Riverside Community Care provides individualized behavioral health and social services in a community-based setting. This organization respects individual consumers and believes accessible, quality care should be available to all. Riverside is a community-based non-profit organization, serving more than 40,000 people a year in Massachusetts. The non-profit offers a wide range of care, including behavioral health services and services for people with developmental disabilities.
I work as an intern within Riverside’s Behavioral Health Community Partners (BH CP) team, a program that provides care management and coordination for eligible adults who are enrolled in a MassHealth ACO (Accountable Care Organizations) or MCO (Managed Care Organization) and have significant behavioral health needs. BH CP aims to serve vulnerable populations and connect enrollees with services in their own community. Some of the consumers need the support of BH CP to know what care options are available to them and how to go about accessing these. A care coordinator is assigned to the member and meets the consumer where they are. The care coordinator works with the enrollee to build confidence and independence in navigating the healthcare system and social services. Together, they create a care plan that helps connect enrollees to resources in their community and provides support for people who may face challenges on multiple fronts such as health, food, and medication.
By now, I have worked as an intern within the BH CP team for about three weeks. Besides orientation, of course, I have been working on a project to create a moving guide that is catered to our members’ needs. Moving homes alone is a huge undertaking for anyone. For people without the financial means or friends and family support, moving can be made even more difficult. The document doesn’t solve everything, but it does try to make the moving process a little easier. Not only does the moving guide help members, it is also a resource for care coordinators on the BH CP team. Unfortunately, finding resources for moving expenses is not as easy as one might think. By having the information in one place, care coordinators can more easily access what they need and, in turn, support enrollees.
Before my internship started, I identified two goals for myself. First, I want to gain an understanding of state agencies and programs (DMH, Social Security, MassHealth, etc). As someone interested in behavioral health and health equity, I believe it is vital to grasp the intricacies of the U.S. health care system and how this impacts patient care. Second, I want to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from experienced professionals in the field of social work. I feel very fortunate to have the chance to observe, ask questions, and receive help when I am unsure. Having now started my internship, I still really like the goals I chose for myself. I’m grateful for my experiences so far and I’m looking forward to continuing this work.