Analysis | Intentions | Goals
Accessibility is defined as being multi-factorial and an integral part of the strategic plan. Accessibility includes all areas, not just physical access. Access is applied to all individuals who access the organization – persons served, families, employees, volunteers, referral sources, etc. BNC team members have assessed the BNC’s accessibility in the following areas, noting potential and real barriers, and we have integrated strategies into the strategic plan which will result in greater access for persons served and others accessing their programs.
Team members and clients have provided feedback about psychical barriers they experience in BNC facilities. Beginning in 2022, BNC had begun partnering with the City of Lawrence, Independence, Inc., and Kansas Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing on an accessibility assessment. This assessment is completed annually. Beginning in 2023, BNC will work in partnership with people with lived experience in forming a survey to gathering input from both clients and stakeholders to continue to improve and expand efforts to improve accessibility.
The Community Health Facility had environmental concerns that needed to be remedied to enhance accessibility. BNC has worked with the City of Lawrence, private foundation grant funds, and local organizations to better meet the needs of both team members and persons served, and stakeholders. Annually all BNC facilities go through an ADA assessment and completed three inspections a year to maintain accountable for improvements.
The BNC recognizes within the field of mental health that trauma-sensitive and client-centered language frequently evolves and it needs to be consistently updated and refined in printed materials and protocols for client interaction, which impacts team members, persons served, and stakeholders. An area of focus within our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Belonging (IDEB) committee work is to better identify way to bring awareness and education to team members, persons served, and stakeholders through trainings, internal communications, and policy changes.
The BNC recognizes the need to educate and bring awareness on how clients can access payment plans, sliding fee scale, and other financial supports to assist in continued participation in services. BNC has contracted with HealthSource to provide credentialing consultation and support with the goal to reduce waiting times, decrease client costs for services, and expand provision of evidence-based services.
The BNC’s employment management software, e3, is an essential tool for recruitment, retention, and development. Through internal analysis additional training for staff was identified to take full advantage of the software capabilities. Remote work options, and flexible schedules have provided opportunities to expand services, retain highly qualified team members and hire new team members who may benefit from accessibility technology features. In addition, BNC continues to evaluate new employee orientation and ongoing training to build competency and build specialized skill sets that will serve team members, persons served and stakeholders.
The BNC recognizes communication expands all aspects of the work within the facilities and throughout the community. The Community Engagement is responsible for both internal and external communications & marketing. The external website is lacking in accessibility features, which impacts team members, persons served, persons seeking help, and other stakeholders. BNC is currently developing a new website and has asked Independence Inc. to provide resource tools to help identify areas of accessibility improvement. The new website will launch mid-summer 2023. In addition, BNC has identified the need to improve internal messaging through interdepartmental and organization-wide methods. In 2022, BNC implemented a weekly internal newsletter in email form; called the Nash Flash. It serves as a highlight hub of information, which pertains to internal policies, trainings, human resource updates, organizational-wide update, and overall community engagement opportunities to better team members and clients. Communications also refers to how our stakeholders, including persons served, provide feedback and information to BNC. The Performance & Quality Improvement team & Community Engagement team partner together to collect client feedback in several forms and provide opportunities for persons served, those with indirect experience and partner organizations to to share their feedback, complaints, and ideas.
Beginning in Spring 2022, Bert Nash team and board members worked together to determine their preferred choice for a new Electronic Health Record (EHR) software program to that would be more advanced, flexible, and accessible for persons served and community stakeholders. In Spring 2023, the Center began training team leaders and subject matter experts on the new system to teach others and help everyone become comfortable with the new system for rollout in Summer 2023. BNC continues to elevate technology concerns and advancements to stay current to best serve team members, persons served and stakeholders.
BNC teams began meeting in Spring 2022 to discuss ongoing transportation related issues for themselves and their clients with the Finance Director and Chief Operations Officer. In Summer 2022, team members were able to request higher reimbursement rates for travel with clients, and the Center renewed its local transportation contracts with business partners like UberHealth and MediCoach. Beginning in Spring 2023, the City of Lawrence began to offer free public transportation services that are expected to remove financial barriers for staff and clients to be able to work, learn, and receive care in person more easily.
Douglas County has a lack of safe, affordable housing options, which impacts team members, persons served, and other stakeholders. The center has outlined an Action Plan related to reducing this barrier that is outlined in the Goals section, and is the responsibility of the Supportive Housing Director, Supportive Housing teams, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Operations Officer.