LA Leaders Explore Underground Downtown LA

This month, Telecare's Los Angeles leaders got together to journey through downtown LA’s underground, visiting old speakeasies and haunted hotels.

The group heard scary stories, met some of downtown LA’s resident artists and curators, had delicious food at city staple Weird Clifton’s Republic, and went on a tour through the Last Bookstore.

The tour culminated with a sage cleansing ceremony—to get rid of any bad vibes they might have caught visiting the famous sites.

San Bernardino Team Building

In the summer, San Bernardino ACT/MAPS/FACT/TIE-CC & BHICCI staff gathered for a team building experience that incorporated the RCCS values and principals through painting.

Staff were divided into five teams and created a mural that represented one of the RCCS principles and values: judgment, individual uniqueness, power, spirituality, respect. It was a fun and collaborative experience that allowed each staff member to work together showing each staffs artistic ability. The paintings are now displayed on our walls as a reminder of the foundation of the services we provide.

Willow Rock's Clinical Director Recognized as 2017 Field Instructor of the Year by University of California, Berkeley

From left to right: Julie Hodges, Director of Nursing at Willow Rock; John Adam, Administrator at Willow Rock; Anne Bakar, President and CEO of Telecare; Ilene Yasemsky, Clinical Director at Willow Rock; Jennifer Jackson, Field Consultant and Lecturer at UC Berkeley's School of Social Welfare; Greg Merrill, Director of Field Education at UC Berkely's School of Social Welfare 

From left to right: Julie Hodges, Director of Nursing at Willow Rock; John Adam, Administrator at Willow Rock; Anne Bakar, President and CEO of Telecare; Ilene Yasemsky, Clinical Director at Willow Rock; Jennifer Jackson, Field Consultant and Lecturer at UC Berkeley's School of Social Welfare; Greg Merrill, Director of Field Education at UC Berkely's School of Social Welfare 

Earlier this month, the University of California, Berkeley, recognized Ilene Yasemsky as 2017 Field Instructor of the Year at Telecare’s Willow Rock Center in San Leandro, California.

Telecare’s CEO, Anne Bakar, and a few of Ilene’s colleagues at Willow Rock joined representatives from UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare for an afternoon honoring the “clinical goddess” they call Ilene.

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“If [Ilene] could take every community mental health student, we would send them here,” said Jennifer Jackson, Field Consultant and Lecturer at UC Berkeley. “What she offers as a teacher and a mentor is just so phenomenal and priceless, it sets a bar.”

"The magic at Willow Rock is how we join together with a common purpose," said Ilene, as she thanked everyone for their kind words. "And how, it sounds corny, but it's like this big heart. We're all a puzzle piece. We're so much better together when we bring out the best in each other because of this purpose. We're making a difference." 

This is Ilene’s seventh year working with UC Berkeley’s Field Education Program. Their mission is to “develop future leaders of the profession who challenge conventional wisdom by being deeply prepared for multilevel social work in specific areas of practice.”

The program works with 180 field instructors around the Bay Area in both inpatient and community-based programs.

“Willow Rock is the most healing, transformative locked environment I’ve ever set foot in,” said Greg Merrill, Director of Field Education at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare. “There’s some magic in there, and I know part of it is you, but I also know it’s bigger than you. It’s something you invite in others, and others have contributed to creating and sustaining.”

“I don’t know all the magic,” said Anne Bakar, Telecare’s President and CEO. “But I know part of it is your passion and experience as a clinician, and also your team. You have an extraordinarily dedicated and passionate team.”

Others at the luncheon, including former interns of Ilene’s who now work at Willow Rock, chimed in with their warm praise for her clinical work, her notorious love of cheetah print, and the compassionate care she brings to work every day.

“I have literally been there watching you in conversation, standing back and been in awe, because you never let go of the heart of anything that was ever going on,” said one colleague. “You see the heart of the person. You might be distressed by a person's actions, but you wouldn't let go of their heart.”

