Workforce Development at Telecare

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By 2025, the behavioral healthcare field will face moderate to severe workforce shortages in nearly every sector. Telecare Corporation alone will need to hire nearly 2,200 qualified individuals by 2020 in order to staff our new and existing programs. To address this shortage and to plan for our future staffing needs, Telecare has created a Workforce Development Plan.

A Workforce Development Plan is a snapshot that captures the current metrics of the organization: the number of employees, certain demographics, what types of jobs are currently available, vacancy rates, turnover rates, and more. The organization then looks at how its products and services are likely to change in the future, and uses this knowledge in tandem with the metrics to develop a plan to build its workforce for the future.

One of the reasons this plan is so important at Telecare is that our “product” is excellent care for people with complex mental health and physical health needs. Our workforce, especially front-line staff and local leaders, are the ones who deliver this care. Having a stable and high-performing workforce is absolutely essential at our organization. It is one of our primary goals and measures of quality.

Another important reason Telecare undertook this workforce planning effort was to more clearly see the areas where we, as a company and as an industry, may have gaps that we must actively work to address. Two gap areas that we uncovered were in the areas of peer positions and licensed professionals.

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For example, as we refined our “Two by 2020” goal, which is to have two peer positions (at minimum) on staff at every Telecare location by 2020, we noticed that in California the standardization of peer training and peer qualifications is not robust. As a result, we have begun to advocate for standardized training for peer positions, which will help Telecare to hire well-prepared peer staff, and could also help the overall field in California by establishing more widely recognized criteria for those roles and by providing a clearer path for individuals to advance their careers.

An additional example is the need for licensed professionals. In creating our plan at Telecare, we have included ways to maximize our ability to attract the outstanding professionals that are already in the field, as well as ways to build bridges between learning institutions and our workplace. One of our strategies we are implementing will be to centralize and coordinate our intern function in the organization, so that we have a pipeline of new graduates that could be successful, and stay and build their career at Telecare.

Key Findings for Telecare’s Workforce Development

A number of key findings emerged during the process of creating a Workforce Development Plan specifically for Telecare.

1.       We must be creative to hire nearly 2,200 employees by 2020.

With a clear goal in mind and a clear understanding of our current recruiting processes, we recognized the need to go beyond the standard process of recruiting by using new and creative tactics to attract and keep these 2,200 new employees. We have already tapped into our existing leadership workforce and have developed a host of unique strategies that will broaden our reach and visibility with potential new staff.

2.       We need to maintain staff diversity as we serve increasingly diverse communities.
The second key finding recognized that we are a richly diverse company and this diversity is one of Telecare’s most important assets. We are diverse not only in terms of ethnicity and language, but also age, and this adds to the deep culture of Telecare. As the clients and communities we serve also become more diverse, our workforce will need to mirror that trend.

3.       We are a passionate group of people who thrive with a strong mission and culture.
The third key finding was the extent to which our employees—both current and former—positively regard their experience at Telecare and strongly relate to our mission and our culture. They love their teams and coworkers. Our task then becomes the way in which we leverage that positive regard and continue this trend for future employees. One way we are achieving this is through our revamped New Hire Orientation, which welcomes new employees into our culture on day one and follows them through their first few months on the job as they acclimate and become a part of their new team.

Next Month

Next month, we will take a deeper look at what we are doing more specifically at Telecare to build a better workforce for the future!

New Telecare Leaders and Operational Structure

Telecare has recently made improvements to our operational structure to provide better leadership over our programs and better service to our customers.

In short, we created a structure that is more regionally-focused. This is a change from our previous structure which was product type-focused.

In our new structure, the programs within a specific region will be generally covered by a designated leader, regardless of product type. This will enable leaders to take a more holistic approach to meeting the needs of a region, including workforce requirements, clinical oversight, community engagement, and customer service.

The only exceptions to the new regional structure will be for Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), Joint Commission acute programs, and DD/MI programs. Each of these program types will be overseen by a VP or Regional Director with deep knowledge in these programs, licensing requirements, etc.

As part of our process, we promoted three leaders into new roles at Telecare. We are pleased to recognize and introduce those leaders here.

Mary Thrower, Vice President of Operations at Telecare

Mary Thrower, Vice President of Operations at Telecare

Mary Thrower, VP of Operations

"I look forward to working with our county customers, helping to identify and find solutions for unmet service needs, ensuring that strong partnerships are developed and maintained, and strengthening the quality of services provided at each level of care," said Mary. "This new role will allow me to stretch beyond the counties and service lines I've worked with as Regional Director of Operations for Telecare and apply my twenty-plus years of operations experience to an even broader base."

