Organizational Member Spotlight: New Horizons of the Treasure Coast

by George Shopland, CEO, NHTC

When another healthcare organization, or another member, thinks of New Horizons of the Treasure Coast what do you want them to visualize?

New Horizons strives to be the best trauma-informed, patient-focused, caring, compassionate and steadfast mental health and addiction recovery agency in a four-county region, serving people from every walk of life, regardless of the challenges they face or their ability to pay.

How has growth affected NHTC since its launch 61 years ago in terms of staff and patient services?

Established in 1958, New Horizons has grown from a single location serving a mostly rural population of 250 clients on a $25,000 annual budget, to becoming the largest and most comprehensive mental health and addiction recovery agency in the region. Now, New Horizons has nine offices across four counties, 427 employees, and serves 14,000 children and adults annually on a $27 million budget. What has remained constant is New Horizons’ philosophy of evolving with the changing needs of the community, i.e. building the Frances Langford Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit in 2010 when demand far exceeded available beds for youth in crisis, creating a Transitional Group Home in 2014 for clients being discharged from state hospitals, and helping to launch the Treasure Coast Opioid Task Force in 2017 to address the opioid epidemic with our community partners.

Are there any recent new programs or new innovative services that you would like to highlight?

Over the past two years, New Horizons has added Children’s Community Action Team (CCAT) and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) to its repertoire of services, resulting in a significant impact on youth and families, as well as adults addicted to opioids. We have also been offering telepsychiatry at our main campus in Fort Pierce for the past two years, and now we are in the process of rolling it out across several other county locations.

Are there any recent new programs or new innovative services that you would like to highlight?

Over the past two years, New Horizons has added Children’s Community Action Team (CCAT) and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) to its repertoire of services, resulting in a significant impact on youth and families, as well as adults addicted to opioids. We have also been offering telepsychiatry at our main campus in Fort Pierce for the past two years, and now we are in the process of rolling it out across several other county locations.

What is the most common challenge you find when speaking with executives at other community-based behavioral health care organizations?

Funding, and the lack thereof, is the most common issue executives discuss impeding behavioral health progress. Florida is ranked #49 or #50 in the nation for state funding of mental health, which inevitably results in lower wages for employees and extended wait times for clients to receive services. As we explore new streams of revenue to supplement the programs, we also explore new avenues of recruiting and retaining a talented workforce.

How does your organization define successful outcomes?

First, exceeding our goal of 85% positive outcome results as determined by our customer satisfaction surveys. Each client’s success is a cause for celebration. Also, caring for our caregivers, the dedicated staff of New Horizons, is an important aspect of being a trauma-informed agency. Caring for the caregivers ultimately leads to higher morale, increased compassion among the staff, and improved care provided to our clients. New Horizons’ mission is to make behavioral health and primary care services accessible in order to improve the quality of life in our community. We are building a healthier tomorrow one client – and one employee – at a time.

Are there any awards or recognitions received by NHTC that you would like to share with readers?

New Horizons was honored to receive the United Way of St. Lucie County Health Impact Award for the Primary Care Clinic, which integrates clients’ physical and mental health. New Horizons also received a transformational grant award from Impact 100 Indian River to develop a psychosocial rehabilitation program that would fill clients with a sense of pride, am award from the Florida Insurance Trust for its Holiday Miracles Contest, and numerous recognitions from the St. Lucie Chamber of Commerce, Treasure Coast Newspapers, Hobe Sound Community Chest, area schools, and the Italian American Club.

Can you please leave us with a last statement about NHTC: What is most important to remember?

For six decades, New Horizons has been helping people in need, representing some of the most vulnerable sectors of the population. In the future, New Horizons will look to provide more comprehensive, innovative care, to meet the needs of more people within our region and beyond.