Telecare Supports Legislative Bill AB1971

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Telecare Corporation is a mental health care provider that offers recovery-centered programs and solutions for people with serious mental illness and complex needs. We serve 30,000 individuals per year, many of whom have severe mental illness and are gravely disabled.

As such, we are in full support of AB1971, co-sponsored by the California Psychiatric Association with the Steinberg Institute and the County of Los Angeles. We support this important step toward helping people receive respectful, necessary, quality care. The bill has passed out of its house of origin and is awaiting committee hearings in the second house. 

What AB1971 Does

AB1971 updates the criteria to consider someone gravely disabled, expanding the definition to include those who are unable to recognize or care for their own urgent physical medical needs because of their mental illness.

Why We Support AB1971

The number of homeless people who are dying on the streets has nearly doubled since 2013. Last year, Los Angeles County alone reported 831 deaths, with the total number statewide reaching into the thousands. Many of these deaths were due to untreated physical illnesses such as sepsis and other infections, diabetes, heart conditions, and life-threatening injuries.

This bill helps to support those gravely ill persons who are unable to care for their own physical needs due to mental illness.

For More Information

The full text of the bill is here (click)

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May is Mental Health Month!

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Each year, we recognize May as Mental Health Month to build awareness and decrease stigma around mental illness. Telecare program staff and members participate in health fairs, NAMIWalks, and other local events to provide information on supportive services and promote wellness in their communities. 

Check out the images below for a glimpse into what programs did for Mental Health Month!

A Walk in the Woods: Recovery Center at Gresham's Team Retreat

 Oxbow Regional Park, Multnomah County, OR. Photo by Ilya Yakubovich/Flikr

Oxbow Regional Park, Multnomah County, OR. Photo by Ilya Yakubovich/Flikr

In March, the staff at Telecare's Recovery Center at Gresham program in Oregon enjoyed a fun and recovery-centered retreat at the YMCA Camp Collins alongside Oxbow Regional Park in Multnomah County.

This was the second annual retreat for the Gresham team. Each year, they break into groups for single-day trips away in the woods to take advantage of the majestic landscapes Oregon has to offer. The days are filled with activities that incorporate some "awarenesses" from Telecare's Recovery-Centered Clinical System (RCCS), a clinical approach to recovery that puts respect, nonjudgment, and power-awareness at the forefront of treatment.

"As an office coordinator, the role-playing definitely connected me to the everyday issues recovery specialists, nurses, and peers are facing," said Don, Office Coordinator at Gresham. "I liked the peripatetic meetings: it was good to walk and talk, especially in nature."

"We really focused a lot on power-awareness and discussed possible scenarios that can often lead to power struggles, which we obviously want to avoid," said Rachel, Medical Records Technician. "I have worked here a long time so it is amazing to see that this list has diminished greatly."

Read more about the RCCS in action and download some available resources by clicking here.

What is Telecare's RCCS?

In 2002, Telecare rolled out the Recovery-Centered Clinical System (RCCS), an innovative clinical approach to delivering mental health services that we developed in the course of 20 years. Below, we've outlined a few highlights for you to learn more about the basic structure of the RCCS and what it looks like at our programs.

The Culture

The RCCS promotes culture as a primary intervention. It addresses losses brought on by years of living in and being served by “power-over” systems and living in the greater dominant culture. The goal is to create increased awareness and behaviors that reverse the loss of power, judgment, motivation, individual uniqueness, and respect and dignity.

The Conversations

The RCCS has five conversation areas to help engage staff with clients and begin building relationships that will support an individual’s recovery journey. Staff use conversational tools to help re-awaken hope and support people in resuming their unique recovery journeys. Find more details about the five conversation areas by downloading our Culture & Conversations: The Basic Framework of RCCS handout.

The Measures

The Recovery Centered Measures (RCM) is a validated tool that Telecare programs use to measure their recovery-centered culture. Staff as well as individuals served give feedback on how the culture impacts them and services being delivered. Results are used to identify and grow strengths within a program as well as provide an opportunity for culture improvement initiatives.

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RCCS in Action

From the development of programs to the delivery of services, the "awarenesses" of the RCCS show up in all sorts of ways. The model continues to evolve with our industry and is adaptable to the many types of programs we have. Our programs also serve a wide array of populations, and to be the most effective we need to have strong partnerships with our customers, communities, and the individuals we serve.