Mary will oversee two of Telecare's regional directors who cover fifteen of our Northern California programs in nine counties. In addition to Shannan Taylor's programs below, Mary will oversee programs which report up through Asha George, Regional Director of Operations. These programs include TMRSTRAC, Placer County PHF, Stanislaus PHF, El Dorado PHF, and Stanislaus CSU.

 
Shannan taylor, regional director of operations at Telecare

Shannan taylor, regional director of operations at Telecare

Shannan Taylor, Regional Director of Operations

"I have a passion for finding innovative ways to improve the delivery of mental health services to those most in need," said Shannan. "This position allows me to do more of what I love, spanning across a variety of program types and counties."

Shannan will oversee some of our Northern California programs, including SOAR, Kaiser Intensive Community Treatment, Hope House, Telecare Early Intervention and Recovery (TEIR), Jeremy House, Sonoma ACT, Sanger Place, and Redwood Place.

 
Steven oppenheimer, regional director of operations at Telecare

Steven oppenheimer, regional director of operations at Telecare

Steven Oppenheimer, Regional Director of Operations

“I see this as an opportunity to grow our service lines within Riverside County,” said Steven. “I am excited about partnering with the county to establish a strong foothold for expansion and growth. Our current product lines within Riverside County are diverse, and I feel like there is additional room for new and innovative programs and services.”

Steven will oversee Telecare's Riverside County PHF and CSU, Mental Health Urgent Care—PerrisTelecare Riverside Integrated Services Recovery Center (ISRC)Riverside RISE, and Lagos Crisis Residential Treatment.

Links We Love: Mental Health in the News

 

  1. The new director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Josh Gordon, speaks to the Washington Post about his plans for the organization: Josh Gordon, new director of the National Institute of Mental Health, weighs its future
  2. Telecare's newest partner, Kern County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, gathers feedback from the community on the needs for mental health services in this article from The Daily Independent: Stakeholders Shed Light on Perception of Mental Health Services
  3. Singer and songwriter Michelle Williams shares what depression feels like in this interview with the Office of Women's Health: Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams on Depression

 

Links We Love: National Recovery Month

Each year, Telecare joins SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) in celebrating National Recovery Month. The 2017 Recovery Month theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities,” highlights the value of peer support by educating, mentoring, and helping others. People in recovery are encouraged to share their personal journeys and connect with others on SAMHSA’s forum.

OC AOT Open House

On June 1, the Orange County Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program in Santa Ana, California, welcomed the community to celebrate at their open house hosted in their new facility.

Guests included the AOT judge, county counsel, public defender's office, members and their loved ones, a representative from First District Supervisor Andrew Do's office, and other Telecare program staff. 

The open house featured a fun photo booth and a slideshow with information about the program's success, staff, and highlighted a few of the program participants. "The open house had a great turnout," said Administrator Anna Bowes. "We look forward to continue servicing the communities in Orange County!"

Telecare's Orange County AOT program opened in November 2014 and expanded in July 2016. This community-based program is based on the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) model and prescribed for adults with serious mental illness who are experiencing repeated hospitalizations or incarcerations, but are not engaging in treatment. AOT services include intensive case management, housing assistance, vocational and educational services, medication support and education, co-occurring services, and 24/7 support and availability.

Administrator Career Opportunities

Telecare's leadership team is growing in Kern and San Bernardino counties in California!

We are looking for administrators for the following programs:

Telecare's program administrators have the opportunity to guide their teams in delivering outstanding service, while continually improving the program with new and innovative clinical, operational, and technology-based approaches to streamline care, treat the whole person more effectively, and empower staff with greater skills, tools, and resources to support powerful change in consumers’ lives.

New Exhibit Showcases Artists with Mental Health Diagnoses

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On August 18, artists from around Sonoma County came together to showcase their artwork for the opening night reception of the exhibit Out of the Shadows: A Collection of Transformative Art. The exhibit highlights the artistic contributions of mental health consumers from around the area, including four members of Telecare’s Sonoma ACT program. 

Sonoma act artists (from left to right) Arlo y., ben, and phil mcclary. For the out of the shadows exhibit, Arlo contributed a drawing, ben contributed a poem, and phil contributed a watercolor painting.

Sonoma act artists (from left to right) Arlo y., ben, and phil mcclary. For the out of the shadows exhibit, Arlo contributed a drawing, ben contributed a poem, and phil contributed a watercolor painting.

Out of the Shadows was put together by the Sonoma County Wellness Art Collaborative, a collective of mental health service providers who offer vital support to individuals in their community. Witnessing the brilliant works of art depicting the transformative process of a person’s journey toward recovery, the wellness collective wanted to showcase their member’s talents and bring the work “out of the shadows” to recognize the creative contributions of our community.

The event was recently covered in a local newsweekly, the Bohemian.

