There could soon be an easier way for area organizations to connect residents to needed assistance.
West Park Hospital behavioral health case manager Dawn Garrison is in the process of getting together resources to establish a charity tracker service in the area.
As she said during the Health Coalition “super meeting” at West Park earlier this month, the cloud-based program would allow all organizations which participate to quickly access services, such as finding a ride to Billings to see a specialist, or $50 to cover a rent payment.
“It connects the dots very quickly,” she said. “It can combine all the different churches ... combines these efforts so we can help people much more readily.”
It’s also HIPPA compliant, which means the program can handle patient information securely while allowing organizations to have access to necessary background on whoever is in need of assistance.
Currently, Garrison said the process for someone needing help is to call up the various organizations individually, which takes a lot more time – a big detriment to someone who needs a quick resolution.
She is writing a grant to possibly provide some of the necessary funding for the service, which is $3,000 per year. Garrison said she’d like the organizations she works with to cover the expense for the first two years via fundraising. Those organizations include the Northwest Wyoming Poverty Alleviation Coalition and West Park Hospital.
Yellowstone Country Assistance Network is offering a partial payment to get the system now, although that still needs to be approved by the board, Garrison said.
After that, she said she’d like to see another organization take over.
She said she wasn’t yet to the point of having a time line as to when the program would be ready to go locally.
According to charitytracker.com, the program was developed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and is now used in 1,161 cities throughout the country. Since 2007, CharityTracker has been used to track 14,427,202 assistance records totaling $409,641,116 of assistance dollars for 4,362,471 cases.
Nikki Schleich, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Wyoming, said in the meantime the organizations could possibly utilize Big Brothers own internal program that allows programs across the country to interact and share services.