Mission Priorities: Behavioral Health

By Anne Bakar, President & CEO

Telecare’s new mission statement is moving us forward on many fronts: health, effectiveness, and complex needs. But it’s also intended to move us forward in the care of people with serious mental illness (SMI) and substance use issues.

At Telecare, we estimate that at least 75% of the people we serve have a serious mental illness and a co-occurring substance use issue.
 
At least 75%.
 
That means that at least 75% of our clients are trying to manage two very daunting recovery challenges. At least 75% are at risk of having their health compromised and their lives cut short. At least 75% may be facing shame, stigma, and punitive program rules that make it hard for them to be honest about their lives and get the help they need.
 
It’s unacceptable.
 
Our new mission statement reflects our focus not just on mental illness but on substance use as well.
 
We are focusing on bridging systems and closing gaps in care by training our staff about evidenced-based approaches to integrated care. This includes things like motivational interviewing and recognizing there are “stages of change” in substance use recovery: times when clients are ready to consider treatment for their addiction and times when they are not.
 
In addition to training staff about new tools and interventions, we are introducing Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) to our practice. This is a vital intervention that we are well suited to provide as a professional organization with a wholly owned Physician Services Organization led by Dr. Jeff Gould. Consistent with this direction, we recently completed a pilot program on how detox could be accomplished through outpatient telemedicine.
 
In this month’s newsletter, you will learn more about how we are moving this aspect of our mission forward. You can read about our three-year SUDS plan, meet our new SUDS Director, and get more detail about these new approaches.
 
We hope you enjoy this preview, and we look forward to sharing our learning and growth.

Mission Priorities: Whole Person Care

By Anne Bakar, President & CEO

We hear so much about the need for integrated mental and physical healthcare these days, that we sometimes forget all the reasons why this is absolutely imperative for the wellness of individuals and communities.

It is not only the higher mortality rate among individuals with serious mental illness due to physical health issues that is cause for alarm. The concern is also rooted in the untreated mental illness that frequently underlies chronic health conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, pain management, and addictions.

At Telecare, our new mission statement is focused on building awareness of how these health problems overlap, as well as how we can treat them more effectively.

Historically, our recovery philosophy focused on helping those we serve to recover their hopes and dreams. And now, the language in our new mission statement speaks to engaging clients in recovering their “health, hopes and dreams,” a clear reference to the fact that recovery involves the whole person: body and mind.

We are operationalizing this new vision today primarily with an “education initiative” as our SVP of Operations, Anita Barnas says. Through e-training, we are educating our 3,200+ employees on the physical health conditions that are most common among our members, as well as providing tools to support healthy lifestyle changes.

This month’s newsletter provides detailed information about our education curriculum, along with some profiles of how our leaders are thinking about this new mission and direction. We hope you enjoy this preview, and we look forward to sharing our learning and growth.

Mission-Priorities.png

Mission Priorities: Complex Needs

Last month, we highlighted the ways we plan to enhance our focus on providing excellent and effective services. This month, we continue our new mission statement series with a deeper look into how we are expanding the scope of our services to include individuals with more complex needs.

By Anne Bakar, Telecare President & CEO

Over the past 30 years, Telecare has developed a specialized reputation for serving individuals with more serious and complex mental health needs. These are individuals that often come out of acute care settings or state hospitals, and have a hard time finding appropriate treatment in the community. These individuals frequently incur expensive system-wide costs due to repeated hospitalizations and/or incarcerations.

Telecare has provided many successful interventions to serve individuals with complex needs through evidence-based Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) programs, and our Recovery-Centered Clinical System (RCCS). These service models have reduced system-wide costs and have helped thousands of individuals each year regain their sense of hope, acquire stable housing, reduce their substance use, and move forward towards their educational or vocational aspirations.

Complex Needs (2).png

At the same time, our success in achieving these goals has been limited by our expertise in serving the whole person, whether their needs include justice involvement,
co-occurring substance use, developmental disabilities, or co-occurring physical health care problems. Our ongoing commitment to broaden our capacity to meet these needs is at the heart of our new mission statement when we reference engaging those with "complex needs."