Telecare Receives Three-Year CARF Accreditation

CARF logo

For the past year, Telecare's programs and Quality Department have been hard at work preparing for an intensive survey by CARF International, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the quality of health and human services at hospitals and rehabilitation facilities worldwide. After a week of on-site visits from CARF surveyors in August, we were pleased to learn CARF awarded Telecare a three-year accreditation status.

In 1998, Telecare chose CARF to accredit its Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) and residential programs because the CARF standards focused on person-centered practices, a strong match to Telecare's values and philosophy of recovery-centered services. Now, Telecare has over 75 CARF-accredited programs in eight program types and three special populations (Justice Involved, Older Adults, and Children and Adolescents). Additionally, Telecare has three hospitals that are Joint Commission accredited.

The survey preparation is a unifying and engaging process, where direct-care staff and leaders come together to review and confirm their conformance to standards and prepare to demonstrate unique best practices to CARF surveyors.

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“If this is a program's or leader’s first time going through CARF, we’re going to take a more hands-on approach to help them get ready,” said Tara Booth, Clinical Quality Manager at Telecare. “We meet with their leadership, pair them with other leaders at programs similar to their own, and host mock surveys to help them figure out what to focus on and what the process with the surveyors will be like.”

Telecare utilizes CARF and Joint Commission standards as a foundation for policy and adherence to high quality practices at our programs. We maintain conformance to these standards continuously, and prepare for the surveys by readying materials and evidence to demonstrate our program's excellent quality, best practices, and its high-involvement and recovery-centered cultures.

This year, CARF released a more detailed report on strengths and areas for improvement, recognizing Telecare’s organizational practices, our leadership, and individual programs. Below are a few findings from the 2017 CARF Accreditation Report for Telecare Corporation.

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Prescribing Practices:

  • “Telecare provides outstanding integrated healthcare and psychopharmacology guidelines that ensure safe treatment using state-of-the-art prescribing practices.”
  • “Telecare’s leadership, physicians, and nurse practitioners provide medication management, education, and holistic treatment modalities that support psychiatric stabilization, recovery, resiliency, and overall emotional wellness.”

Whole Person Care Curriculum:

  • "Introducing its Whole Person Care and Wellness curriculum, Telecare is committed to developing an integrated primary care and behavioral health model."

Client Satisfaction:

  • While surveying some of our Northern California programs (SOAR in Sacramento, Jeremy House in Stockton, and TRAC in Modesto), CARF noted “the persons served interviewed reported considerable satisfaction with the services offered…One member stated that Telecare is like ‘an oasis from a life of difficulties and obstacles.’ Another member stated that 'the program literally saved [his] life.'"

CARF accreditation reports also come with a set of recommendations for quality improvement in providers. Telecare's Quality Team has put together an improvement plan to address these recommendations. As CARF noted, "Telecare is open to feedback, new information, and training to improve its services. The organization is solution-focused and willing to make changes to improve the quality of care provided. It is committed to the CARF standards and to the accreditation process.”

Telecare continues to utilize CARF standards and its Clinical Quality Standardization Committees to drive consistency in best practices and conformance to CARF standards.


Fires in California: How To Help

As you may know, California is experiencing a devastating wave of wildfires that are continuing
day by day. From the northern Bay Area to the Santa Cruz mountains, to the hills and mountainsaround Los Angeles, wildfires are consuming hundreds of thousands of acres of natural areas as well as homes and businesses. The scope of the losses is staggering: thousands of structures have been destroyed, lives have been lost, communities have been completely consumed by the flames.

As a mental health provider with program locations in these areas, we are acutely and sorrowfully aware of how our employees, the people we serve, and these communities are being affected by the fires. We are making a donation to the Red Cross on behalf of everyone at Telecare Corporation to help with general disaster relief.

