Network of Care now offers help to service members, veterans and families

Aug. 24, 2015
Mary Lou Rodgers, Douglas County Post-Gazette

Help for veterans and service members in Nebraska is now just a few clicks away, thanks to a new program called Network of Care.
 
The national Network of Care project is something that Douglas County Commissioner and Board Chair Mary Ann Borgeson has been working on for some time. Nebraska is one of less than 10 states that have developed programs under the Network of Care banner to make resources for different needs easily accessible.
 
“I am thrilled to be on the cutting edge of this technology and these enhanced services that we will be providing our citizens. Anything that creates efficiencies and ease of finding information is a win-win for the taxpayer,” Borgeson said.
 
Nebraska has had the Network of Care for Behavioral Health for some time and added Public Health about five years ago. The latest addition is the Network of Care for Veterans, Service Members & Their Families. 
 
“This new version is quite unique in that it specifically addresses the many needs of our service members returning from combat,” Com-missioner Borgeson explained. “It is a web-based portal that is customized regionally, making it far easier for our veterans to find all services and support available to them.”
 
Included on the website are federal, county, local, nonprofit and grassroots programs for mental health, employment, housing, military services, veterans services and much more. 
 
Every county in Nebraska is now included on the website so that service members, veterans and their families can pinpoint the services located near them. 
 
The Network of Care for Service Members, Veterans & Their Families includes a secure, online, personalized health care folder where individuals can store their health data, as well as most information they select on the website. Working together, approved doctors, social workers, and family members can access the folder so they can share information, update results and stay organized.
 
Built-in social networking features including groups, blogs, media, forums and wikis for veterans and their families to reach out and connect with their community. There is also an online library of resources available and a directory of services. The network can be translated into 50 languages.
 
The website also helps service members and veterans stay on top of pending legislation on the state and federal level that can affect their lives. A bill tracker lets site visitors follow state bills under consideration during the current session, while a built-in email tool makes it simple for concerned citizens to contact elected representatives regarding matters that impact service members, veterans and their families.
 
To access the Network of Care for Service Members, Veterans & Their Families, go to networkofcare.org, click on the category, Network of Care for Service Members, Veterans & Their Families, choose your state and region (e.g. Omaha metro) and then select the topic that you are seeking. 
 
Commissioner Borgeson said that Nebraska will be adding another Network of Care, for Seniors & People with Disabilities, in the next few months. She said Nebraska hopes to have all the topics on the site eventually. Those include: Kids, Children & Families, Foster Children, 211/Resource Book, Developmental Disabilities, Domestic Violence and Prisoner Reentry/Corrections. 
 
The Network of Care was piloted in Maryland and California and been very successful around the country. The website for all states is networkof care.org.
 
“Now, thanks to our local public health officers,” Borgeson said, “we are fortunate enough to have it in Nebraska.”