Organizational Member Spotlight: Tri-County Human Services

When another healthcare organization, or another member, thinks of Tri-County Human Services what do you want them to visualize?

 Our Mission:  Since 1974 “Tri-County Human Services provides help and hope to all persons affected by behavioral health, substance abuse and other life challenges.”  We provide high quality behavioral health outpatient, residential, detox, in-jail, prevention, medical and psychiatric, homeless/housing services while giving a person choice in our local communities.   We build positive working relationships with other agencies, the community, and others to help create an effective system of care in our area, which includes our local FQHC.  TCHS focuses on empowering individuals to choose to build and maintain a healthy lifestyle and takes a holistic approach to helping those we serve. 

How has growth affected Tri-County over the years? 

Population growth has increased service need while resources has generally remained level.  Challenges include need to serve individuals in our three diverse suburban and rural counties.  We have successfully advocated for an Indigent sales tax resource using same to provide innovative, award winning programs in corrections and behavioral health communities complimented with existing resources.  This approach has doubled the available resources during the past ten years.  We now serve over ten thousand individuals receiving behavioral health prevention, treatment and housing services.   Area growth is also impacted by limited availability of over 310 professional, semi-professional and support personnel.  Securing personnel in rural areas is a challenge, as our workforce need has grown tremendously over the past several years.  Our positive innovative orientation to business has provided a platform to meet the new and varied service needs, resulting in effective collaborations with organizations, individual medical and allied health and human service organizations/practitioners, hospitals, state and county corrections.  We have been called upon to lead many innovative multi-agency programs to establish in depth, meaningful effective service delivery.  

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

As growth has provided new innovative opportunities, we have adopted  concepts through TCHS moving to serve individuals in Jail, diverting from jail retaining/retraining individuals to re-join or integrate in to respective communities such as with the Helping Hands Program in Polk County, the Men’s and Women New Beginnings programs for recent move from incarceration to community. Our overarching innovative entrepreneurial approach has provided medical services in jails, food services to other community agencies and groups.  We have incorporated an extensive support housing initiative to serve the “whole person” and which currently employs five certified peers and seven case managers.  Over the past two years Tri-County has added a medication-assisted assisted treatment (MAT) program to address the opiate epidemic in our area.  In addition, Tri-County Human Services Prevention program is providing education to the schools with regards to opiates.  We are also a Narcan provider and have distributed Narcan at our recent opiate symposiums and to the community.  Tri-County Human Services has contracts to provide case management and peer support services for individuals moving out of our county jails.  These programs were designed to reduce the reoccurring arrests of individuals with mental health, substance abuse or co-occurring disorders.  We have added extensive outreach related to the Community Based Care organizations via piloting a new child welfare integration access model.  One which will be highlighted at the upcoming 2019 Behavioral Health conference.

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

In this geographic area we experience limited transportation impacting access.  Also, targeted gender and age specific funding limits access for some specific populations including males, elderly and generally low-income individuals. In a recent poll, transportation and supportive housing were noted as primary concerns to address.  Resource availability as related to workforce is a significant issue.  This challenge relates to financial supports as well as training and incentives for individuals to work in rural and entry level positions.  Funding has been improved relative to permitted use of contracted service funds, to a level that is nearing real audited cost.   However, the numbers served consistently exceeds the increase in population growth.

How does your organization define successful outcomes?

While success is defined within DCF contracts and with other funders, TCHS looks beyond outputs and outcomes to measure success.  We look at our contribution to the overall system of care and how we touch the pulse of an individual to guide him/her to a road to recovery.  We look at how we are meeting the community needs to effectively offer services that are relevant to help our citizens.   We measure success as we touch community members who are productive members of their respective communities

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

Tri-County has maintained a consistent three-year CARF accreditation status for over 20 years, being re-cognized in the upper 2% of organizations in the US.  We are founding members of the 1st ME and have consistently been recognized as a 5 STAR agency within the Central Florida Behavioral Health Network.  We have received various awards for service delivery in jail, in our housing community, in maintaining an open access “welcoming” organization for our communities and counties.

Can you please leave us with a last statement about Tri-County Human Services: What is most important to remember?

TCHS is an ever-changing organization that meets the needs of our Community with no wrong door, as we treat all people with respect as we hold them in high esteem.