"Culturally, we appreciate our artists who have eccentricities, but I don't know that we really appreciate our eccentrics who have artistic abilities," said Adam Kahn, a founding member of the wellness art collective, while talking to the Bohemian. "And a lot of the folks we work with do have those artistic abilities. Their way of being in the word is so unique, but oftentimes it's not something that's appreciated by the mainstream. A lot of that expression is shoved into corners or dark places."

On opening night, more than 200 members of the community turned up to see the exhibit, alongside live performances of poetry, song, puppetry, and comedy. This is the first event from the Sonoma County Wellness Art Collective, and with the great turn out, interest, and community building, the collective plans on more events in the future.

Admission to Out of the Shadows is free to the public, and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the artwork will go to the artists. The exhibit will be on display at the Steele Lane Community Center in Santa Rosa, California, from August 18 through October 15, 2017. For more information, visit the Sonoma County Wellness Art Collaborative Facebook page by clicking here.

The Power of Hope: How Peer Services Provide Living Examples of Recovery

Erin "Wesa" Arthur is a PSC III Substance Abuse Specialist at Telecare’s Santa Maria ACT program.

Wesa specializes in addiction and co-occurring conditions among members and helps them through psychoeducation, assists in detox treatment, and conducts general case management. She uses harm reduction, the RCCS, and shares her story to instill hope.

"That is why I am so passionate about recovery and the work that I do—I’ve been there," said Wesa. "I have 28 years of sobriety and I am living with a mental illness and co-occurring disorders. I think that it helps clients when I open up with them about my own experiences."

Having the ability to have the challenging conversation surrounding substance use in a non-judgmental fashion is key for building trust and hope among our clients. "I think there is so much doubt that many people who are struggling with co-occurring disorders face and that it is something that is destined to hinder them, and that’s not true," Wesa said. "Like anything in recovery, it’s a process and it’s unique to every individual."

This year, Telecare has been expanding and improving the way we inform our staff about co-occurring disorders. With our online learning portal, we are now able to offer staff training sessions on substance use that they can access at any time to help with their understanding of dual diagnosis among clients and how to start conversations around these topics. More than 70% of Telecare programs successfully completed COEG facilitator training and launched COEG groups for the people they serve.

Wesa had the opportunity to share her own experiences when COEG was first being developed. "I feel so strongly that until someone is clean and sober, it’s extremely difficult to treat the psychiatric disorder,” she said. "Substance use can have such an impact on mental health symptoms. To provide adequate treatment for people who have a co-occurring disorder, you have to take the time to understand how the two are affected by one another."

Today, Wesa continues her interest in psychology and writes about her experience. Her recovery journey is a reminder to those she works with that anything is possible.

"People gave up on me when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and I proved them wrong," she said. "The thing I love is being able to instill hope and show them by example that anything is possible. And I love the clients. I absolutely love the clients we serve."

SUDS Telemedicine Detox Pilot

Recovering from addiction can be an extremely stigmatizing and isolating experience for many of our clients. Telecare recently conducted a pilot on Telemedicine Detoxification (Tele-Detox) to see if we could help clients overcome this isolation, while getting the right treatment support at their own pace, in the safety of their own home or within a program.

“Tele-Detox is detox treatment provided via live video calls at the convenience of where our clients are,” said Scott Madover, Director for Specialty Product Services, Substance Use Disorder Services (SUDS). “Through this online process, clients can get connected with an addiction physician who can walk them through their detox, answer any of their questions, and prescribe medications so that their substance use withdrawal symptoms can be as mild as possible.”

The nine-month pilot started June 2016 and was conducted at our CHANGES program in Oakland, CA. CHANGES is Telecare’s first co-occurring program and has been instrumental in helping Telecare identify effective and collaborative ways to treat co-occurring substance use disorders. CHANGES clients receive both mental health and substance use services, but in this program, are not required to be abstinent. Staff encourage clients to reduce their substance intake through a harm reduction model and can refer clients to more robust inpatient detox services.

The Tele-Detox program came about because we wanted to help clients overcome the isolation of addiction recovery, while getting the right treatment support at their own pace, in the safety of their own home or within a program.

The Tele-Detox approach is promising because it supports these goals, as well as offers other system benefits. It’s less expensive than inpatient detox, enables clients to start the detox process faster because it does not require waiting for an available inpatient bed, and alleviates pressures on those inpatient beds for people who need inpatient care the most.

Through the Tele-Detox process, clients are screened and connected with an addiction physician through Clinics On Demand. Clients are loaned a personal computer or a tablet if they do not already have one, a blood pressure cuff, and a finger oxygen device. The blood pressure and finger oxygen devices connect automatically and wirelessly with a monitoring system at Clinics On Demand.

Clients who participated in the demo had regularly scheduled telephone visits with physicians and clinical staff to discuss progress, address concerns, resolve problems, and refer to higher level of care if needed. CHANGES staff could contact the client’s physician to report any change of condition they observe during the detox treatment. Once detox treatment was completed, CHANGES staff would help and support clients in their chosen Intensive Outpatient Programming (IOP) treatment in addition to the services at CHANGES.

