Telecare Celebrates National Recovery Month

Campaigns such as #itsoktotalk and #mentalhealthfeelslike promote awareness and encourage large-scale conversations about Mental health.

Campaigns such as #itsoktotalk and #mentalhealthfeelslike promote awareness and encourage large-scale conversations about Mental health.

National Recovery Month, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), takes place every September to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders, and to celebrate recovery.

In addition to National Recovery Month, September 5 through 11 was National Suicide Prevention Week. At Telecare, we created suicide prevention graphics and resource cards that were distributed to all of our programs. The two infographics provided facts on suicide in adult or adolescent and Transitional Aged Youth (TAY) populations. Resource cards with age-specific warning signs and hotline numbers were provided as well.

If someone you know is considering suicide, talk to them. Listen to them. Let them know that you are there for them and that they are not alone.

We have made the graphics below available to download so you can print, share, and post to help continue raising awareness all year long. 

Telecare Opens New Crisis Triage Program in Washington

On September 14, Telecare opened the Thurston Mason Crisis Triage program, a new short-stay crisis triage and stabilization center located in Tumwater, WA. The secure, 10-bed facility was created in partnership with Thurston Mason Behavioral Health Organization and serves as an alternative to incarceration for individuals who are experiencing an acute psychiatric crisis and who have been involved with law enforcement. This crisis triage is the fourth acute program in Washington state. 

A unique component of the program is its use of a Designated Mental Health Professional (DMHP) who evaluates individuals that are referred to the Crisis Triage program for involuntary psychiatric commitment by local law enforcement and the Thurston County jail. The DMHP will determine if the referred individual can be served effectively in the community.

Prior to its official opening, the Crisis Triage program held an open house on August 25 to meet with community members.

“Telecare has taken on one of our most challenging projects to date, a triage/evaluation and treatment facility that specifically focuses on jail diversion and partnering directly with local law enforcement and the criminal justice system for individuals with behavioral health needs,” said Kristy Lysell, Physicians of Southwest Washington Provider Network. “The experience, knowledge, and philosophy on the recovery-based, client-centered approach that Telecare offers provide real outcomes and results. This is exactly what this project will need to be successful. Thurston Mason Behavioral Health Organization is thrilled to be partnering with Telecare and they are a welcomed addition to our growing Provider Network.”

Peer Supports in Crisis Settings

Peer support is an essential part of many of our programs. For many clients in crisis or acute settings, it can be invaluable to have the support of a staff member who has faced similar challenges and is successfully living with mental illness. The peer staff in Telecare's crisis and acute programs are invaluable when it comes to providing that hope, support, and a calming, healing environment.

Click on the video below to hear from the administrator and clinical director at Telecare’s Crisis Assessment and Treatment Center (CATC) in Multnomah County, OR, on how peer services have helped create a program culture built around respect and dignity, and how they give clients a glimpse of what recovery can look like.

Walking With NAMI in Santa Clara

Telecare's Partners in Wellness program showed their spirit at Santa Clara County's first National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Walk on Saturday, September 17.

Telecare was a sponsor for the lively 5k walk, which aimed to raise awareness, educate, and reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health. The day's events and activities began with a performance by Aztec dancers and drummers, and ended with feasting at food trucks.

“We had such a great time participating as a team in the Silicon Valley NAMI Walk! Every journey begins with that first step,” said Partners in Wellness Administrator Lillian J. Fillpot. "Together, we raised $660 for the event. It was a wonderful way to begin building our relationship with and presence in the county.”

Partners in Wellness, which opened on August 1, was created through Santa Clara County’s Pay for Success (PFS) project, a funding model in which the government pays for services only if a service provider achieves clearly defined results. Telecare teamed up with Santa Clara County and Third Sector Capital Partners to create the Full Service Partnership (FSP) program to provide intensive case management services in San Jose, CA. Partners in Wellness is the first PFS project in the country that is designed to serve residents with acute mental illness. 

Telecare Welcomes SVP of Finance and CFO, Leslie Davis

This month, we are pleased to welcome Leslie Davis as SVP of Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Telecare Corporation.