Recovery-Centered Environment

To support the RCCS, Telecare designs its programs to create an environment where recovery can thrive. When a person chooses to walk through the doors of one of our programs, our goal is to welcome them to a home-like space where they feel safe and supported. We use art and color to inspire tranquility and mindfulness. Our nursing stations are typically open, not encolosed, to promote inclusivity and engagement with residents.

Resilience in the Workplace

While we know the work we do can be both rewarding and inspiring, it can also be demanding and stressful. It was Maya Angelou who said it best: "Nothing works unless you do."

Finding a self-care practice for healing from or managing these stressors at work is essential for the wellbeing of staff, as well as for those they are supporting in recovery. Telecare staff use the RCCS's guided conversations and our Staff Resiliency Toolkit to build relationships with each other based on trust, teamwork, and wellness. 

Showing Up and Being Present

We believe recovery is all about partnership—we partner with our members, our customers, and our local communities to ensure we do whatever it takes to engage individuals in our services and deliver the best possible outcomes.

Training for Staff and Leaders

Telecare is committed to creating programs where recovery thrives and where culture is sustained to reinforce the values and principles of the RCCS. With that in mind, we have designed a robust training program for all staff and leaders of the organization. These trainings target new Telecare staff by introducing them to the two components of the RCCS: the program culture with its five awarenesses, as well as the five conversations of the RCCS.

In addition, clinical supervisors attend in-person trainings that dive deeper into the five conversations: exploring identity, awakening hope, making choices, reducing harm, and making connections. These trainings help clinical supervisors develop their understanding of the intent and purpose of each RCCS conversation; understand the characteristics of being a good mentor, including giving and receiving feedback; learn and practice a strategy for skill building practice using a coaching feedback tool; and learn treatment/service planning using the RCCS conversations as targeted interventions.

Additionally, program leaders attend the annual "RCCS for Leaders" training. This in-person training helps leaders develop skills to evaluate where and how the program practices exert power and control, and how to evaluate when and how to safely increase authentic control. Leaders also understand their role in facilitating the importance of staffs rituals that build hope and resilience.

Downloadable Resources

Check out some resources we developed for the RCCS by clicking the links below!

Learn More

If you'd like more information about our RCCS, tools we use to measure recovery culture, or related presentations and materials, please email: RCCSusage@telecarecorp.com.

La Casa Skills Day Event

Submitted by Matt Ehler, Administrator of La Casa MHRC

In February, La Casa had their second annual Skills Day for the nursing departments of all three program: the MHRC, MHUCC, and PHF.

This year the Skills Day was on 2/22 (1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.) and 2/23 (7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.) to cover all three shifts—AM, PM, and NOC—to help our nursing staff get their annual competencies. Additionally, it provided us an opportunity to cover any areas that may need special attention in a structured format. This year, there were 10 booths with the following topics:

  1. Infection Control/Employee Health/Flu Vaccine (All)
  2. Fire Safety and SDS (All)
  3. Client Monitoring and Observation (All)
  4. Vital Signs (All)
  5. CPR/Chocking Prevention (All)
  6. Emergency Procedures - Codes - CPI (All)
  7. Head to Toe Assessment and Medication Safety/Destruction/Donation (Licensed staff)
  8. Code Blue Documentation/Adverse Event Reporting (Licensed staff)
  9. DTO/DTS/Elopement Risk Assessments (RNs)
  10. Employee Handbook (All)

In order to staff the tables, we utilized a mixture of all staff including nursing staff and interns, HR, and department managers. In addition to the training benefit, it also allowed us the opportunity to reconnect with different staff members and work together as a campus. It was a great success and we trained about 120 staff members!

Recovery at the Santa Ana Riverbed

Bringing our recovery model to life: Telecare partners with Orange County Health Care Agency in helping the homeless relocate from the Santa Ana Riverbed.

In Orange County, 30 Telecare staff members showed up to help the county’s Health Care Agency provide clinical assessments to more than 700 individuals experiencing homelessness who were being transitioned from the Santa Ana Riverbed to motels throughout the county.

“We were proud to be able to respond to their call,” said Ed Bienkowski, Telecare’s Regional Director of Operations in Orange County. “I got a request on Saturday night over President’s Day weekend to see if we had anyone available to assess the mental health needs of people being moved the next week. I texted our administrators, and within an hour they all got back to me with staff lined up to help.”

