Report from the Field: Process Improvement in Workforce Development

Kentucky River Community Care (KRCC) provides Mental Health, Substance Abuse, Trauma, and Developmental Disability services to an eight-county region in southeastern Kentucky. Employing 455 staff at 45 sites, KRCC used NIATx process improvement strategies to make significant improvements in each of the four aims. With a strong foundation in process improvement, KRCC has been working to spread process improvement to other areas of the organization—most notably, workforce development.

In 2005, the KRCC Workforce Development Change Team formed to address the problem of staff recruitment and retention in several critical staff areas. Baseline data showed that 47.88 percent of new staff in Mental Retardation/Developmental Disability (MRDD) and 42.10 percent of Customer Service staff left employment within the first six months. In addition, 35 percent of staff working as residential technicians in children's services programs were leaving within the first six months of employment.

The organization's residential technicians who support individuals with mental retardation or a development disability monitor and assist with all the individuals' daily living activities, working round the clock, seven days a week. Staff turnover among residential technicians was very disruptive, affecting the behavior of individuals in the program as well as their quality of care. Equally disruptive to KRCC's delivery of services was turnover in customer service staff at outpatient sites. Read more

St. Christopher's Inn Counselor among the first to be certified as a NIATx Change Leader

Thomas King has worn many hats at St. Christopher's Inn. A credentialed alcohol and substance abuse counselor and also affiliated with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, King began working in the field in 1989. With a passion for helping people who suffer from substance abuse and/or mental illness, King has also had the the opportunity to develop new programs at St. Christopher's, including a strutured family program and an intensive outpatient program.

In 2003, as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Paths to Recovery grantee, St. Christopher's Inn became a member of the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment (NIATx). Along with almost 40 other treatment agencies across the nation, St. Christopher's Inn participated in the NIATx process improvement collaboartive network, receiving expert coaching and peer learning support to implement systmes changes to improve access to and retention in treatment.

"After we became a NIATx member, I was very excited to be part of the first Change Teams at St. Christopher's Inn," says King. "I had worked at other organizations in the field that were resistant to change. With the grant we were able to look at our programs with an objective eye to identify things that needed improvement." Read full article in PDF format

Improving Substance Abuse Delivery: Counselor Magazine

Milagros — a young mother who struggled with an addiction and a physically abusive husband — remembers the phone calls she made to Entre Familia, a Boston Public Health Commission program. "Three times I called," says Milagros. "And three times I hung up. I wanted to get back into treatment.But would they ask me all those questions again? And would I have to wait days to be admitted? I knew I needed to come back to the program, but I didn't want to have to wait…" Read full article in PDF format

Events & Presentations

April 23-25, 2007
  • NIATx First Annual Summit, San Antonio, Texas