As Telecare's newest SVP, Leslie hopes to help the organization plan and prepare for growth. She is excited about implementing new systems to improve efficiency, as well as deepening Telecare's capacity to serve a broader mix of customers. These could include managed care organizations interested in alternative payment models beyond cost-reimbursement. Leslie is well-suited to lead this change since she comes to Telecare with more than 20 years of healthcare experience. She spent 11 years at UnitedHealth Group and was the CFO of Optum Specialty Networks, which included UnitedHealth Group’s behavioral health services platform.

Leslie has an MBA in Finance from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA and a BS in Business Administration from UC Berkeley. She is attracted to the opportunity to apply her extensive educational and professional experience to a culture like Telecare where there is such a strong commitment to quality and service.

Links We Love

Reaching Out at the NAMI Northern California Conference

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) hosted their annual California Conference in Burlingame, CA on August 26 and 27. NAMI provides invaluable resources and is a lifeline of support for people who need information about mental health.

This year’s conference, “Back to the Future: Building on the Past for a Better Tomorrow,” featured sessions and workshops that focused on advocacy, criminal justice, consumer and family engagement, transitional aged youth, and diverse communities. The conference’s keynote speakers were Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, and Professor Cyndi Shannon Weickert, a leading researcher on schizophrenia. 

Telecare is proud to partner with NAMI branches in all of our communities. We were thrilled to chat with consumers and families at the conference and learn about the issues that are most important to them. 

Laura’s Law Program Celebrates Its Open House With Their Community

Telecare’s San Diego Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program opened the doors to their new facility on August 26. Created in partnership with San Diego County Behavioral Health Services, the San Diego AOT program celebrated their new facility with an open house which was attended by many community providers and San Diego County Administration.

The San Diego AOT program launched on April 1 and is the first Laura’s Law program in San Diego County. Laura’s Law is legislation that allows for court-ordered intensive outpatient mental health treatment to individuals who have not accepted treatment and meet the nine criteria listed in the law.

Referrals for the San Diego AOT program are coordinated through the county’s two In Home Outreach Team (IHOT) providers— Telecare and Mental Health Systems Inc.— to ensure that services are available to all residents. Originally created as an alternative to Laura’s Law programming, IHOT staff go into the community to engage hard-to-reach individuals who are in need of mental health services. If the individual refuses, but meets the nine criteria, they then may be court-ordered to receive treatment in the AOT program. 

Learn More:
Explore Our Court-Ordered Care Newsletter.
Explore Our Roundup of Telecare’s Court-Ordered Care Programs.
Click to see the success of Telecare’s AOT program in Orange County

Educating Others on How to Facilitate Hope

This month, Telecare presented at the 2016 National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD) in downtown Denver, CO, from August 18-21. The conference provided educational sessions for professionals working in addiction prevention, treatment, and management.
"How to Reach the Unreachable: Engaging People with SUDs in Pre-Contemplation Phase" was presented by Scott Madover, Regional Director, David Heffron, Vice President of Operations, and Shannon Mong, Director of Innovation Initiatives.

The presentation aimed to educate others on how Co-Occurring Education Groups (COEG) encourages individuals to make healthier lifestyle choices by identifying what inspires and motivates them, instead of solely focusing on their substance use.

“Participants were very interested to hear how Telecare measured participants' hopefulness and found, not surprisingly, that individuals who have higher levels of hope tend to attend more sessions,” Shannon said. To emphasize this point, Scott and David invited 11 attendees to join in a mock session, where they engaged in the "Hopes and Dreams" lesson of the curriculum.

“People were particularly curious about the curriculum’s harm-reduction approach and were asking if the curriculum is available for use outside of Telecare,” Shannon said. “Given the number of people asking us to share the COEG system, I guess our next step is figure out how to do just that!"

You can email Shannon Mong, Scott Madover, or David Heffron for more information about their presentation. 

Alameda’s First Laura’s Law Program Links to Their Community

Last month, Telecare opened its first Laura’s Law program in Alameda County. The Alameda Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) / Community Conservatorship (CC) program provides individuals who are living with a mental illness, who have been involved with the justice system, or have had repeated hospitalizations, with a safe course of care.