That Sunday and Monday, staff members and interns from Telecare’s TAO, TAO South, STEPS, and Orange County AOT programs came with their cars and trucks to assist the county with moving belongings and providing clinical assessments.

"I was there to offer compassion and support for those who wanted to take advantage of the opportunity of getting into a motel," said Jyoti Gustafson, Personal Service Coordinator (PSC) II at Orange County AOT. "Some had jobs, some had pets and family, others had not been homeless for long and just needed a place to regroup. They were people in their community who would benefit from linkage to a variety of resources. By us being there on a united front with the county and interacting with those who needed placement, we may be a familiar face down the line if that person is ever referred to our program or in need of services."

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"Going to the riverbed was a reminder of why it is so important to do what we do every day," said Angela Pierce, PSC II at TAO South. "It was a humbling experience and a great reminder of the cultural diversity of both our members and Orange County in general, and the need to provide resources and the support to allow people to have fulfilling lives. It was also a reminder to be mindful of each other's uniquenesses and to be present when engaging with individuals—comforting people when they express sadness, celebrating people when they achieve their goals. We were able to show people we are there to support as best we could, even if it was just to ease the stress, anxiety, fear, or whatever they were experiencing at the time."

We are grateful to have such a committed team of Telecare staff members who respond with great heart to help others in times of need. We are honored to be a helpful resource to our customers and in our local communities.

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SHOP/TRAC/TMRS Participate in Stanislaus County’s Point-In-Time Count

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The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) mandates an annual Point-In-Time count and survey of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Telecare’s SHOP/TRAC/TMRS, initially just SHOP, was asked by Stanislaus County in 2003 to assist with the Point-In-Time count and have assisted every year since then. There are various other county and community agencies that either volunteer to participate in the count or donate bags of goodies to include snacks, socks, blankets and lists of local resources. The Point-In-Time count is an important effort that ensures the voices of people experiencing homelessness in our communities are heard and efforts are made to provide appropriate services. It also helps Stanislaus County develop more effective plans and measure progress towards ending homelessness.

The Performance Improvement Team has provided a survey tool that provides a means for gathering information directly from the individuals and families that are experiencing homelessness about their needs and causes of homelessness. One of the most prominent issues is the lack of stable and affordable housing options. Efforts to target this area are evident with the creation of the Stanislaus Homeless Outreach & Engagement Center.

Telecare’s Outreach & Engagement Team enjoys participating in the annual count to build and maintain relationships, listen to the amazing stories told and to better understand the needs of this population. Huge shout-out to this team for never complaining about such an early start and always being willing to serve others the best way they can!

San Bernardino ACT Goes Above and Beyond in their County!

San Bernardino County’s Department of Behavioral Health recently recognized a staff member at Telecare’s San Bernardino ACT program for going above and beyond. Check out what our county customer said below, and congratulations to Rebecca for the great work!

Last night, one of your Telecare ACT’s staff, Rebecca, was very helpful to me and my partner. We had a difficult case, in which a client came to ARMC with very little information, except that she is a Telecare client and her name, due to her low cognition. Rebecca assisted us with trying to piece together of which Telecare program. She helped us contacted other Telecare programs to see if the client is open with them. Once we’ve came to the conclusion that the client is from Riverside County, she provided us with RISE number. She contacted us back to ensure that we made contact with RISE at the end of our shift. Please extend our appreciation to Rebecca (I don’t know her last name) for assisting us during her after hour call. She spent about an hour with us trying to figure out who and where our client came from and was very gracious and patient with us.
— Ann Pham, County of San Bernardino, Department of Behavioral Health

Cordilleras Suites Celebrate the Season

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The residents and staff of Cordilleras Suites celebrated the season of giving with their annual Thanksgiving Tree. This year’s theme was gratitude, inspired by one of the principles of RCCS. The tree was up for several weeks and displayed all of the things that residents were grateful for in their lives. It was a wonderful display of their values, their hopes and dreams, and ultimately, of themselves.

California Fires: Southern California

As you may know, California continues to experience a devastating wave of wildfires. The most recent fire outbreaks have been in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties, and are spreading to other nearby counties. The fires have destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of natural areas as well as homes and businesses. Thousands have already been evacuated and thousands more are expected to be evacuated in the coming days, as the fires move into densely populated areas. Firefighters have warned of extreme fire risk, with high winds and dry conditions prevalent across the region. The smoke has temporarily closed Highway 101, a major freeway in the area, and several schools and businesses have closed due to smoke and fire risk.

