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PART III. AN ASSESSMENT OF COMMUNITY RESOURCES

Critical to a successful community project is in the development of partnerships—your Telewellness Program is no exception. Establishing and leveraging community-based services relationships to serve your residents help build capacity with publicly-funded, community-based programs. As your program champion designs your Telewellness Program, locally-sourced mental health services, volunteer-based social wellness groups, and other community-based services will support the overall development of the program towards long-term sustainability.

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  1. Available community behavioral health services and resources

    More likely than not, you or someone in your community already has an established partnership with an organization providing mental health and wellness services. Do you work with community partners who deliver workshops to your residents on addressing depression, anxiety, or loss? Are you connected with a local nonprofit or government social service agency that offers counseling services?

    Look for a partner who provides linguistically and culturally sensitive programming to older adults. As you’re building a telehealth program in your community, it is important to ask if they have conducted virtual/telehealth services before; and if not, would they be willing to experiment and pilot with your community? There are two cost options when looking for a partner:

    Free/Inexpensive, MediCaid/MediCare programs

    Private Pay Vendors / Organizations

    How we did it...

    SSG SILVER has a long history and proven track record of providing services to the hard-to-reach racial and ethnic communities through linguistically and culturally appropriate care management services, as well as to mainstream, English speaking communities. SILVER’s staff is equipped with extensive experience working with low-income older adults, and individuals struggling with health, mental health and substance use issues in field based and senior housing communities. SSG SIVLER’s specialized services have been instrumental in advancing our Telewellness Program for linguistically isolated residents living in affordable housing communities.

    SSG SILVER has provided telemental health services to Front Porch Communities for several years. We learned of SSG when FPCIW discovered that SSG was working closely with our resident service coordinators to delivery mental health workshops and connect residents to linguistically- and culturally-appropriate services. The SSG team’s bilingual therapists have provided telemental health services in English, Spanish, and various API languages (Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, and Korean). The clinical team focused their efforts to provide the most suitable services for marginalized older adults.

    Questions to ask yourself when looking for a community partner:

    • What programs currently provide community mental wellness education outreach, workshops, or services to your residents? City/County mental health? A community-based nonprofit?
    • Do your residents regularly attend a local or community organization where they receive a variety of services, such as a senior service center? Contact that organization and ask if they provide mental health or counseling services, or if they know a group who does.
    • Does your local university or city college community offer mental health support for older adults?
    • Are they contracted to provide these services through government funding, or are they Medicaid/Medicare providers?
    • Do they charge clients for services? Can Medicare/Medicaid pay for these services?
    • Do they apply a sliding fee scale (income-based fee) to service use?
    • Do they provide services in the languages you need?

     

    Once you have your vendor in mind, schedule a live demo with the vendors to learn and ask questions about their services.

    Suggested questions to ask a prospective community partner:

    • How many people are using your service and who are your clients? Have you served older adults before?
    • What steps does your organization take for security and privacy? (Transparency on data collection, HIPAA compliance, etc.)
    • How easy is your product or service to use by residents and staff? Do you provide training to community staff on identifying mental health needs?
    • How does your service address accessibility needs like language, vision, or hearing impairment?
    • Do you understand the specific needs of older adults living with limited resources?
    • What kind of customer support do you offer?
    • How do you measure success other than anecdotally?
    • What are some of your biggest challenges?
    • Who are your biggest competitors?
    • Have you conducted telehealth services before? If not, are you open to exploring this with us?
    • Are you interested in conducting webinars or video conference workshops?
    • Are your clinical staff licensed or supervised by licensed professionals?
    • Do you get government funding for your services? If so, would our residents qualify for your program?
    • Are you open to piloting a tele mental health program with us?

     

    At the end of the conversation, make sure to always ask for the following:

    • Scope of work and pricing
    • Terms and agreement