In February 2014, the concept of the Health Support Network (HSN) was presented and discussed with stakeholders. After research, surveys, and community forum discussion, the HSN was created to provide services to meet the needs of those former residents of Training Centers, large Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs) and Nursing Facilities (NFs) with developmental disabilities and/or serious mental health issues. Immediate needs that were identified included dental services, repair services for medical durable equipment, and technical assistance for community providers. It was also clear that community based nursing needed to be identified, bolstered and unified. The HSN under the umbrella of the Office of Integrated Health (OIH) has looked to provide progressive, excellence-based programs and services to address the unique needs of the Commonwealth as a whole and specific to regional concerns. It has been a learning process and a collaborative effort with stakeholders to ensure that the right services are being provided with the appropriate outcome expectations. To that end, program implementation has remained dynamic, with revisions and modifications made as needed.
The HSN' s design presented in the initial concept paper of 2014 identified short term and long term concentrations of effort.
- Short term: Identifying gaps in services and supports to immediately improve the quality of care and health
- Long-term: Building the infrastructure of health professional knowledge through outreach and education
Over the last two years, the HSN has focused primarily on ensuring the implementation of the short-term goals while addressing long-term goal issues as they present. Currently the HSN has three programs that were designed and implemented from the ground up: Dental, Mobile Rehab Engineering, and Community Nursing.