This newsletter is specifically focused on justice-involved endeavors: How do we better serve individuals with serious and complex needs coming out of the criminal justice system?

We hope you enjoy hearing about some of our early work, and look forward to sharing our continued journey in this area of great national importance.  Please feel free to reach out to us and let us know your thoughts and ideas

Mission Priorities: Excellence and Effectiveness

Last month, we introduced Telecare's new mission statement. This month, we offer a deeper view into what it means to provide excellent and effective services.

IMG_3854_Anne Edited for Print.jpg

By Anne Bakar, Telecare President & CEO

To be an excellent service organization, we have always focused on learning and growing our capabilities.

In particular, we continuously work to improve in three major areas:

  • Providing excellent clinical quality,
  • Delivering excellent services to our partners, and finally,
  • Creating an environment that is a great place for employees to work.  

Although we measure our progress in these priority areas over time, with the additional focus on effectiveness we see the opportunity to be more systematic and rigorous in our approach.

This means delivering care that makes a measurable difference in people’s lives, and can be demonstrated with outcomes. Internally, we also recognize that data can be used operationally to make more informed decisions and improve practice.

While this is a long-term focus that will involve new technology and tools, there are specific ways we are working on excellence and effectiveness right now: from new program models, to new leadership, and more. This issue includes several of our latest efforts and we will continue to share more in the months ahead.

Please feel free to reach out to us and let us know your thoughts and ideas. We encourage and welcome your feedback.

Introducing Our New Mission Statement

By Anne Bakar, Telecare President and CEO

The past year, we made the important decision to review and refine our organizational mission, to reflect our future direction — and how we are meeting the changing needs of the clients, customers, and communities we serve.

We are happy to share our new mission statement with you today.

Here are some highlights of what's new and improved.

  • Behavioral Health: We’re broadening our orientation beyond serious mental illness to include co-occurring substance use issues.

  • Excellent & Effective: We’re focusing on outcomes and measurable results as well as striving for excellence.

  • Complex Needs: We’re expanding our services to address the multi-faceted, complex needs of our clients including physical health issues, substance use education and treatment, intellectual disabilities, justice involvement, and a myriad of social needs that can impact a person’s stability and recovery.

  • (Health) Hopes & Dreams: We’re actively moving toward whole person care, and explicitly recognizing that hopes and dreams are what motivate people.

We will share more detail about the changes it contains in the months to come. In the meantime, we welcome and encourage your thoughts on our mission. Please feel free to reach out and share your feedback.

Patrick Kennedy: New Frontier of Mental Health and Addiction

On January 24, Telecare was thrilled and honored to attend Patrick J. Kennedy’s special presentation, The New Frontier of Mental Health and Addiction.

Telecare’s President and CEO, Anne Bakar, and SVP of Development, Faith Richie, were honored to be invited to this galvanizing event.

Held in Washington, D.C. at The Kennedy Forum, the event focused on creating and unifying a bold Frontier Plan to advance parity enforcement, early intervention and prevention, and an integrated system of care — and give Congressional members a guide on what they can do, regardless of their party, to address mental health and addiction issues, which are having profound impact on our nation and millions of individual people every single day.

“Patrick Kennedy is an inspiration and a visionary on so many levels,” said Anne Bakar. He is personally inspiring because of the powerful way he talks of his own recovery and the challenges he overcame to reclaim his life and his family.  However, like the Kennedys before him, he is a powerful political agent of change. He had powerful allies at the Forum from both sides of the aisle, including Senator John McCain and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. He also had a comprehensive guide for the 115th Congress regarding how we, as a nation, can provide the tools, treatment and support to transform the system and transform lives.”

Faith Richie said, “He’s an amazing reminder to all of us that in times of uncertainty, we have to double down, and recommit to our purpose. He shows us that it all starts with the individual and their personal story of recovery. From there, everything is possible. Our job is to respect the individual and do whatever we can to support that journey.”