“I’m very happy we got this project,” said Administrator Bob McCreery. “Our hope is to create and maintain a relationship with our members like we do in our other programs: by going with somebody on their journey of recovery. Although this program is still in the early stages, we hope to continue our success of helping others.”

The AOT-CC’s goal is to help individuals to achieve recovery and reduce system costs. The program collaborates with the Public Guardian/Conservator’s Office, Alameda County’s four new IHOT teams, and John George Hospital, to engage individuals not effectively connected with the system of care, or who are overly connected to highly restrictive services such as the prison system or hospital emergency services.

Individuals are recommended for participation in the CC program by mental health professionals within John George Hospital in San Leandro, CA. Both AOT partners and CC partners will receive the same ACT-level services from the small but mighty AOT-CC team.

Because this is the first of its kind in Alameda County, family involvement and peer advisory will be emphasized in the AOT program. “People are really excited that we are engaging families and will be giving them a way to participate and provide feedback on how the program provides care,” said AOT-CC Clinical Director Penny Bernhisel. The program has a Family Advisory Board that meets on the third Thursday of the month and a Peer Advisory Board that also meets once a month.

Learn More:
Explore Our Court-Ordered Care Newsletter.
Explore Our Roundup of Telecare’s Court-Ordered Care Programs.
Click to see the success of Telecare’s AOT program in Orange County

A Different Approach to Elder Care

Pioneer Network hosted their 16th annual conference in New Orleans from July 31 to August 3. The conference, “Revolutionizing the Culture of Aging,” focused on creating person-centered care for elders. Telecare’s leaders and staff from Morton Bakar Center, La Paz Geropsychiatric Center, and Garfield Neurobehavioral Center attended the conference representing the largest group from California.

David Farrell, Telecare’s Vice President of Sub-Acute Operations, with Barbara Frank and Cathie Brady of B&F Consulting, presented a full-day intensive titled, “Getting it Right for Each Resident: Creating a Culture of Prevention and Continuous Improvement.”

The daylong intensive session presented a feasible clinical approach to improving the quality of life for elderly clients in nursing homes, by showing how changing a historically institutionalized environment to one that is person-centered can lead to the improvement of health conditions and better quality of life.

“We provide a lot of practical tips around these four foundational practices centered on better communication, which reduces the cycle time between noticing a change in an elderly client and acting on it early so it doesn’t spiral out of control and lead to the person going back to the hospital,” David said.

The four foundation practices David presented focused on creating a person-centered culture by starting with staff stability and engagement. Next, consistent assignment enables the staff to develop deeper relationships with one another and with clients. This contributes to shared problem solving via the huddles.

“Person-centered care is really always the path to success—it’s never the next pill, or the next new device—it’s about having engaged employees who really love the clients, and having huddles to engage them and hear from the staff what they’re observing and how we can do better.”

Telecare’s three skilled nursing facilities have implemented many innovative person centered care practices in order to better serve their clients.

David Farrell has done extensive work on the importance of personalized care practices as well staff stability (part I and part II). If you'd like to reach David directly with questions, please contact him at

Introducing New Programs, Renewals, and Expansions

Telecare is pleased to announce numerous program changes this month including one new program, 13 program renewals, and four expansions of existing programs.

We wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to our customers for their continued trust and collaboration in doing this work together. Since our start in 1965, Telecare has created more than 90 programs that provide a comprehensive range of mental health services. We look forward to another powerful and productive year ahead.

New Leadership Opportunities

Thurston and Mason Counties, WA

Thurston Mason Evaluation and Treatment (E&T) Center

The Telecare Thurston Mason E&T will be a secure, 10-bed mental health adult residential treatment facility open to serve the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Telecare will provide recovery-centered crisis treatment, including initial screening and assessment, onsite medical screening, stabilization services, medication management, and linkages to ongoing treatment services. Applicants must be available to begin in August 2016 for new hire orientation and program opening. The customer is currently Thurston Mason Behavioral Health Organization, which covers both counties.