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 have made a donation to the Red Cross on behalf of everyone at Telecare Corporation to help with general disaster relief.

Important to Know:

  • We have heard reports that Lyft is offering free rides up to $40 for evacuees to evacuation centers in LA County who used the promo code "LASAFERIDES." You may wish to confirm this in your area. 

Fire Evacuation information:

  • Los Angeles County closures, evacuation map and alerts: (Link)
  • Ventura County evacuation and fire alerts: (Link)
  • Santa Barbara County evacuation and fire alerts: (Link)
  • San Diego County evacuation and fire alerts: (Link)

 How You Can Help:

Donate Money: 
(Ventura County) Thomas Fire Fund: The United Way of Ventura County, American Red Cross of Ventura County and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services have teamed up to create the Thomas Fire Fund.

(Los Angeles): Red Cross LA

  • Cash donations to the Los Angeles Area Red Cross can be made here: (Link)

YouCaring

  • YouCaring, an online crowd-funding platform, has created a landing page with all of its campaigns for Southern California wildfire relief.

Humane Society of Ventura County

LA County Animal Care Foundation

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 especially needed to provide support in the communities affected. 
To find out how to help, call: 707- 577-7600 or go to the Red Cross Volunteer page to sign up to volunteer.

Coping With Trauma After a Natural Disaster

 Aftermath of sonoma county's tubbs fire in the coffey park neighborhood of santa rosa, California. Image by  the national guard .

Aftermath of sonoma county's tubbs fire in the coffey park neighborhood of santa rosa, California. Image by the national guard.

The fires in Northern California destroyed thousands of homes and businesses, devastated communities, and impacted thousands more beyond its reach. The Tubbs Fire missed Telecare’s Sonoma ACT program in Santa Rosa, California, but destroyed 36,000 acres of their surrounding community, and killed 22 people over the course of eight days.

Staff and members of Sonoma ACT are all accounted for and safe, however many had to evacuate and one staff person lost the home where she was moving into. "It was an unbelievable event to live through," said AJ Rylaarsdam, administrator of Sonoma ACT. "Having a fear for life, a fear for property, a fear for community — it was heartbreaking. Apocalyptic has been the way to describe it.”

 Sonoma ACT Administrator AJ Rylaarsdam

Sonoma ACT Administrator AJ Rylaarsdam

While the members we served are all safe, the invisible wounds of trauma from a natural disaster can still affect people in many different ways. We chatted with AJ about her experience managing a natural disaster in real time and got a few tips on how to address the trauma that unfolds afterward.

What was your initial reaction when you got the call about the fires?

I was called at 6 a.m. to evacuate my house, so I did that first. While I was evacuating, my clinical director, Diana Freedman, who lives in Petaluma and was slightly removed from the fires, made calls to each staff member to account for everyone and ensure their safety. I went to the office that morning, but the area was not safe to be in, so that day we notified everyone to take care of their personal safety first until we had more information. Most of our work involves driving throughout the community to see members, but due to the high winds and rapid movement of the fire, it was unclear where it was safe to drive or where the fires even were.

How did you get in contact with Sonoma ACT members?

As the fires continued uncontained throughout the week, evacuations continued in different areas, so the entire time was a process of accounting for all of our members. We went to visit them in their homes, provided directions and education on evacuation centers, encouraged them to stay in their home as much as possible because the air quality was so bad, but then also to follow any directions by police or firefighters if there were evacuations. Diana had all calls coming into the office directed to her, and our communications stayed open 24/7.

Are there any practices from Trauma Informed Care you called on to move through this event with staff and members?

An important part of Trauma Informed Care is taking universal precautions. In first aid training, taking universal precautions means we don’t know who might have a communicable disease, so we’re going to put on gloves. After a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, when you have an encounter with someone you’re going to treat them in a way that’s sensitive to someone who may have had trauma. One aspect of what that looks like is a lot of asking permission: “Is this conversation okay?” “My plan is we were going to talk about this, is that okay?”

How did you use Telecare's Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?

