Organizational Member Showcase: The Transition House

By Tom Griffin, CEO, The Transition House

When another healthcare organization, or another member, thinks of The Transition House what do you want them to visualize?

High quality, committed behavioral health and substance use treatment services that are evidence-based and provided with respect for the dignity of those we serve.

How has growth affected The Transition House over the years?

We have always been a company of growth and expansion and we enjoy the ability to provide our services to new areas in need. With growth comes an increase in staff members, obligations, and broadening of oversight. We’ve met this challenge well, relying on key staff members who are deeply invested in our mission. Like a family, growth is a combination of exciting, scary, and rewarding.

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

Our newest major change within our agency has been the adoption of outpatient centers, which provide a range of behavioral health and substance use treatment. We are very proud of these centers and they continue to be well-received by the three Central Florida communities they are located in, St. Cloud, Kissimmee, and Longwood. Our services offered at our outpatient centers are quite broad in scope. We see children, adults, couples, and families within a service array that includes individual and group therapy, couples and family therapy, psychiatric services, psychological testing, medication assisted treatment (MAT), and a women’s partial hospitalization program.

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

The ever-changing reimbursement landscape is always a challenge for community-based agencies, as funding and targeted priorities are constantly evolving. The stigma of behavioral health and substance use disorders is something that has improved with time, but stigma remains a challenge and can impact how funding is prioritized. As an agency we are proud to be part of the movement to eliminate the stigma around behavioral health and substance use disorders.

How does your organization define successful outcomes?

We really value person-centered treatment and so at the core, really, we don’t define successful outcomes, our service recipients do. For some, success is defined on a daily basis, through seemingly small but truly important steps or changes. Other service recipients aim to make large-scale changes and thus success for them is the achievement of such goals. In terms of ourselves, our expectation is daily excellence and if we achieve that, we can foster the individualized success that each of our service recipients wishes to see for themselves.

Organizational Member Showcase: Circles of Care

By David Feldman, President, Circles of Care

When another healthcare organization, or another member, thinks of Circles of Care what do you want them to visualize?

We are a large, financially sound provider of mental health and substance abuse services in Brevard County, Florida. We have 10 locations in Brevard County to serve the needs of the mentally ill and substance abusers. All of us on the management team are involved in community organizations or statewide committees. This allows us to network with other professionals and have community allies.

How has growth affected Circles of Care over the years?

Circles of Care was founded in 1963 with 6 employees. While we have a 40-million dollar budget, real growth did not start until the 1980s when we opened a 52 bed licensed psychiatric hospital. In the 1990s we opened our first commercial pharmacy and we now have three pharmacies. We also developed and expanded residential facilities for the mentally ill which now totals 98 beds. In the 2000s we built a 50 bed Baker Act Receiving Facility, the largest in the state and got licensed for 50 beds. We now have a total of 102 adult psychiatric beds. This Baker Act unit was awarded the Architect & Contractor ACE award for the most innovative building in Central and South Florida in 2011 under 25 million dollars. We have three major Outpatient Clinics located throughout the county. Our central county Outpatient Clinic was built in 2017 and named after the former President & CEO James B. Whitaker.

What else should we know about Circles of Care?

• Circles of Care is JCAHO Accredited
• We have 600 employees
• Sally’s House is our long-term residential recovery home program for substance abusing women and their children. We acquired this program through a merger.
• Circles has both Inpatient and Outpatient Medically Assisted Treatment programs
• Circles has a 16 bed children’s crisis unit
• Circles has a 30 bed detox/residential program
• Circles was one of the founding members of the old FCCMH and we are honored to have four of our staff receive Fellow Status: James B. Whitaker, former President & CEO, Linda Brannon, VP of Human Resources, Stephen Lord VP Information Systems and myself David L. Feldman, President and CEO.

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

Circles, like many centers, has many challenges-primarily the limited funding we receive from the State, particularly for our Safety Net Programs. In addition, we face new competition from a private for profit psychiatric hospital. Managed Care companies have become even more restrictive, learning new ways to deny /reduce payment for services. We will attempt to meet these challenges to continue to be the provider of choice in Brevard County and even thrive in this new healthcare environment. Thank you taking the time to read this and learning about Circles of Care, Inc.

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.

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.

Organizational Member Showcase: Better Way of Miami

OBHA Staff, Better Way of Miami

When another healthcare organization, or another member, thinks of Better Way of Miami what do you want them to visualize?

A dedicated, competent and caring staff who deliver excellent behavioral health services.

How has growth affected Better Way of Miami since its launch in 1983 in terms of staff and patient services?

Better Way began in 1983 in a little rented house with a small group of men who wanted to stay clean and sober. There was no paid staff. Today, Better Way services over 300 clients annually, offers permanent supportive housing at three different locations, and is regarded as one of the best Behavioral Health providers in South Florida. We provide evidence-based Substance Abuse and Mental Health services with a staff of Masters level therapists; supervised by licensed clinicians. We provide primary care, vocational and educational services to our clients with an integrated approach with our community partners.

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

With new funding opportunities that arose due to the opiate crisis, Better Way was able to secure a new program that provides Substance Abuse treatment along with Medication Assisted Therapy. Better Way is now providing in-home outpatient services to tenants in many of housing programs in Miami-Dade County. We were chosen to pilot a new clinical intervention through Miami Dade Drug Court called “Helping Men Recover” in our Outpatient modality of care. A program that is designed to treat the effects of trauma, specifically for men.

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

The incredibly fast pace of change in the healthcare world and the challenges of getting ahead of the curve. This requires nimble, experienced and knowledgeable leadership and staff who are not able to be compensated sufficiently; causing a gap that impedes progress. Funding for adequate resources to meet client needs and staffing are persistent issues.

How does your organization define successful outcomes?

We, as most Providers, have several different specific outcome measures which define “success” for our funders. Essentially, this is measured by the consumer’s progress as they move through our system of care; assuring that he/she is clean and sober and has addressed mental health issues through counseling and medication. We prioritize ongoing services such as placement in permanent housing and stable employment as data has shown these have led to better outcomes for our population. We strongly support membership in 12 Step programs to help ensure long-term sobriety.

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

Better Way was recently recognized by the Miami Dade County Homeless Trust for sponsoring the Homeless Memorial and its long-time advocacy for the homeless. Many of our staff has received accolades in their field for providing excellent service to the community.

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

Better Way has been emerging as a contemporary agency offering excellent services by a talented staff. Underneath the growth and clinical sophistication is a staff oriented toward helping those who are the hardest to serve in our community so that they may live usefully whole and productive lives.