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AmericaServes Attends Community Information Exchange Summit!

It was a bright, sunny mid-April day as I walked towards the San Diego Marina district. I was in step to participate at San Diego 2-1-1’s 2018 Community Information Exchange Summit regarding health and social services via the sharing of information and coordinated care. I was excited to see what this event may bring, hoping to learn from the success and trials of other communities and organizations. For the past two years I’ve worked as an advisor to multiple coordinated care networks within various communities part of the AmericaServes initiative from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) out of Syracuse University. I entered the beautiful sliding doors of the Marriott Marquis and entered two full days of engaging speakers, intellectual curious participants, and dedicated professionals attempting to coordinate to solve some of the world’s most difficult challenges.

The summit was set up to provide value from three different lenses, having presentation tracks entitled ‘bridging data across sectors’, ‘community models and practical applications’, and lastly collective impact: sustainability and measurement. I attended the summit conference with multiple members of the IVMF and we decided to divide the different tracks based upon our own roles within our organization and interests. I chose track 2, hoping to uncover best practices and new perspectives in regards to cross-sector collaboration and the utilization of data within these collaborative approaches to reduce disparities and serve as a catalyst for community wellness.

It was quite encouraging to learn about various coordinated networks established across our country in hopes to combat issues facing our community like asthma, homelessness, obesity, or the navigation of resources. As a collective, the overlapping theme across presenters and communities was the need and imperative for community organizations, public and private, to work together and not only collaborate, but utilize the new technologies available to truly coordinate services in a complimentary fashion. This is the fundamental ‘call to arms’ of the AmericaServes initiative, that no one provider can do it all. It takes a community.

An area of growing interest was the quantitative proof of these coordinated models and displaying the return on investment in monetary fashion. This ROI is an elusive and complex set of variables to analyze. There were various studies demonstrating the dollar amount saved to a community by providing comprehensive care to a communities most at risk and high touch clients. The research and analysis team at IVMF is able to analyze the timing of service delivery and actually proven the coordinated care model of AmericaServes has improved this measurement. The value add for folks like me, a veteran, means I can get connected to housing quicker or financial assistance to ensure I meet my various monetary obligations.

Like most industries, the individuals on the front lines receive much of the glory and attention. In football, the wide receiver catching 50-yard passes and diving into the end zone is what’s replayed on ESPN. However, that play happened due to the analysis of teams of scouts and analysts reviewing the defense and of course the grit of the lineman. The research and analysis teams are becoming increasingly vital to these coordinated care initiatives to shed light on the investments of these great models. In the future, it will not suffice to say one is solving problems and changing lives. The golden ticket for further funding and greater program adoption within the communities is in the evidence and return on these investments. Return takes many forms, such as increased client satisfaction, reduced expenditures within a community, increased time savings for providers, or reduced time to service for clients.

To learn more about the AmericaServes initiative and the impact it is making in 13 distinct communities across the US please visit https://americaserves.org/what-we-do/insights/

Matt Feldhaus served 6 years in army intelligence and is passionate about empowering transitioning service members, veterans, and their families so they can overcome the complexities and struggles he faced in his own transition. Learn more about the writer at https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-feldhaus-34998115/or follow him on Instagram @MattfromtheIVMF.

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