Lincoln County Behavioral Health Resources Available Online

Aug 26, 2005
The News Guard

There is now a new resource in Lincoln County for those looking for information on behavioral health. The county is the first in Oregon to launch a new Web site linking individuals to information about the topic and providers.

Network of Care allows consumers and customers to better understand behavioral issues and have better access to information, said county Health and Human Services Director Jan Kaplan.

Kathy Sterbenc, of Trilogy Integrated Resources, led the county commissioners on a guided tour through the site last Wednesday, showing the different features visitors to the site can use.

Visitors can look up service providers in the county, browse through an online library of articles on behavioral health, contact legislators directly, find information on insurance, locate local and national support and advocacy groups and connect to other sites through provided links. National news articles about behavioral health are also available. Articles and other information can be collected together in a "personal folder" for a visitor to find later.

On the site, Sterbenc said visitors can find community announcements, agendas and minutes of meetings and all Health and Human Services events.

"The service directory is the heart of the site," Sterbenc said. "It is searchable and sorted by category, agency, keyword and advanced search.

"We have tried to make it as simple as possible and user-friendly as possible."

If an agency doesn't see itself listed on the site, Sterbenc said it can submit information to be added.

"It revolutionizes the idea of a social services directory," she said.

The library has articles written at an easily readable level, Sterbenc said, and terminology used is linked with explanations. Graphics illustrate points. All of the articles are reviewed quarterly and updated at least once a year.

The site also allows users to give feedback directly to legislators on both the state and federal levels. An e-mail can be sent expressing an opinion to specific members or even an entire committee about specific bills. Users can also follow bills pertaining behavioral health and receive an e-mail when a bill changes.

As users of the Web site collect information, Sterbenc said they can save it to their personal folder, which is encrypted to protect the information. In the personal folder, users can also save information relating to doctors information and other medical information. Access can also be permitted to other people the user authorizes for any length of time.

Stephen Marks, also with Trilogy, said specific information could even be shared for a single day, allowing a doctor to look at it.

"Only the consumer and whoever else they want can look at the information," Marks said.

Sterbenc gave the example of setting up a folder for her mother and allowed her brother access to the same information.

Other nonprofit providers can also set up their own Web sites for free within the structure, Sterbenc said. "It is pretty much a click-and-play program."

Message boards are also available to post information and questions. All users of the site can review and respond to postings.

To help new users become familiar with the site, Sterbenc said a 17-minute Flash demo presentation explains the site.

"I am very excited about this," Kaplan said. "The site will get better to as people use it.

"They have found communities really use this. It is very empowering for people."

The Network of Care for Behavior Health Web site can be found at http://lincoln.or .networkofcare.org/mh.