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June 2023: Care Coordinator Convening Summary

On June 7th, Olympic Community of Health was joined by 21 local care coordinators from Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties at the beautiful John Wayne Marina to build upon a region wide collaborative network of health and human services workers with the goal of enhancing care coordination, resource sharing, and workforce support across the Olympic region.

The morning began with a mindfulness workshop facilitated by Anya Callahan, a Harm Reduction Coordinator from Jefferson County, among other wonderful titles. Anya offered guided meditation and a body scan to introduce the concept of mindfulness and practice a simple technique attendees could take back to the office with them.

Incorporating mindfulness into your day can prevent burnout, increase focus, and leads to being more present with the people we are working with. Here is a little “S.N.A.C.K.” for your workday if you find yourself feeling stressed. Want to learn more about burnout? Check out this article about the 5 stages of burnout, this video on symptoms & strategies to overcome burnout, and finally, this video exploring what happens to cause burnout. Anya also recommended the offerings of Dr. Tara Brach if you are interested in inviting mindfulness, emotional healing, and meditation into your daily routines.

In March, OCH convened care coordinators in advance of the end of the public health emergency and the Medicaid Redetermination (also known as “Medicaid unwind”) process to prepare them to help affected community members navigate potential changes to their state medical insurance coverage.

Now that the redetermination process is underway, partners asked that OCH provide follow-up support. At the June convening, participants gathered in county breakout sessions to talk about what they have been seeing in their communities, to answer questions, and provide peer support to one another regarding the redetermination process. A Clallam/Jefferson County SHIBA (Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors) volunteer attended and shared her wisdom and advice for helping seniors navigate changes to their insurance benefits. Locally sponsored by Olympic Area Agency on Aging, SHIBA volunteers are available in-person (offices in Chimacum, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Sequim, Quilcene and Forks) or by phone (1-800-562-6900) to offer support and assistance. If you are interested in receiving SHIBA training to help others navigate their health insurance coverage, contact Eva Bennett at 360-809-4793.

Continuing the conversation in county breakout sessions, participants dug into the importance of partnerships from a regional perspective, including identifying challenging referrals and needed connections to enhance care coordination efforts. Common themes identified by all counties are listed in the graphic below:

The groups brainstormed connections to providers and services and exchanged information in real time. Participants left with a couple more contacts and a few more ideas/strategies than they had before they arrived to meet the needs of the community members they serve.

The Olympic region faces many unique challenges to coordinating care, and there is still much work to be done to maximize and socialize the robust services offered across the region and to make connections to others doing this important work. Please reach out to Ren (program coordinator and facilitator of the Regional Care Coordinator Convening series: if you are struggling to make a connection to a provider/service in the region and he will utilize OCH’s vast network of partners to try to make a warm handoff. We are so much stronger together.

The next Regional Care Coordinator Convening will be held in Kitsap in Fall 2023 and will pilot a Person First Language training opportunity. Adoption of person first language upholds dignity and respect for all community members, fosters resilience across the community and health-serving workforce, and enhances the cultural competency of the health-serving workforce. Participants will understand what person first language is, why it matters, and will leave with tangible ways to apply this training to their everyday life. Participants will also have the opportunity to earn continuing education units (CEUs) for completing this training.

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