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FAQs: Community Management Information System (CMIS)

What is a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)?

Who is using the system?

Who runs DE-CMIS?

What does it cost to use DE-CMIS?

What is ServicePoint?

How did DE-CMIS begin?

What about security?

What are the benefits of participation?

What documents do I need to get started using CMIS?

 

Q: What is a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)?

A:

HMIS is a database application that allows agencies within the continuum of care to better provide services to the homeless population, by collecting basic demographic and other information in a secure site.  

The HMIS allows organizations providing services to the homeless to collect client information electronically. The HMIS is designed to be flexible, secure and protect client confidentiality. The HMIS allows organizations providing services to the homeless to:

  • Collect individual client information (gender, age, ethnicity, etc.)
  • Collect household information (housing status, services provided, income, etc.)
  • Dynamically query individual/household data. 
  • Selectively share client data with other service providers. 
  • Produce reports required by funding agencies.

In early 2012, the Homeless Planning Council made a strategic move to change the name of Delaware's Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) to Delaware's Community Management Information System (CMIS).

Over the past year, the HPC has increased the visibility and demand for a community information management and outcomes tracking system that does not focus solely on those who are serving the homeless.

As of March 2014, there are 144 users in DE-CMIS who enter data for over 120 different programs.

DE-CMIS uses Bowman Systems ServicePoint as its software solution.

ServicePoint, Bowman Systems’ flagship product, is the world’s leading web-based workflow suite for the Social Services sector.

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Q: Who is using the system?

A:

  • Aid in Dover
  • Be Ready CDC
  • Casa San Francisco
  • Catholic Charities
  • Centralized Intake of Delaware
  • Connections Community Support Programs, Inc.
  • Delaware 211
  • Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans
  • Delaware Financial Literacy Institute
  • Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing
  • Family Promise
  • Gateway House
  • Harriet Tubman Safe House
  • Home of the Brave
  • Homeward Bound
  • La Red
  • Love, Inc.
  • Lutheran Community Services
  • Ministry of Caring
  • NAMI - DE
  • Peoples Place II
  • Rick Van Story Resource Center
  • Salvation Army
  • Shepherd Place
  • Sojourners
  • STEHM
  • Sussex Community Crisis Housing Services
  • Sussex County Health Promotion Coalition
  • United Way of Delaware
  • West End Neighborhood House
  • Whatcoat Social Services Agency
  • YMCA - Central Branch
  • YWCA Delaware

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Q: Who runs DE-CMIS?

A:

Currently, DE-CMIS is run by a Recommendations Council, an adhoc work group of the Homeless Planning Council.  The Recommendations Council is responsible for overseeing the growth of the system. The CMIS System Administrator is responsible for training, technical assistance, database management, and day-to-day operations.  The Recommendations Council reports to the HPC Board of Directors.   

We conduct an annual CMIS User Meeting and semi-annual CMIS Agency Administrator meetings to aid in community building and CMIS networking across the state. These meetings serve as places for communication about ServicePoint and guides in communication so that the HPC can better address the needs of the service providers and front-line staff. The users drive the system!

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Q: What does it cost to use DE-CMIS?

A:

Fees are based on the cost of obtaining the user license and the monthly support and hosting fee from Bowman Systems, Inc. Currently, the fee is $450 a year per user; therefore, if an agency decides to have 3 users entering data their annual fee will be $1350.

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Q: What is ServicePoint?

A:

ServicePoint, a product of Bowman Internet Systems, Inc., is a web-based product specifically designed for social service agencies and communities to allow them to manage client information and resource data. The system prides itself on being flexible, powerful and secure. ServicePoint is used by 175 jurisdictions in 40 states.  Standard desktop computer equipment and Internet access are the only requirements for individual agencies using the application. 

