NC 211 and NCCARE360

There are some exciting efforts underway here in North Carolina and we want you to have some key facts about one we are closely involved with -- the NCCARE360 platform. United Way of North Carolina and NC 211 played a key role in its creation and you've probably already started seeing news stories about its rollout and implementation. This is an unprecedented opportunity for the improved health of all North Carolinians and we hope this information helps you understand the issues better. 

What Is NCCARE360?

NCCARE360 is a shared technology platform allowing for a coordinated, community-oriented, person-centered approach for delivering care in North Carolina. This platform is the first of its kind in the nation and is unique as it facilitates better coordination and communication between healthcare and human service providers.

Who created NCCARE360?

NCCARE360 is led by the NC Department of Health and Human Services and the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation who developed the plan to revolutionize how NC addresses health care in our state. The team of creative vendors working together to bring NCCARE360 to communities across our State include United Way of North Carolina and NC 211,  Expound Decision Systems, and Unite Us.  

Are there examples of what NCCARE360 will make possible?  

It is no secret that our physical environment, food, financial stressors and social supports impact our health - for the good and for the bad. These environmental factors are also known as the “social determinants of health”. 
One example possible with NCCARE360: physicians can “prescribe” patients a service that addresses a social determinant of health, such as helping to replace old carpet in a home where a child suffers from asthma, or ensuring a diabetic patient has access to healthy foods through a local food pantry. The goal is to connect the dots on key social determinants of health and ensure that there is a follow-up plan to make sure that needs were met. 

Is NC 211 Being Replaced by NCCARE360?

With the launch of NCCARE360, we have heard there are some concerns that “NC 211 is being replaced or going away”. That is not the case at all. In fact, NC 211 is a critical component of the NCCARE360 coordinated care system. Not only does the 211 resource database serve as the foundation of the new platform, 211 has also added NCCARE360 Navigators to the call centers.  The NC 211, via the NCCARE360 Navigators serves as the coordination center for NCCARE360 with the Navigators acting as “air traffic controllers'' ensuring that any referrals made through the 360 platform are correctly routed and that no clients get lost in the network. 

Fundamental Differences Between NC 211 and NCCARE360

NC 211 is a 24/7/365, confidential information and referral service serving all 100 counties across the State. With financial and collaborative support from local United Ways all across the State, NC 211 has grown to be a robust statewide information and referral network that serves a critical role in our communities.  

NCCARE360 is a technology platform that will serve as a referral and communication hub between physicians, service providers and clients. It will be available during traditional work hours and requires the release of personal information to facilitate referrals between those parties. 

We recognize that not all NC 211 callers are going to need the level of service provided by the NCCARE360 platform or will want their personal information shared in that manner.  For these reasons, NC 211 will continue to offer confidential service to any caller wishing to obtain a straight referral for a resource in their community. We know this is especially important to many North Carolinians, including those who might be undocumented or are victims of domestic violence.

Additionally, NC 211 continues to play a critical role in North Carolina’s State Emergency Response Team (SERT). During Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, and Dorian, NC 211 proved itself to be a critical asset to our state through the ability to rapidly increase capacity and swiftly streamline the high volume of rapidly changing, critical information citizens need to access as they experience a disaster. NC 211’s unique role on the SERT is not something that can be replaced by a software platform and we anticipate the partnership with NC Emergency Management continuing for years to come.

Next Steps In The Integration of NCCARE360

In the coming months, NC 211 callers will be offered the opportunity to choose between the traditional 211 referral or to opt to share information and be served through the NCCARE360 platform. When this transition takes place, the volume of referrals on the NCCARE360 platform via NC 211 is expected to have such a significant impact on the platform that it will be a true game-changer for the network.

Adding the option to enter a caller’s information on the NCCARE360 platform will be yet another service enhancement for NC 211. In the past two years, our business model at NC 211 has shifted to add specialized services and training staff as Navigators who become specialists in a subject area (ReBuild, Cybercrime, Coordinated Entry) and provide a higher-touch experience. This model is very successful and further solidifies the belief that software is a tool, but it is the way people use the software that really drives outcomes. 

The ability to ensure NC 211 callers have a positive experience once they join the NCCARE360 platform by tracking their journey and ensuring their needs are met could NOT be accomplished through software alone, but instead requires highly skilled staff – like the team at NC 211.

How NCCARE360 Aligns With The Work of United Way 

United Way was founded on the belief that if we identify needs, pool our resources, convene key partners and work together in new ways, we can effect real change on issues that impact the health, financial stability and education of everyone in our communities. 

211 has long served as an incredible example of what happens when United Ways bring to bear their partnerships and merge them with technology; a service that connects millions across the nation to the help they need, when they need it.

In many ways, NCCARE360 is an exciting and complementary extension of our existing platform. The ability to grow and shift to meet the needs of a community is a healthy characteristic in any organization and NC 211 will continue to evolve as a key component of NCCARE360. 

This evolution is not going unnoticed. 211 leaders across the nation have begun to reach out to the 211 Leadership Team in North Carolina to learn more about the exciting work happening here. On a national level, there is recognition that for coordinated care networks to be truly successful, 211 systems should play a vital role.

NC 211 has the unique asset of the 3-digit dialing code and as a result handles a high level of call volume, unlike any other non-profit organization in the state. The ability of NC 211 to leverage the existing infrastructure and to handle the expected increase in call volume that will eventually accompany NCCARE360 is an asset unique to NC 211, United Way and each of your communities.

Additional Resources

A NY Times published a story on 8/26 in the business section about these massive changes in healthcare in NC.

A 13-minute podcast titled “How NC Is Revolutionizing Healthcare” from The State of Things on WUNC. 

Social Determinants of Health - CDC


A recent blog about NCCARE360 by United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County