We are looking for:

  • Administrator: The overall purpose of the administrator is to ensure that each consumer receives the skills and supports necessary for their recovery. The administrator will work in conjunction with the service and residential teams to plan, manage, and control all agency functions, and ensure culturally competent and efficient use of resources, with input from both staff and consumers.
  • Director of Nursing: The director of nursing is responsible for all activities and functions related to nursing, the administration of patient care systems, and care levels in the facility.
  • Rehab Therapist: The rehabilitation therapist provides rehabilitation therapy services to clients, on both an individual and a group basis, and coordinates all rehabilitation activities under the supervision of the clinical director, using psychiatric rehabilitation concepts and Telecare's recovery philosophy.

If you are interested in learning more, or would like to apply, contact Christopher Crosby.

Ventura County, CA

Horizon View Mental Health Rehabilitation Center (MHRC)

As one of the newest recovery-oriented programs in the Telecare family, the secure 16-bed Horizon View MHRC will be located in Camarillo and will serve the Ventura County community. The program will provide a full range of psychiatric, therapeutic, nursing, social, and peer services designed to support clients in managing their behavioral health challenges while also building skills to live independent lives of their choice. Interested applicants must be available to begin in October 2016 for new hire orientation and program opening. The customer is Ventura County Behavioral Health Department (VCBH)

We are looking for:

  • Clinical Director: The clinical director plans, implements, and administers the facility's clinical services program, which assures professional care for residents. This position represents the clinical services departments on clinical committees, coordinates clinical activities, and may assume the responsibilities of the administrator in their absence.
  • Director of Nursing: The director of nursing is responsible for all activities and functions related to nursing, the administration of patient care systems, and care levels in the facility.
  • Licensed Clinician: The clinician is responsible for providing mental health support services to members and their families. The clinician will also assist in the coordination of all mental health support services provided by the team; this includes coordinating and collaborating with team members and outside agencies.
  • Rehab Therapist: The rehabilitation therapist provides rehabilitation therapy services to clients, on both an individual and a group basis, and coordinates all rehabilitation activities under the supervision of the clinical director, using psychiatric rehabilitation concepts and Telecare's recovery philosophy.

If you are interested in learning more, or would like to apply, contact Heather Nicholson.

Mental Health Disorder Is the Most Costly Condition in the US

An analysis was published by Health Affairs this week on the top 10 medical conditions with the highest estimated spending in 2013. Of those conditions, spending for mental health disorders topped the list with an estimated spending of $201 billion in 2013. The second highest spending category is Heart Conditions at $147 billion. 

This analysis includes all mild and moderate diagnosis such as depression and anxiety under “mental disorders.” Additionally, the report estimated mental health spending in institutionalized populations—nursing home residents, long term patients in psychiatric hospitals, and prisoners—and active military settings to be $80 billion in 2013.

The author stated in conclusion, “One key finding of this study is the degree to which spending on mental disorders in 2013 exceeded that on all other medical conditions, including heart conditions, trauma, and cancer. Spending on mental disorders tends to be under-estimated in other sources because institutionalized populations are excluded…  A look ahead suggests that reductions in deaths from heart conditions and cerebrovascular disease are likely to drive spending on mental disorders even higher, as more people survive to older ages—when mental disorders, such as dementia, become more prevalent.”

San Diego Mental Health Collaborative Court Celebrates Open House

Telecare’s San Diego Mental Health Collaborative Court (MHCC) program welcomed the community to their open house on Friday, April 15.

The MHCC program is operated in partnership with San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA)-Behavioral Health Services (BHS). The MHCC program helps people who are incarcerated and have a serious mental illness to successfully reenter the community. Assessment begins while people are still in jail, and services start as soon as they are released.

"We had a great turnout of members, HHSA administrators, local Telecare staff, and program staff," said Gary Hubbard, Vice President of Operations of Southern California. "During our welcome, several client members expressed unsolicited, heartfelt appreciation for the staff and program and shared how they have been helped in their recovery."

