Orion ISO’s related company, Meridian Services, was founded in 1980, in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. Meridian focused on providing services in greater Minnesota where access to quality services were not as readily available as in the Twin Cities area. In 1993, Meridian expanded to the Twin Cities, but the heart of the company remains where it began over thirty years ago, in outstate and rural Minnesota.

Today, Orion ISO works in 36 counties and is able to provide services throughout the entire State of Minnesota. The company understands that when an individual or family member has a disability, they should receive the best services possible no matter where they reside. Orion ISO is dedicated to ensuring that all those served receive quality, personal services where the challenges of geography may make it difficult for traditional service providers to provide and retain good staff.

Smaller populations and larger geographical distances are what make self-directed services an ideal solution for many who live in rural areas. The ability to keep loved ones at home, to hire family, friends and neighbors who live close by, and to “manage” the services independently make self-directed service an excellent option.

“During my 14 years of being an ISO Coordinator I have had the privilege of working with a large number of families outside of the metro area, many who live in very rural communities,” says Missy Schraut, an ISO Coordinator who lives and works in a rural community. “Seeing how self-directed services has allowed these families to branch out of their “normal,” and obtain goods and services that were at one time out of their reach is truly amazing.”

As part of Orion ISO’s services, Coordinators meet face to face with those they serve, wherever in the state they may live. Each client is assigned an individual contact and this also makes services personal and more efficient.

Orion ISO’s advances in technology have helped make self-directed services easier to use, especially for those living in rural areas. Online capabilities expedite processes for families, including completing timesheets, submitting expenses, training employees and accessing paperwork. The latest exciting advancement includes electronic completion of employee and employer enrollment packets. Orion ISO’s new software allows  packets to be completed in roughly 7 minutes! This improvement dramatically decreases the start-up time for new consumers to begin services with our organization as well as less valuable time being spend completing paperwork. It is always an option to submit paperwork and complete forms by e-mail, fax and regular mail.

“Orion ISO understands the unique challenges that are felt by people receiving services in the rural areas of Minnesota,” says Erin Huldeen, Program Administrator. “The roots of our organization started in outstate Minnesota and we have always worked extra hard to help minimize these challenges and support those individuals in whatever ways we can.”

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