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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

2010 EDIES Story 8 of 24: Building a locally driven network of rural health care solutions

Tama County has been designated as a rural community eligible for extra help to meet the healthcare market needs of its population. But the leaders are also working together to help themselves. By including providers from areas around Tama County, leaders connect with resources that may not be available locally, and local groups can increase awareness for what they offer. Beyond that the group can also coordinate for problem solving to serve Tama County health care needs in the best way possible. Pat Hanson, Teri Osborn, and Linda Rosenberger explain.  Remind me – what are the EDIES

HOW WE DID IT: In order to provide the most comprehensive and high quality care to Tama County residents with healthcare needs, we have historically collaborated with other health care providers and community resource entities. With the assistance of the Tama County Economic Development Coordinator, key people in these organizations were identified and invited to engage in a networking system with the goal of improving communication in the continuum of health care.

HOW WE GOT THE IDEA: Neighboring counties have developed networking groups and been very successful. Tama County could definitely benefit as it is a large county with many communities who may not be aware of the resources available within the county.

OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE: We have had an initial meeting of health care organizations with much enthusiasm for the proposed idea of meeting on a regular basis to share information, build relationships and develop a resource directory. However, some key members were still absent and we feel a challenge to increase the level of participation. We also want to make sure our meetings are purposeful and worthwhile for our members.

HOW WE OVERCAME IT: We have encouraged each member who attended the first meeting to invite another healthcare organization to attend. We will continue to deliver fliers to those who have not attended and keep in touch with current members via email. Meetings will follow a laid out agenda and kept to 1 hour.

ADVICE TO OTHERS: Don’t reinvent the wheel – look at what similar organizations are doing and learn from them. Use the resources available to you – Lindi and Joanne at the Tama County EDO were instrumental in providing us with a list of the healthcare organizations serving Tama County as well as a meeting place.

WHAT IS NEXT: We hope to increase our membership and eventually have at our meetings at each member organization’s place of business to learn more about their service. Ultimately we want to develop a resource directory for seniors that is easily accessible, efficient and user-friendly. For more info, click: www.tamacountyiowa.org/healthcare

Photo of Project Leaders Teri Osborn, Linda Rosenberger, and Pat Hanson by Wayne Chamberlain.

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