Purple Binder’s support team goes above and beyond the call of duty to help connect patients with the resources that they need. To give the care managers who work at our partner organizations extra guidance, we provide online chat support from a team of social workers. Below are just a few examples of cases in which we’ve helped care managers connect patients to much-needed social services and even specialty care.
The social service landscape can be difficult to navigate. But when healthcare professionals take the time to address patients’ social determinants of health, they provide better care. Purple Binder’s mission is to help healthcare professionals connect patients to the social services they need, in the neighborhoods where they live.
Case 1: Autism Therapies
A care manager contacted the Purple Binder support team for assistance locating speech and occupational therapists accepting Medicaid in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. The team found that indeed, very few private providers accept Medicaid; there are, however, several hospitals in the Chicagoland area that accept Medicaid for occupational and speech therapy. The team also conducted telephone research to find private therapy providers offering reduced and sliding scale fees for low-income clients, a detail not included on their websites.
In Illinois, children age 3 and under with autism and other disabilities receive services from a state program called Early Intervention. This program identifies whether a child has delays, and if so, what type of delays. Then they plan with the family to meet the child’s needs going forward. Early Intervention also provides speech, occupational therapy, and other therapeutic treatments that help children with autism or developmental delays work on communication and other life skills. Children age out of this program at age 3, and typically begin receiving similar services at school at age 4 or 5.
In the intervening period, however, families are left to their own devices to find therapists for children with autism and developmental delays. This can be difficult for Medicaid beneficiaries, as not many private therapy providers accept Medicaid.
Case 2: Interview Clothes
Most clothing and food pantries have a web presence, but few of these websites contain information beyond basics like the organization’s address and hours. This is frustrating for clients who are looking for something specific, such as interview or work clothes.
After receiving a number of support queries from care managers looking for interview clothing, the Purple Binder support team conducted telephone research to determine which clothing pantries tend to receive business casual clothing donations. Purple Binder is able to assist care managers by providing information that’s specific and catered to individual clients’ needs, beyond the sparse information provided on social service websites.
Case 3: Hoarding Disorder Treatment
Many of our partners are healthcare providers. Often, when care managers use Purple Binder, it’s to find mental health care resources or social services in a specialty area in which they lack expertise.
For example, it isn’t immediately obvious how hoarding disorder should be treated, especially to someone who isn’t a mental health professional. The Purple Binder support team received several requests from care managers for assistance locating hoarding support groups; however, the most common way to treat hoarding, which is a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder, is actually with psychotherapy.
The Mayo Clinic website advises finding a cognitive behavioral therapist who specializes in treating hoarding disorders specifically. There are a number of online therapy provider directories that can be searched by specialty and location, such as Psychology Today’s provider search. Hoarding, however, isn’t generally a searchable category on these websites. It falls under the broader search category of “addictions” or “obsessive compulsive disorder.” The support team corresponded with several psychology professionals in order to find practitioners who do offer hoarding disorder treatment, determined which providers were taking new patients, and sent the information we discovered to each care manager who requested information about hoarding support.