ServicePoint contains many features including:

  • ClientPoint –  ClientPoint allows users to enter, edit, view, or print client information. Additionally, ClientPoint offers sophisticated features such as building and tracking family relationships, restricting client records, and conducting case management. Features include custom intake, the ability to track and create family relationships, and service tracking with one click.
  • ResourcePoint – this program is a collection of community resources and agencies that provide a variety of services to those in the homeless population.  It is a directory of human services.
  • ShelterPoint– this program allows service providers to maintain and track the availability of shelter beds in their own agency and those in the community with whom they share information.
  • Report Center- Reports that once took weeks to assemble can now be available to you with a point and click! Choose from preformatted reports or generate custom, on demand reports providing thorough analysis of clients served, unmet needs, cost of service, source of funds, source of referrals, outcomes measurement and more. Reports can be generated either for your individual agency/program or the entire system

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Q: How did DE-CMIS begin?

A:

In 2001, a group of six homeless service providers spearheaded the development and implementation of a statewide HMIS. Their goals were to: (1) improve the delivery of services to the homeless by eliminating the inefficiencies in administration; and (2) to improve their reporting to funders. In October 2001, these six agencies began the pilot project of DE-HMIS. This grassroots effort has been followed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s national HMIS initiative which states that all agencies receiving federal ESG, SHP, Shelter Plus Care and/or HOPWA funds that target the homeless shall be required to become part of their locally-based HMIS.

In early 2012, the Homeless Planning Council made a strategic move to change the name of Delaware's Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) to Delaware's Community Management Information System (CMIS).

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Q: What about security?

A:

ServicePoint ensures that your client and service provider data is secure at all times. The only people permitted to see confidential information are the people who need to see it. Information can be locked or unlocked, viewed or not, depending on the level of security of the viewer. When it comes to meeting legal mandates – from HIPAA to state regulations and agency guidelines - Bowman is a proven leader.  Data is fully encrypted. In addition, DE-CMIS maintains policies, procedures and agreements that guide security precautions.

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Q: What are the benefits of participation?

A:

DE-CMIS believes that the benefits are threefold.

  • Community: On a macro level, DE-CMIS serves agencies such as the HPC and UD who need data for statewide planning purposes.  They will be able to obtain longitudinal AGGREGATE data never before available on the needs and numbers of homeless people, the duration of homelessness, and the frequency of homelessness within some families.  This information can then be used to improve policies and programs that assist the homeless and ultimately get a handle on what causes homelessness.

 

  • Agencies: For nonprofit service providers, DE-CMIS is creating greater efficiencies in the assessment process.  Consequently, more time is available for the actual provision of services.  The CMIS enables the provider to generate reports on the demographics and needs of their residents, develop services to address those needs and track outcomes to learn if those services are working.  The data can be used to develop application for funding and to advocate for funding.  

 

  • Clients: MOST IMPORTANTLY, the system serves homeless individuals and families in need of shelter.  Client demographic data is entered into the system.  If agencies choose to share demographic data at any level, the client can then go to another shelter/homeless provider and avoid a lengthy intake process. Thus, eliminating duplicate client records. Even without sharing, however, DE-CMIS can help streamline case management and service tracking within an agency.  Service plans can be established within the system that include referrals, appointments, follow-ups and goals.  The ability of agencies to streamline their intake, assessment and reporting processes gives more time to client services and case management.  Moreover, community connections among the homeless service providers can help move towards an improved network serving homeless individuals across the county and state; therefore, enhancing the ability of the community to detect service gaps and maintain the proper channels to improve those gaps.

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Q: What documents do I need to get started using CMIS?

A:

Once an agency decides that they are going to participate in CMIS, they need to complete the following documents and send them to the Homeless Planning Council:

  1. Agency Agreement (one per agency, regardless of how many programs information will be entered for)
  2. User Policy and Code of Ethics (one document completed and signed for every user of the system)
  3. Data Sharing Form
  4. CMIS Participating Agency Form

After an agency has signed up for the system, training will be scheduled for every user of the system.  After training is completed, users will have access to the system to begin inputting client information.

Before client information can be entered into the system, each client needs to complete a Release of Information (ROI).  Agencies also need to post the Privacy Notice in a visible location for clients to see.


All of the required documents can be found under the Publications section of the Resources page of the website.


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