How You Can Help:

Donate Money: 
American Red Cross
Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund
Redwood Credit Union

Donate Time: American Red Cross/Other Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteers of all kinds are encouraged to register with the Red Cross.  Licensed clinical mental health workers are needed to provide support in the communities affected. 
To find out how to help, call: 707- 577-7600 or go to to sign up to volunteer.  

You can also contact Ricardo Martinez, DGS Chief Procurement Officer, at 916-317-6451 or 

Alameda County licensed clinicians are encouraged to volunteer as well: for more information on how to volunteer with the County efforts, please contact

More Resources:
Sonoma County Community Information Page
County Mental Health Services (for all of California)

Stanislaus County Effective Partnership Committee Provided the Effective Partnership Annual Recognition Award to the Initial Outreach & Engagement Center

On August 1, 2017, the Outreach and Engagement Center opened at 825 12th Street in Modesto. The center is made possible through a collaboration between Telecare’s TRAC/TMRS/SHOP Outreach Program along with county programs and other agencies in Stanislaus County.

Partners for this center include Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Telecare, Community Services Agency, Stanislaus County Superior Court, Memorial Medical Center and Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, Credit Bureau Advisors and the Stanislaus County Chief Executive Office. The Effective Partnership Annual Recognition Award was awarded to all agencies that are collaborating together. It is the first time we have won this award, and it means that we are all making positive changes within the Stanislaus community.

This collaboration has allowed the community to begin to bring services together for improved effectiveness. The Outreach team seek people out in the community in a strategic and coordinated effort with other partner outreach teams who are now co-located.

The Outreach and Engagement Center will also serve as a physical entry point providing access and referrals to a wide-range of homelessness services.

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STEPS Orange County’s Vision Boards


This month, 17 members from our STEPS Orange County attended a Recovery-Centered Clinical System (RCCS) group where they created "vision boards." The activity was based on the RCCS conversation worksheet they received on "Awakening Hope."

The RCCS has five conversation areas that staff can utilize to engage with clients.

We believe that hopes and dreams fuel an individual's recovery journey. Our role is to partner with clients and have conversations that "awaken" and grow one's belief in a meaningful future and the believe in that possibility. 

The boards were made with the hope of inspiring members to focus on the goals they would like to achieve, and visualize the hopes and dreams for they have for themselves. 

Transforming Everyday Household Products Into Hygiene Kits and More

When Lindy Cain sees baking soda and vinegar, she doesn't just see an elementary science project in the making; Lindy sees an opportunity to teach the members of Telecare's Sierra Vista ACT how to make a variety of household products in her DIY group hosted at the program every week.

Lindy Cain, Team lead at Telecare's Sierra Vista Act, makes bug repellant from household items at her diy group session.

Lindy Cain, Team lead at Telecare's Sierra Vista Act, makes bug repellant from household items at her diy group session.

"I taught our group how to clean their entire house with baking soda and vinegar," said Lindy. "I mostly focus on household and hygiene products. We do laundry soap every couple of months, we do dish soap, we've made dandruff shampoo, we make face lotion, face wash, face scrub, chap stick."

The DIY products are easy to make and use low-cost ingredients, most of which can be bought with food stamps or EBT funds.

"Many of the members don't have much money, and the money they do have, they need it for other things. I try to make things that our members don't normally have and can help them out in the community," said Lindy.

One of the members was having trouble walking on the weekly mile-long hikes they would take as part of a health and wellness curriculum at the program. The member's heels were scaly and cracked, which made it painful to walk long distances. He tried using a salve the doctor prescribed, but it didn’t work. Lindy looked up how to make foot salves and found a recipe for one that included magnesium.

“We melted magnesium flakes into water with oregano oil, beeswax, and water to make a lotion," said Lindy. "He started using it and his feet cleared up, which remedies had never done before. Now he can go on walks and exercise and his feet feel good."

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"Lindy goes above and beyond in her creative ways to engage and activate the members to live the lives of their choice," said Jennifer Hinkel, Vice President of Development at Telecare. "I participated in a DIY session where members were making a bug repellant lotion out of beeswax, coconut oil, baking soda, lemongrass, and lavender. Since many of our members walk or spend time outside, they really appreciated the session and the product that they could take and use that day."