“Although the turnout for the pilot program was modest, the support and encouragement clients received by participating really helped them understand their addiction,” Scott said. “As a company, we are looking to continue to have the opportunity to build expertise within Telecare around substance use for our staff.”

Michelle Norris worked on the Tele-Detox program pilot when she was a Personal Service Coordinator II at CHANGES. As someone with lived experience herself, she knows that there is a lot of stigma surrounding addiction, and that having more personalized access to help can make taking those first steps towards recovery a little easier.

“There's still a lot of misconceptions around addiction, like the thought that people could just stop if they wanted to,” she said. “You know what? If I could've stopped, I would have, but I couldn't until I got more education. Having the right education and being provided the steps you need to take to help the client is so important because recovery can be a lot harder than you think.”  

Michelle uses the experience from her own recovery to help guide others on their journey. She is now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LSCW) at Telecare’s Villa Fairmont Mental Health Rehabilitation Center.

SUDS: Expanding Treatment at Telecare

Our Plan for Building Skills, Staff, Practices & Programming

In January 2017, Telecare finalized a three-year plan to enrich and expand our substance use disorder services (SUDS) capabilities, with a specific focus on people who have a serious mental illness (SMI) and co-occurring substance use issues.

"Traditional substance use agencies are not necessarily prepared to serve people who have SMI," said Faith Richie, SVP of Development. "We have a 50-year history of working with SMI and complex needs and in the last few years, have made major steps forward in our ability to recruit, retain and support licensed staff, particularly psychiatrists, through our TLC Physician Services Organization. This will make it easier for us to step into more direct SUDS care, deliver Medication Assisted Treatment, and meet all of the site certification and staff licensing requirements to do this work and do it well." 

We are pleased to introduce the highlights of this plan here and will continue to share enhancements and updates as we move forward in this work.

Ultimately, we need to provide dedicated programming that combines mental health and substance use services directly to our clients in our programs. We believe that by doing that, we can better close the gap and help our clients holistically move forward in recovery – and dramatically improve their lives.
— Scott Madover, Director for Specialty Product Services, Substance Use Disorder Services (SUDS)

Overarching Goals

Our vision for our SUDS plan is ambitious. We want to:

  • Increase quality of care
  • Increase access to care
  • Increase strategies for effective care
  • Reduce the stigma of care
  • Nurture a safe space for change
  • Create many options and avenues for clients to make positive behavioral change
  • Enable staff and clients to work proactively and collaboratively toward recovery

SUDS Plan at a Glance

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What's New in SUDS

Director of SUDS: Scott Madover

To help us better address co-occurring conditions company-wide, we appointed Scott Madover, Ph.D., to take on the role of Telecare’s Director for Specialty Product Services, Substance Use Disorder Services (SUDS).

"We knew we really needed to focus on substance use, and ensure that we were capable and doing our very best to meet those needs. We thought the best way to do that was to hire a dedicated leader, and that's Scott Madover," said Faith Richie, SVP of Development at Telecare.

In addition to working with the Development and Operations departments at Telecare to create plans for how co-occurring programming could better serve our clients, Scott will also assist with Telecare’s planning efforts so that our services are aligned with parity requirements and SUDS funding in multiple states. He will also ensure that Co-Occurring Education Groups (COEG) curriculum is available at all our product types, and recommend new standards for our existing programs so that they are co-occurring capable.

Scott’s clinical training and program leadership experience coupled with his wealth of knowledge in co-occurring disorders positions him very well for this role.

Before accepting his role as the new SUDS Director, Scott has helped lead many of Telecare’s integrated care efforts, including the development and roll out of COEG, our first company-wide substance use education program, and the design and implementation of Telecare’s first pay for success program. He also helped design and oversee the CHANGES program, our first program specifically designed to support people with co-occurring mental illness/substance use needs. Scott has also served as Regional Director of Operations in the Bay Area. 

Telecare is a Best Place to Work!

Telecare has been named a Best Place to Work (BPTW) in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times. Staff from STRIDES/STEPS/STAGES, Villa Fairmont, Redwood Place, Sausal Creek, Cordilleras, Willow Rock, Gladman Mental Health Rehabilitation Center, Heritage Psychiatric Health CenterMorton Bakar Center, and CHANGES attended the celebration in San Francisco on Tuesday, April 18.

Out of 537 applicants, only the top 130 companies were chosen for this award based on BPTW employee engagement survey responses. This is the 15th time we have been recognized on this list. 

This year, we ranked ninth in the Largest Employer category. We would like to say thank you to all our staff for making Telecare a great place to work! We are truly honored.