the client’s safety and success. “In Douglas County, we want to provide a system of care and the best way for the system to communicate is by sharing data in a timely and privacy-protected environment,” Jolicoeur said.
There are nine data systems contributing to the application from the following agencies: Douglas County Criminal Justice Services, DCCCA, Kansas Department of Corrections, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, LMH Health, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, Lawrence Community Shelter and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
One of the early champions of bringing MyResource Connection to Douglas County was Mike Brouwer, reentry director for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. He saw the benefits it had in his previous job at Johnson County Mental Health Center. “MyResource Connection provides current information and up-to-date contacts about community services available in Douglas County. When this data is combined with inter-agency communication and GIS, it is an essential tool for case management. The bonus comes from the ability to improve efficiency and identify gaps in our network and from analyzing the capacity of services accessed,” he said. “Communities have utilized this type of information to provide wrap-around services to people who frequently use services, but do not get their needs met. It can help us, help people better.”
There are about 120 providers who have credentials to access information. Brouwer and Lori Smith, office support specialist at Bert Nash Community Health Center, are among them. Smith uses MyResource Connection to relay information to the treatment teams. “Our teams use the information to better serve and outreach clients,” she said.
Douglas County has been working on implementing MyResource Connection for two years. The initial cost of the project was $33,000 and now the county pays Johnson County $15,000 annually.
“MyResource Connection empowers people with information to keep them safe and healthy whether it’s the external or internal application. It’s using data to better serve people in this community,” Jolicoeur said.