This has been a fantastic resource. Shortly after we returned to the office, a counselor from MHN (Telecare's EAP provider) came in to educate the team about mental health after a natural disaster. Certain symptoms of trauma and PTSD, like difficulty focusing, might become apparent outright, but many symptoms may not be as visible. As mental health care workers, we have powerful reserves. It's essential to take care of each other in a way that recognizes a lot of the symptoms are invisible. You may think someone's okay, and they may think they are okay, but it will serve us all to continue to check-in in a concrete, ongoing way.

I also encouraged staff to take advantage of the EAP program individually. We're going to meet with a counselor again as a team after the holidays, and maybe three months after that, just to ensure that not only the people exhibiting overt symptoms of distress are getting help.

How You Can Help:

Donate Money: 
American Red Cross
Sonoma County Resilience Fund
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 click here to sign up to volunteer.  

You can also contact Ricardo Martinez, DGS Chief Procurement Officer, at 916-317-6451 or ricardo.martinez@dgs.ca.gov 

Alameda County licensed clinicians are encouraged to volunteer as well: for more information on how to volunteer with the County efforts, please contact Todd.stephenson@acgov.org.

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

For a roundup of crisis and emergency support resources, click here.

Practicing Gratitude Throughout the Year

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Thanksgiving is a holiday that readily embraces gratitude, but studies show we should be embracing it more than just one day a year. Harvard Health Publishing cites gratitude as helping "people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships."

 Nina Kalley-Wilson, Recovery Specialist, and Angela Duncan, Peer Recovery Coach, created a gratitude tree for staff and clients to post "leaves of gratitude" for all to see at thurston mason evaluation and treatment center in olympia, washington.

Nina Kalley-Wilson, Recovery Specialist, and Angela Duncan, Peer Recovery Coach, created a gratitude tree for staff and clients to post "leaves of gratitude" for all to see at thurston mason evaluation and treatment center in olympia, washington.

The practice of gratitude can bring many health benefits, but sometimes it seems difficult to get past the outrage of the day's events. At Telecare, gratitude is used as a component of our Recovery-Centered Clinical System (RCCS). Our programs also like to work it into their culture, such as when our Thurston Mason Evaluation and Treatment (E&T) program created a "gratitude tree" filled with leaves detailing what staff and clients are grateful for and what brings them hope. They placed the tree on a central wall where it can be enjoyed by all and added to as the days go by.

"Having experienced recovery, gratitude keeps me humble and helps me remember where I am right now and keep the momentum to move forward," said Angela Duncan, a Peer Recovery Coach at Thurston Mason E&T. "Last year I was grateful to get a grant to pay for electricity; this year I have a job to pay it!"

"Gratitude allows us to center on the here and now and really feel the hope and support in our lives," said Nina Kalley-Wilson, Recovery Specialist at Thurston Mason E&T. "We asked about the here and now, as well as what individuals will be grateful for when they return home."

Below, we compiled a few ways you can incorporate gratitude into your life on a day-to-day basis.

  1. Take a few minutes. Set aside a few minutes each day to sit in your favorite place—a garden, your room, your backyard. Reflect on the day and make a list of three things in your life for which you are grateful. Share it with a friend and pass the gratitude forward!
  2. Keep a gratitude journal. Each day, write down a few things for which you are grateful. Focus on people, pets, or your health, rather than material objects, and try to mix it up from time to time to expand your awareness of the offerings around you.
  3. Write a thank you note. Letters of appreciation go for miles, and in the age of social media the chance of getting a written one has significantly dropped. Write a note to someone expressing your appreciation for their impact on your life and drop it in the mail.
  4. Give a compliment on a daily basis. Whether it be directed at someone or sharing your appreciation of something close by, a few words of recognition can open a world of possibilities. In 1906 Mark Twain said, "I can live on a good compliment two weeks with nothing else to eat." Imagine how far this simple gesture goes in 2017.
  5. Join a cause you find important. Whether it's donating time, money, or skills, standing behind something you believe in can offer newfound appreciation for communities, as well as newfound appreciation for yourself.

 

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

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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 https://tinyurl.com/yawtps5e to sign up to volunteer.  

You can also contact Ricardo Martinez, DGS Chief Procurement Officer, at 916-317-6451 or ricardo.martinez@dgs.ca.gov 

Alameda County licensed clinicians are encouraged to volunteer as well: for more information on how to volunteer with the County efforts, please contact Todd.stephenson@acgov.org.

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