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Here's the new state platform that takes a 'whole-person' approach to health care

<p>Screenshot of Georgina Dukes, Network Director of NCCARE360, speaking at the NCCARE360 meeting on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.</p>
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Screenshot of Georgina Dukes, Network Director of NCCARE360, speaking at the NCCARE360 meeting on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

On June 22, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced the launch of NCCARE360, a statewide coordinated care network that helps connect North Carolinians with health care providers and human service organizations across the state. 

According to a June 22 press release, the program will coordinate "whole-person" care by providing access to care and addressing non-medical drivers of good health, such as food, employment and housing. Health and community organizations will be able to make electronic referrals, securely share client information and track outcomes together, the press release stated. 

“All kinds of factors can affect people’s health, and our ground-breaking and innovative NCCARE360 brings government together with the private sector to help people deal with all the challenges of being sick with COVID-19 or any other health problem,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in the press release. 

Megan Carlson, senior engagement manager for NCCARE360, said this program is one of the first of its kind in the country. 

“NCCARE360 is the first statewide network that unites health care and human services organizations with a shared technology that enables a coordinated, community-oriented, person-centered approach for delivering care in North Carolina,” Carlson told The Daily Tar Heel. 

The new program assists care providers in connecting patients with other resources — from government agencies to human service organizations to other providers — to meet that patient's particular needs, Carlson said.

“The goal is to ultimately provide much needed resources to North Carolinians in need by connecting providers together,” she said. 

In a June 22 COVID-19 update briefing, Dr. Mandy Cohen, the secretary of the NCDHHS, said NCCARE360 will be a helpful tool for North Carolinians, especially during the pandemic. 

“North Carolina has a new tool to make it easier to connect with people who need the support and resources to help them address the devastating impact of COVID-19 that it’s having on many of our residents in this state,” Dr. Cohen said. 

The development of the program was accelerated to ensure that North Carolinians had access to it during the coronavirus outbreak, Dr. Cohen said.

“It’s a groundbreaking achievement that was completed six months ahead of schedule as a team fast-tracked this statewide expansion in response to the COVID-19 crisis,” she said. 

Georgina Dukes, network director for NCCARE360, also spoke at the June 22 update briefing. Dukes said the program allows organizations to connect with various community partners to best serve North Carolinians across the state and provide them with the resources and empathy they need. 

“We realize that we, as North Carolinians, are done putting our community members through traumatic cycles of seek and help,” Dukes said. 

She said that community-based organizations can now work with various providers from the health care sector as well as local and government organizations, which they may have been previously unable to connect with. Those new connections can positively affect many North Carolinians' lives, Dukes said.

“There are community-based organizations, government agencies, healthcare entities, faith-based organizations and so much more across North Carolina that work day in and day out to provide direct care to fulfill these needs,” Duke said. 

Carlson said the NCCARE360 network should be a model for the rest of the United States when it comes to providing for its citizens. 

“It breaks down silos that create barriers to needed care and services — particularly in rural communities — and exacerbate health disparities,” she said. “It was critical before COVID-19, and it is even more so now. North Carolinians need access to basic resources, and this initiative is opening the door to that connection.”

@HeedenTaylor

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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