May 2016

Team reviews EHR system year and a half later

Hard to believe that AWARE’s electronic health record (EHR) has been live now for almost 1.5 years.

May 24 – 26, the EHR team held a three-day meeting in Anaconda with Afia, an EHR consultant firm, to review and discover ways to improve the system.
Matt Bugni, newly appointed chief information officer, says when AWARE first installed the EHR in 2014, the team expected to look further into improving processes about 1.5 to 2 years after implementation.

To come prepared for the meeting with Afia, the EHR team first met with AWARE supervisors to get a feel for what’s happening in the field. They asked them to describe what is and isn’t working. They came up with a list to further improve the EHR that includes

  • adding an in depth treatment plan process,
  • improving security access for supervisors,
  • decreasing duplication of work,
  • adding a data collection section and
  • adding a system that allows report generation.

By adding these functions to the EHR, the team hopes to help staff in the group homes use the EHR to its full potential.

Pictured above, AWARE’s EHR team and Afia consultants. From left, Olompia Ackall, Afia; Summer Stone, IT health informatics analyst; Leslie York, business operations manager; Tim Carpenter, Afia; Pandi Highland, program officer; Matt Bugni, chief information officer; Wendall Smith, IT system administrator.

Pictured above, AWARE’s EHR team and Afia consultants. From left, Olompia Ackall, Afia; Summer Stone, IT health informatics analyst; Leslie York, business operations manager; Tim Carpenter, Afia; Pandi Highland, program officer; Matt Bugni, chief information officer; Wendall Smith, IT system administrator.

A favorite quote, Bugni says it describes perfectly how he imagines the EHR working for AWARE: “We want IT (information technology) to work for us, not us to work for IT,” he said.

Summer Stone, AWARE EHR project manager, started working at AWARE back in January. She’s been working with Tim Carpenter of Afia to learn the system. They quickly recognized some of the above options that could be added.

Using her health informatics background, she will design, develop and build the new processes into the system. Once the new processes are in place, several options will be presented and customized to fit the work staff is doing in the field. Supervisors and T3 trainers will be involved in the conversation to further implement the new processes.

“The overall goal is to strongly connect the golden thread of all AWARE treatments,” Stone said.

AWARE’s EHR went live Nov. 1, 2014. Goals of the EHR include improving quality of care for the people we serve, improving efficiency and cutting costs. AWARE is the only provider of its kind in Montana to manage an EHR system.


May 2016

Montana Folk Festival sponsorship renewed for summer 2016

July 8 – 10, 2016, the Montana Folk Festival is appearing for its ninth season in Butte, Mont. AWARE Inc. has committed to being a major sponsor for the 2016 event once again.

While AWARE has been a sponsor of the Folk Festival the last six years, its recycling services have been available for all nine years.

During the event, the AWARE Recycling crew supports the Folk Festival by placing its blue recycling bins throughout the event site. They gather the contents of the bins daily and process them for recycling.

Also this year, AWARE will man a booth during the event outside of The Original Stage. AWARE’s Cold Mountain Pottery created a custom-made mug (pictured above) just for the event. The signature pottery mugs will be sold directly from AWARE’s booth.

Looking for volunteers

AWARE is looking for volunteers to help man the booth Saturday and Sunday during the event. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact John Cote at jcote@aware-inc.org.

Or the Folk Festival is also looking for volunteers to help set up and tear down. To sign up as a volunteer contact George Everett at geverett@montana.com. Or sign up here.


May 2016

AWARE farm crew ready for spring planting

Spring has sprung – well, a Montana spring anyway. A little green is popping through the snow that lies ever so gently in the hills this week.

Cold but breathtaking, the typical spring weather has slowed but hasn’t stopped the residents at Farm in the Falls in Great Falls from carrying out their daily duties as they ready for their busiest time of the year.

Their season began April 25, 2016, when they pre-planted 27 different types of flowers and seven different types pumpkins that are now growing in the greenhouse. Members of the six-person crew and AWARE staff made an assembly line to pre-plant 100s of six-pack planting containers.

