Agreement to share social services data advances at UG

An agreement to share data and manage data between the Unified Government and Johnson County among social service providers advanced at a UG Administration and Human Services Committee meeting Monday night.

Under the agreement, the UG would share data in the myResource Connection application developed by Johnson County. The UG would pay Johnson County for the use of the system. The committee vote was unanimously in favor.

As explained at the UG AHS Committee meeting, information could be shared among social service providers about mutual clients. The funding has already been approved in the UG budget, according to officials. According to UG information, the funding for 2018 would be $15,000, and the funding for 2019 would be $30,000, and would be paid to Johnson County.

The data sharing program first came before the UG several years ago, according to officials, but was not approved at that time.

According to Juliann Van Liew, health improvement-planning program coordinator at the UG Health Department, there is a restricted funding stream and the safety net is shrinking for programs. The failure of Kansas to expand Medicaid means more people are calling EMS instead of accessing preventive services, she said. Also, human service delivery is heavily regulated, she added.

One of the benefits of myResource Connection is the availability of access to a server that will tell providers what resources are available in a community at any given time, she said. That has been a challenge in the past as availability of services is always changing.

Providers would expect to increase the continuity of care, increase access to resource availability, identify high-utilizers and strategies for intervention, and create financial savings from earlier stabilization of clients and reduced calls for services, she said.

For example, she said, providers from Wyandot Inc. would be able to find out if their clients had entered an emergency room somewhere else. Sometimes clients have services in other communities, and knowing how clients are interacting with other providers in other communities is helpful, she added.

According to officials, community partners in this program who might have access and provide data might include nonprofits, hospitals, school districts and community resource agencies.

One slide shown at the UG presentation Monday night showed examples of different organizations an individual might have had contact with, including mental health services, community corrections, community residential housing, independent resource center, parole officer, prison discharge planner, day reporting center, a prevention program, and batterer’s intervention services. With so many case managers who were not communicating, the individual was pulled in different directions and the likelihood of their success was diminished, officials said.

Kansas City, Missouri, is in the system and there are also plans to try to bring Jackson County, Missouri, into the system, according to officials.

In some cases, mental health professionals could be notified through email alerts of an EMS call with one of their clients.

Potential participants in this program at the UG level could include EMS (Emergency Medical Services), Health Department, Wyandot Inc., community corrections, courts, Police Department and community service providers, according to officials.

Randy Callstrom, executive director of Wyandot Inc., said they are very close to connecting to myResource with their RSI crisis stabilization center.

The goal, he said, would be for their staff at RSI to easily and readily check to see if someone who comes into RSI from Johnson County is a client of Johnson County Mental Health Center or if they are involved with probation, the court system, or were recently booked or discharged from the Johnson County Jail. They would like to see that information available in Wyandotte County, as well, he said.

They also would be moving onto the other Wyandot Inc. programs such as Wyandot Center, adult services and children’s services, he said.

The program would be implemented in 2019, according to UG information. EMS, Health Department and community corrections would be added in the first phase, and other entities later, according to Van Liew.

In other action Monday evening in the AHS Committee, the committee approved changes to the transient guest tax ordinance.

In 2017, the transient guest tax jumped up by about $2 million a year when the sales tax revenue bonds were paid off in The Legends area, according to officials.

This proposal was presented at an earlier committee meeting and came back on Monday night with changes recommended by the committee, according to officials.

One change was a guarantee of a minimum amount, $1.05 million, for tourism promotion to the Convention and Tourism Fund. Other funds above this amount might be used for economic development.

The myResource Connection item and the transient guest tax change would now go to the full UG Commission for approval at a future meeting.

The committee also approved a measure that would allow them to go immediately from one committee meeting to another one, instead of waiting until a set time for the second meeting.

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