For ideas and recipes, Lindy says she looks mostly on Pinterest, Wellness Mama, or Mountain Rose Herbs. Members also come to her and pitch ideas to replicate items they like to see if they can make them in the DIY group.

"It's skill-building and it’s also socializing with other members and myself, while they are learning about things in the environment. They enjoy learning about the different oils and the different properties and what they are used for," said Lindy.

Setting up a DIY group is easy, said Lindy. If you're interested in trying one at your program, Lindy provided some helpful tips for getting started.

How to Start a DIY Group

  • Buy ingredients in bulk. Lindy uses Amazon and Sam’s Club to purchase larger items at a lower cost.
  • Don't think too hard about containers. For dish soap, Lindy uses water bottles. For laundry soap, you can use plastic bags. You can also use portion cups, like for condiments, which you can buy in bulk at Sam's Club.
  • Just do some research and don’t be afraid of it — it's really easy.
Products the DIY group make include lavender, coconut and honey soap, lotions, face scrubs and much more!

Products the DIY group make include lavender, coconut and honey soap, lotions, face scrubs and much more!

Finding Hopes and Dreams in Ink and Needles

There’s a reason friends and family warn us not to get tattoos — they're permanent. If you change your mind, removing the ink is long, costly, and painful (like running sandpaper across an open wound).


In some instances, tattoos are permanent labels of a past no longer serving a person, especially when someone is trying to move forward in a journey of recovery. Our Recovery Center at Woodburn in Oregon recently heard from a resident who wanted to cover a tattoo he got in prison that aligned him with a white supremacist group.

"It was very clear that he got the swastikas because he feared for his safety," said Kimberley Smith Daly, Team Lead at the Recovery Center. "It was a particular source of shame for him. It’s not what he believed…he did it because he felt he needed to protect himself."

Kimberley called her friend, Justin Heath, a mobile tattoo artist who works with several substance use treatment providers as well as private clients, and transforms old tattoos into new works of art at a reduced rate.

"He has a lot of clients, but this is something he does to give back to the community," said Kimberley. "The tattoos he's doing today that the guys are paying for, he's hardly charging them anything at all because he wants them to have the pride and the value of purchasing their own tattoo, but he knows they aren't always affordable."

After many hours sitting in a chair, the swastika tattoo transformed into a butterfly. Another gentleman at the Recovery Center at Woodburn had a tattoo of an offensive phrase on the back of his neck turned into a soaring eagle. Two symbols of hate changed into symbols of hope and strength.

"We want to get people to where their hopes and dreams are," said Kimberley. "There are companies that will help get people’s gang tattoos removed, but these guys liked the idea of artwork and liked the idea of having it become something beautiful and something they could be proud of, rather than just trying to erase it."

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"Kim's actions will profoundly impact these two men's lives for the better for the rest of their lives," said Jim Sechrist, Telecare’s Regional Director of Operations in Oregon.

Since having their tattoos covered, both residents have made ardent strides in their recovery. 

“He has been so bright and cheery, and more outgoing, and having conversations with people, initiating more conversations with people,” said Kimberley about the man whose tattoo transformed into an eagle. “It’s the shift in self-esteem that is so key to moving forward in recovery.”

Telecare Opposes Graham-Cassidy Repeal Bill

As you may have heard, the latest effort to repeal the ACA is currently very close to being voted on. Telecare opposes this bill, as it would eliminate expanded Medicaid funding for so many of the people we serve, sabotaging state initiatives to address the overdose crisis and fight substance use disorders. Cutting or capping Medicaid and ending the Medicaid expansion will be devastating to those who can’t afford health care in the private market. It would allow states to eliminate requirements that private insurance cover substance use disorders and mental illness. It would also allow them to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing illnesses. This bill would disproportionally affect the people we serve in so many ways.