MHCC staff members work together with county officials, the county’s judicial system, and community programs to make each member’s reintegration process a smooth one. The primary focus of the program is to ensure members are set up with the proper resources and tools they will need to move forward without reoffending. Individuals must commit to the full 18 months in order to participate in the program, regardless of how many months they have left to serve in jail.


DOJ Releases "Roadmap to Reentry" for National Reentry Week

Returning to a community can be a huge challenge for individuals who have spent time in a prison environment. The situation becomes even more complicated when the individual has a serious mental illness and/or addiction disorder, and without the proper services they are further at risk of encountering the criminal justice system again.

This year, Attorney General Loretta Lynch designated April 24-30 as National Reentry Week to draw greater attention to the services and supports available for those returning to the community after having spent time in a prison environment. On Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) introduced a "Roadmap to Reentry" -- five guiding principles for reentry reform that will be implemented throughout the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

According to a statement on the DOJ website, "These efforts will help those who have paid their debt to society prepare for substantive opportunities beyond the prison gates; promoting family unity, contributing to the health of our economy, and sustaining the strength of our nation."

The principles are as follows:

Principle I: Upon incarceration, every inmate should be provided an individualized reentry plan tailored to his or her risk of recidivism and programmatic needs.

Principle II: While incarcerated, each inmate should be provided education, employment training, life skills, substance abuse, mental health, and other programs that target their criminogenic needs and maximize their likelihood of success upon release.

Principle III: While incarcerated, each inmate should be provided the resources and opportunity to build and maintain family relationships, strengthening the support system available to them upon release.

Principle IV: During transition back to the community, halfway houses and supervised release programs should ensure individualized continuity of care for returning citizens.

Principle V: Before leaving custody, every person should be provided comprehensive reentry-related information and access to resources necessary to succeed in the community.

To download a PDF version of the Roadmap to Reentry, click here.

National Reentry Week

On March 21, the Department of Justice designated the week of April 24-30 as National Reentry Week.

According to Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, “Supporting successful reentry is an essential part of our mission to promote public safety—because by helping individuals return to productive, law-abiding lives, we can reduce crime across the country and make our neighborhoods better places to live.”

Each year, more than 600,000 individuals return to their communities after serving time in federal and state prisons. The long term impact of a criminal record makes it extremely difficult for individuals who have served time to successfully reenter society. Common obstacles include obtaining employment, housing, education, and financial planning. More often than not, these obstacles can become barriers that contribute to the cycle of incarceration for many individuals.

What’s Happening Nationally

The goal of the National Reentry Week events is to assist in connecting individuals who are transitioning out of correctional facilities to resources and programs that focus on addressing criminogenic risk factors, or causes that lead individuals to reoffending and ending up back in jail. These risk factors can either be static factors that cannot be changed, such as age, gender, and criminal history, or dynamic factors that can be changed through successful interventions, such as substance use and education deficiencies.

During this week, the Department of Justice asked the Federal Bureau of Prisons and each U.S. Attorney’s Office to coordinate reentry events designed to help inmates prepare for release, like job fairs, practice interviews, mentorship programs, and events for children of incarcerated parents.

How We Support Reentry at Telecare

Telecare’s AB109 and collaborative court programs help formerly incarcerated members, or members who are on probation, transition back into their communities every single day. Our programs do this in a number of ways: case management, psychiatric services, employment and housing assistance, family support, and education. Additionally, Telecare’s AB109 programs use Critical Time Intervention (CTI), which aims to prevent recurrent homelessness and adverse outcomes during the period following placement into the community.

How are we doing at reentry support? We think the easiest way to understand this is to hear from staff and clients at
CORE LA and Downtown LA, two programs at Telecare that serve people with a history in the criminal justice system. These programs take a collaborative approach to recovery, and use the special talents of staff members who have experienced mental illness and incarceration themselves to provide support, guidance, and hope along the way.

