Community Connections Team (CCT), connecting people in need with resources in their local communities, had seen a growing need for connection.
A community health program of the Marshfield Clinic Health System’s Center for Community Health Advancement, CCT was founded in 2015 in the Eau Claire area, serving not only Health System patients but anyone seeking social need assistance. And, because of COVID-19, CCT has pivoted to meet changing needs and its ripple effect across Wisconsin.
Meeting needs begins during medical visits when patients are screened for insecurities in food, utilities, transportation, job search, childcare, health insurance, housing and more. Trained CCT volunteers assess patients and connect them with community resources to address underlying needs that can negatively impact their health.
Originally designed to engage with patients before or after medical appointments, CCT shifted during COVID to connect with them by phone after appointments.
In 2020, CCT served patients in more counties than ever and expanded outreach to partner with community agencies providing services to meet social needs across Wisconsin. Although food, transportation or childcare needs remained constant, requests for help with jobs, utilities and dental care increased during early months of the pandemic as safer-at-home conditions rapidly changed.
CCT Program Manager Trevor Begin said, “historically, in health care, a patient sees a provider and symptoms are treated. Patients follow a regimen and have follow-up appointments without factors outside clinical walls being considered. We recognize health also is impacted by social and economic factors that constrain people, including COVID.”