Telecare is sending letters to Senators in the states we serve. If you feel moved to do so, please contact your senator right away. Please call your Senator urging them to vote NO on the bill. You can call 888-852-0653, which allows you to contact your member of Congress.

The National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors also offers these facts for crafting your own message. 


1.     MASSIVE STATE BY STATE FUNDING CUTS. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report showing in 2027, every state in the nation would see federal funding cuts under Graham-Cassidy, totaling nearly $300 billion.

2.             NO FULL CBO SCORE. The Congressional Budget Office announced it would not be able to produce a complete analysis on Graham-Cassidy that includes the impact on deficits, how many will lose coverage or the increase in premiums by September 30.  Senator Bill Cassidy admitted “I just don’t care about the coverage numbers.”

3.             PRE-EXISTING CONDITION PREMIUM HIKES. The Center for American Progress released a report showing how much more people with pre-existing conditions would pay each year under Graham-Cassidy. For example, an individual with asthma would face a premium surcharge of $4,340. The surcharge for pregnancy would be $17,320 and $142,650 more for patients with metastatic cancer.

4.             WORSE THAN BEFORE. Fitch Rating Agency found that this bill was “more disruptive for most states than prior Republican efforts.” The Washington Post found this bill is worse than previous health care repeal bills, writing “"The latest Obamacare overhaul bill gaining steam on Capitol Hill slashes health-care spending more deeply and would likely cover fewer people than a July bill that failed precisely because of such concerns."

5.             MORE UNINSURED VETS. Rand Corp study showing Republican repeal efforts would increase the number of uninsured veterans. The report showed that the ACA’s Medicaid expansion had increased coverage for low-income veterans who lived further from VA facilities. The report found that the ACA was responsible for reducing the uninsured rate of veterans by about one-third, from 9.1% to 5.8%, in 2015.

6.             MORE UNINSURED CHILDREN. The Center for American Progress released an analysis showing that children are at immediate risk of losing coverage in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Utah with CHIP funding running out quickly.

7.             KEY STAKEHOLDERS OPPOSE. The AARP, AMA, six leading physician groups, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and 15 more high-profile patient groups and Children’s Hospital Association are all unified in opposing the Republican repeal bill.

8.             GOP GOVERNORS OPPOSE. Republican Governors from Alaska, Ohio, Massachusetts and New Hampshire have come out against the plan.

9.             FAILS THE MCCAIN TEST. The NYT's David Leonhardt's column, "John McCain Faces a New Test of His Principles."

10.          RAND PAUL IS A 'NO.' GOP Senator Rand Paul opposes Graham-Cassidy, writing in an op-ed, “In all ways, this bill is also ObamaCare Lite. In no way is it repeal the way we promised. I will oppose this bill as I did the other fake repeal bills, and I urge those who want repeal to do so, as well.“

11.          INCLUDES THE AGE TAX. This repeal bill still lets insurance companies charge up to 5 times more for people over 50, what AARP has dubbed an “Age Tax”.

12.          NO GUARANTEE IN THE HOUSE. Because this repeal bill is worse than previous ones, the Washington Post reports "Would the House pass Graham-Cassidy? It's not a slam dunk."


Clark County E&T’s Quote Board


Staff at the Clark County Evaluation & Treatment (E&T) center in Vancouver, WA, spent the last month or so writing their favorite quotes on a bulletin board in the program designed by one of their team members in Social Services, Shawn Wolf.

Shawn’s inspiration for the bulletin board was the Disney movie UP. Staff members were invited to add their own favorite quotes to the balloons to encourage, inspire, and to make others laugh. (”Why are iPhone chargers not called apple juice?”)

“UP is about enjoying life every day,” said Shawn. “Life’s not only about the big monumental moments. It is equally important to say YES to the small miracles that surround you.”

Orange County STEPS Explores Culture

Members at Telecare's Orange County STEPS program in Santa Ana, CA, requested a new group regarding cultural exploration and awareness. 

