Agencies come together to compile services list
March 30, 2023
Did you know that you can check out a blood pressure monitor at the county library? That you can get help from senior services to clip your toenails if you are unable to reach your feet? That there are thousands of sandbags available through the emergency management department to protect your home in the event of a flood?
Crook County’s various agencies and institutions have these health and human needs services available and many more besides. But do members of the public know they exist, or where and how to access them?
This question was troubling Trish Habeck, Crook County Public Health Response Coordinator. The best way to answer it, she decided, would be to bring together representatives from agencies around the county to compile a list of all the resources available.
The next step after that, of course, will be to make that list available to the community – and also to circulate it within the group of service providers themselves, so that each of them are aware of what’s available for a member of the public who comes to them with a need.
This project began on Wednesday morning with a meeting that brought together service providers ranging from medical services and family violence services to the libraries, chronic care management, public health, county offices, fire departments, county offices, Medicaid, assisted living, law enforcement, DFS and emergency management.
Micki Lyons, CEO of Crook County Medical Services District, kicked off the meeting by explaining that she and Habeck had been having conversations, “About not knowing what services are provided in our county. If we need something for a patient, who can we go to?”
There’s benefit, she said, in getting together as a group to put faces to names and share information about what service providers can do for each other towards the ultimate goal of helping members of the public.
“We’re all here for the same reason,” she said. “We all want to take care of the people in Crook County, and so how can we best do that?”
Attendees shared various examples of the services that many might not be aware exist, such as a translation service available through Habeck that also includes sign language; lockable boxes for medicines through Crook County Prevention; or training classes for CPR and FireWise.
Emergency Management Coordinator Ed Robinson cautioned against allowing the project to reduce its focus to just medical needs. He gave examples from his own department of the kind of services that the community might benefit from, such as a two-week emergency readiness program, critical incident response training and the availability of extra radios.
“Once we have all the resources in the county, I would like to get a PowerPoint together,” said Habeck. Her goal, she said, would be for that presentation to roll constantly at places such as Public Health, providing information to visitors.
The group discussed several other potential ways to publish the data, with Habeck stating that she would like to see the community “saturated” with possible ways to access the information they might need.
A website was the first suggestion, for example. County Commissioner Bob Latham, also representing the Sundance Fire Department, suggested Facebook as a possibility, though Public Health Nurse Manager Carol Stutzman pointed out that the social media site is mainly only used by the older generations, while younger members of the community prefer online hangouts such as Instagram and Snapchat.
But what of those who don’t have access to the internet? The most vulnerable in a community can’t necessarily afford regular access, while Crook County is a rural area.
The group had numerous ideas for offline methods, too. Robinson, for example, suggested flyers placed in the baskets at the grocery store.
For the homebound, flyers could be sent out with Meals on Wheels or attached to utility bills. Information could be posted at the food banks or at the schools and banks.
Lyons stressed the importance of making sure that all of Crook County’s communities are represented. The group that gathered on Wednesday was relatively biased towards Sundance, she pointed out, but it’s important that Hulett, Moorcroft and Pine Haven are also included.
Robinson added that non-governmental entities will also be important resources, listing examples such as physical therapy, home health and fire auxiliaries.
At the suggestion of Lyons, it was decided that everyone in the room would put a list together of the services they provide and give it to Habeck, including contact information.
“Then we can at least compile that and decide from there what further meetings we should have and how to put it together,” she said.
Meanwhile, a second list will be compiled of other entities that the group would like to invite to the next meeting to ensure that the services directory is as comprehensive as possible.
The group set a deadline of April 14 to submit this information to Habeck, after which another meeting date will be scheduled.