Telecare Opens New Laura’s Law Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program in San Diego

(L-R) Natalie D. Blair, Program Administrator; Zenaida "Zee" Vega, Receptionist; Christine "Dee Dee" Ortego, PSC 3; Scott Jackson, PSC 3; Jane Sia-Flaherty, MHRS;
Sandra Tello, PSC 2; Amy Siez, Peer Support Specialist

Telecare is pleased to announce the opening of our fourth Laura’s Law program in California, created in partnership with San Diego County Behavioral Health Services: the Telecare San Diego Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Program. Our AOT programs offer wraparound, intensive supports for people who are court-ordered into care after meeting specific Laura’s Law criteria.

San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors approved the implementation of Laura’s Law in April 2015. This new AOT program enables the county to expand its safety net to people who need mental health services but have not been willing to engage in treatment.

The AOT program will operate in tandem with existing voluntary services called In Home Outreach Teams (IHOT). Residents in the north regions of San Diego can contact Mental Health Systems Inc. for IHOT referrals; residents in the central, east, and south regions can contact Telecare’s IHOT program. The IHOT teams will do their best to engage people in services on a voluntary basis. If a person refuses services, but meets the nine Laura’s Law criteria, the individual can be mandated into the AOT program to receive the support and services needed.

“Although the IHOT programs have been extremely successful in San Diego, the option of AOT is a valuable, additional tool we can use to help these individuals stay in contact with mental health resources that are designed to help them function more safely and securely in the community,” said IHOT Administrator Roselyna Rosado.

More about how IHOT and AOT link services and referral information can be found here

Telecare Launches New Website

We are very pleased to announce the launch of Telecare’s brand new website:

We designed this site with consumers and families in mind. Our hope was to create a helpful, informative, and inspiring resource, while also sharing our mission, goals, services, and results in a clear and easily accessible way.

We hope you find the new website a welcoming experience. If you have suggestions on how we can improve the site further, please email us at: We’ve included a few new features below we think you will enjoy.

For Consumers & Families

Families and consumers can read about Telecare’s commitment to doing whatever it takes to help people on their journey to health and the various clinical approaches we use to do this. They can also explore the programs that are offered in their area, learn about our recovery culture, and hear recovery stories from Telecare clients and staff.

For Job Seekers

Job seekers can experience what it’s like to be a part of our programs through the eyes of our wonderful staff on our blog and Telecare Heroes page, and use our careers database to find and apply for current job opportunities. Telecare can also now hire psychiatrists and other prescribers directly through TLC, our physician services organization. We post our psychiatry and NP/PA positions online.

For Our Customers & Communities

Our customers and communities are often very interested in depth of expertise and our ability to make an impact on the lives of people we serve. We’ve included some of our latest outcomes and results, a snapshot of our full range of program types, and the awards and certifications we’ve received. Visitors to the site can find out more about our history and our part in changing the way people think about, discuss, and treat mental illness, as well as learn about our leadership team, or catch up on all the latest news at Telecare.

Introducing Our New SVP and Chief Medical Officer

Kent Eller, MD

We are thrilled to welcome Kent Eller, MD, as Telecare's newest SVP and Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Eller has 20 years of clinical experience in adult psychiatry, working primarily with clients diagnosed with serious mental illness. Over the past decade, his career has evolved into various leadership roles in behavioral health; prior to joining Telecare, Dr. Eller was Chief Medical Officer of a large behavioral health organization in Arizona.
"Most of my career has been devoted to the SMI population, often in underserved areas, and I have found this work to be very rewarding," said Dr. Eller. "I look forward to partnering with Telecare’s customers and finding ways to improve access to high quality healthcare and achieve the best outcomes for our communities."
As a physician leader, Dr.Eller has focused on provider recruitment and retention, organizational alignment to the Triple Aim, and population health management.
"I have always tried to create an environment where all clients could expect to be treated with respect and have easy access to the highest quality of care available," he said. "Whole health integration has made this much more exciting because, in addition to assisting with behavioral health needs, we help clients live the long, healthy lives they deserve."
Dr. Eller obtained his BA and MD degrees from Southern Illinois University; completed residency training in adult psychiatry at the University of Vermont; and completed fellowship training in consultation-liaison psychiatry at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is a member of the American Association for Physician Leadership.

Dr. Eller, can be reached at