NMMC, Family Resource Center Partner to Assist Patients
NMMC Rehabilitation Institute case managers (from left) Scott Thrasher and Clarissa Hughes confer often with Claire Goodson and Stephanie Collier, Family Resource Center field educators.
TUPELO, Miss.— “Our mission is to continuously improve the health of the people of our region. We realize that medical care only influences around 10-20% of the modifiable contributors to healthy outcomes,” said Ormella Cummings, Ph.D., NMMC chief strategy officer. “The other 80-90% is determined by health-related behaviors, socioeconomic factors and environmental factors. The Family Resource Center already has programs in place to address these factors. If we are truly going to impact our mission, this is really the perfect marriage.”
“So many of these social determinants are the reason behind the patient’s hospitalization or health issues,” said Christi Webb, executive director of Family Resource Center/Families First of North Mississippi. “One of our agency’s strongest points is providing resources and connecting people to those who have the expertise they need. So many people cannot come to us or do not know to. Through this partnership, we can come to them.”
Claire Goodson and Stephanie Collier, licensed social workers and field educators with Family Resource Center, now have an office at NMMC. The hospital’s case managers help identify patients who could benefit from Family Resource Center’s free services.
Collier said they start with an assessment to determine the best way to meet the patient’s needs, which can include food insecurity, housing, domestic violence, transportation and other issues. Then, they work the patient to offer help with parenting skills, conflict resolution, youth development, healthy relationships, addiction recovery, job readiness and educational needs. Fortunately, NMMC’s service area significantly overlaps with that of the Family Resource Center, which has 16 offices located throughout north Mississippi.
“Even if the patient’s need is not on our list of available services, we’ll try to find that for them,” Goodson said.
The partnership is already making a difference. Through the Beds for Kids program, local volunteers built a bed for a patient’s son who had been sleeping on the floor. Local groups also donate mattresses, bedding and pillows to the program.
Another patient’s young child could not read, and Family Resource Center was able to refer her to Regional Rehabilitation Center for testing. A pregnant patient received a free car seat through the Family Resource Center.
Patients are also benefiting from parenting and addiction recovery classes. “We find that once people come to our programs, they do tend to come back,” Goodson said.
“They see how much they learn and enjoy it, and they make connections,” Collier said. “It’s very validating to find out that they’re not alone.”
Both organizations believe the partnership will improve health and quality of life throughout the region they serve. “We see people when they’re in crisis, and NMMC sees people when they’re in crisis,” Webb said. “If we can plug in and provide help, hopefully we can keep them from coming back to the hospital.”
“NMMC’s tagline is ‘What Connected Feels Like,’” Cummings said. “That’s exactly what this new partnership is all about.”