According to Brian Wallace, AWARE Vocational Services Manager at the Farm in the Falls, the pumpkins and plants are just starting to sprout. They’ll be transplanted into the main garden that’s about half the size of a football field in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, May 11, Farm in the Falls received a shipment of plants and herbs the crew members will be transplanting into hanging and garden baskets. The baskets filled with pansies, daisies, begonias and more will be sold at the Great Falls farmer’s market on Saturdays June through September and at the farm.

Wallace said the crew cares for regular maintenance of the baskets and the garden every day to include watering and weeding. The crew is also responsible for beautification of the grounds surrounding the house at the farm. Later in the summer, the crew plans to build and paint picnic tables to also be sold at the farmer’s market.

AWARE’s new residents who transferred to Great Falls from the Montana Developmental Center in Boulder will be joining the crew in the upcoming weeks to perform fencing, landscaping and other outdoor responsibilities.

A routine schedule is being set both in the morning and afternoon for all Farm in the Falls crew members to complete the required tasks.
“If you can’t tell, I’m really excited about everything we are doing out here, and I am really proud of all the residents as they have been doing an amazing job,” Wallace said.


May 2016

A new way for AWARE clients in Anaconda

With the closing of the Hope Collectibles and the recycling center in Anaconda last summer, AWARE has reorganized and developed a new way of serving its clients.

Long ago, in hopes of finding a better way, it left the sheltered workshop and piece rate way of functioning behind. It’s evolved over the years. Now, the center offers the people we serve community connection through employment at a fair wage, education and recreation.

Emmett Barry, AWARE program director, says this new way of working allows staff to serve people more diversely. Everyone – staff and clients – is involved.

Two programs have emerged from the transition, which systematized some of the work staff and clients were already doing, including 1.) an employment and training program and 2.) an activities program.

On the job
Through the employment and training program, AWARE hires the people we serve. Job opportunities include janitorial work at the Center for Excellence, AWARE offices on Cedar and Oak Streets, and KANA; grounds maintenance at the Anaconda National Guard armory; car detailing of fleet cars and others as requested; and food distribution to the group homes.

Several important outcomes have come from this new way.
For example, AWARE staff and clients are working more closely side-by-side.

“They’re a combination of job coach/coworker, so everyone is engaged in work,” Emmett Barry, AWARE Program Director, said.

AWARE staff enjoys this change because their mission is clearer, and they’re able to work more actively with the clients, rather than focus on the business of the thrift or recycling center.

And, AWARE clients are connecting with the community and developing marketable skills with more formalized training.

Barry says, for example, working on the distribution crew requires many different skills. Weekly, the crew goes shopping, receives orders from vendors, stores vendor deliveries in the warehouse, sorts the orders for each house, delivers orders, and helps with billing.

Education and recreation
The activity program is available for all the people AWARE serves in Anaconda. It provides recreation and education in- and out-of-house.

“The goal is to engage, not bore,” Barry said.

Every month, program staff are pulling together as many resources they can find and creating a new schedule each month for active participation.

Barry says people are learning to use the computer and cook. Guest speakers are invited to discuss important topics, such as fire safety or rights and responsibilities. They’re also taking field trips once a month. Their next trip is to the Museum of Mining in Butte.

Add in weekly movies, arts and crafts, interactive videos, regular exercise and more, everyone is staying busy.

Because staff are now working more specifically with the clients, “Success and failure are hinged on how well the client does,” Barry said.


May 2016

AWARE Special Olympics teams attend state games

Below is the Anaconda 2016 AWARE Inc. Special Olympics State Summer Games team.


Anaconda AWARE 2016 Special Olympic Summer Games team

Anaconda’s Special Olympics team will join 31 AWARE teammates from Billings, Bozeman and Missoula at the summer games, which are held at facilities throughout Missoula, May 17- 18, 2016.

Pictured left front, Jay Arensmeyer, javelin, bocci ball; and Troy Miller, bike race, softball throw. Left back, Judy Armbruster, softball throw, bocci ball; Russell Carstens, coach; Dan Ramsey, bocci ball, 50 M walk; and Casey Fisk, 50 M assisted walk, bocci ball alternate.