To help create the group, STEPS staff asked members to find cultures they are interested in learning about, and choose one to explore each month. With each culture, staff will share with members its history, traditions, arts and crafts, and invite members to share their own stories if they identify with the chosen culture. 

This week, staff and members created worry dolls, which originated in Latin America. The members enjoyed learning about the tradition as well as how they could be used as a coping skill.

Villa Fairmont Staff Appreciation Event

On June 17, staff from our Villa Fairmont Mental Health Rehabilitation Center (MHRC), located in San Leandro, CA, went out to the ballgame to see the A’s beat the Yankees! Thanks to all the staff at Villa for your hard work and your deep commitment to the care of our clients!

La Paz Celebrates Nurses Week

This month, Telecare's La Paz Geropsychiatric Center in Long Beach, CA, recognized their magnificent nursing staff during National Nurses Week.

The festivities began with a continental breakfast on Monday; delicious rootbeer floats were served on Tuesday; a lunch treat from Subway was offered on Wednesday; the rehabilitation department recognized their nursing peers by creating an attractive and tasty candy bar on Thursday; and on Friday, the last day of the event, all nurses were treated to an Italian dinner.

A raffle was held and each member of the nursing department received a lunch tote bag and an engraved pen.

La Paz appreciates its nurses who work hard every day and show extraordinary caring and compassion towards the residents.

CATC’s First RCCS Rehab Lab

This month, Rehabilitation Therapist Myrna Alylesworth hosted Multnomah CATC’s first RCCS Rehab Lab.

The quarterly workgroup will focus on supporting the CATC team in increasing their use of the RCCS materials into their already strong group schedule. The first item on the agenda was strengthening community meeting and evening wrap-up groups. Staff were very enthusiastic about the new program and contributed a lot of new ideas.

The hope is that staff will become RCCS masters and will be able to incorporate the material that Telecare produces for staff into more creative groups that will help residents grow. 

Hope House Has a New Employee of The Month Program

Telecare’s Hope House in Martinez, California, developed an Employee of the Month program to recognize employees that stand out to their peers. Each Month, all staff vote for an employee they feel has performed exceptional work supporting our residents and their teammates. The employee of the month gets their picture posted, receives a certificate of appreciation, gets their own parking spot, and gets taken out to lunch as a way of thanking them for their exceptional dedication and hard work.

For the month of May, our Employee of the Month was Ebidoere Crump, Residential Counselor. She always has a can-do, positive attitude, always promotes recovery with our residents, and is always fun to be around. She is a professional chef and all our residents look forward to her meals. Our employee of the month for June is Kelsey Rogers, Licensed Psychiatric Technician (LPT). She works hard to ensure our medication room is well-organized and that our residents work toward their recovery. She also has a can-do attitude.

Thank you for all that you do at Hope House!

Recovery Center at Sarpy Celebrates 11 Years

The Recovery Center at Sarpy in Nebraska celebrated their 11-year program anniversary this week with a staff and resident BBQ to mark the actual day of opening on June 5. Residents gave a special presentation and poster to the Recovery Specialists, thanking them for all that they do and gave them a week of appreciation as well. 

Staff grilled lunch and served the residents in honor of their hard work in recovery. Residents spoke about their appreciation for the program and took it upon themselves to thank and honor the staff. Everyone had a great day spending time celebrating together and recognizing the work of the program. 

Pierce County E&T Attends Washington NAMIWalk

Staff and friends of Telecare’s Pierce County E&T in Lakewood, Washington, came together to attend the Washington NAMIWalk on June 3.

NAMIWalks are 5k events raising awareness and funds for NAMI organizations across the country. Last year, NAMIWalks collectively raised nearly $11 million, and so far this year they’ve raised more than $6 million! You can find a NAMIWalk near you to participate in by clicking this link.

A big thank you to the staff & others who participated in such a wonderful event!