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LEAP’s partnership with Buckeye Health Plan offers timely, post-pandemic support to vulnerable population

Posted on 02/16/21 in Information & Referral

LEAP’s partnership with Buckeye Health Plan offers timely, post-pandemic support to vulnerable population

Adequately identifying the needs of community members during a once-in-a-generation pandemic such as COVID-19 requires strong collaborative partnerships.

LEAP’s partnership with Buckeye Health Plan in the spring and summer of 2020 sought to provide Information and Assistance Services to 300 plan members throughout Northeast Ohio as well as the Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo metro areas.

Information and Referral programs – a core service of all Centers for Independent Living (CILs) – help individuals and families at critical points of need to better identify and understand the human services programs available to them. Information and Assistance Specialists continue to play a vital role during the state’s ongoing public health emergency.

“As a CIL, LEAP is uniquely experienced to assist and support in the delivery of critical time supports to vulnerable populations,” said Melanie Hogan, the agency’s Executive Director. “Our partnership with Buckeye helped plan members access sustainable, community-based services to support their continued independence while simultaneously ensuring a good utilization of health care and medical resources.”

LEAP staff members reached out to a cohort of Buckeye Health Plan members who manage their own care but face many vulnerabilities, particularly amid the ongoing global pandemic. In addition to providing direct support to participants, the project sought to identify gaps in services.

Highlights from the extensive outreach effort, which was completed in two phases, include the following outcomes:

  • 61 respondents expressed the need for a computer and 39 noted a lack of internet access.
  • 30 respondents expressed a need for regular contact, socialization or physical activity.
  • 79 respondents, representing nearly 70 percent of participants, expressed multiple needs.

Notably, 97 percent of those surveyed expressed appreciation for the check-in, and 91 percent of respondents characterized the information shared during the call as useful.

LEAP’s outreach helped Buckeye Health Plan align their offerings to maximize impact. To improve respondents’ social factors of health, Buckeye collaborated with community providers to offer additional resources.

“Information and Assistance helps a community or human services organization to assess needs, track and identify gaps, and better plan for resource management,” added Hogan.

In addition to identifying the unmet needs of the Buckeye members and serving as a liaison to other community partners, LEAP was able to arrange and provide direct service, including peer support, benefits screening and application assistance.

“Building resilience through community linkages and independent living services is paramount to serving the holistic needs of those we serve,” said Hogan. “The coordination of services by multiple partners leverages resources, delivers responsive programming and deepens the impact for our community.”

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