Taking ACTION: CPC Behavioral Healthcare, Monmouth, New Jersey

Submitted by: 10/01/2009
Keywords: ACTION Campaign, Success Story

CPC Behavioral Healthcare is one of the largest mental health agencies in Monmouth County, New Jersey, serving over 6,000 children, families and adults with services including mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, special education, residential, and employee assistance programs.

Vera Sansone, Senior Vice President, Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Services joined the first ACTION Campaign after hearing Campaign Director Kim Johnson speak at a 2007 conference. "What impressed me was hearing that CPC is not alone in having a problem with no-shows and poor retention. I was also encouraged to hear about the great results that other agencies that use the NIATx model were getting."

Vera and her staff checked out the online resources the Campaign offered and joined the regular tutorial calls. The most helpful calls, Vera notes, were those where other agencies shared their stories and strategies. "It was great to hear from peers from across the country who face similar challenges," comments Vera.

The most helpful strategy for Vera and her colleagues at CPC? "The walk-through. We conducted a walk-through of our addiction treatment program and found it so helpful that we are now doing it in all of our programs, including mental health and children's programs."

The walk-through helped Vera's team recognize the importance of first impressions and how making simple changes can have a positive impact. Says Vera, "We were amazed a the amount of time it took to get back to a client after first contact. It was much longer than what we'd assumed." The walk-through exercise was very useful for the mental health program team, because they identified similar problems.

Just a week after conducting the walk-through of the addiction treatment program, CPC tried a NIATx-recommended change: open access in place of scheduled appointments. The result? "We have seen an increase in admissions and our no-shows dropped from 40 to 12 percent. We have already seen a difference in our bottom line. We have always had a deficit in the substance abuse outpatient program, but it is less than projected because of these simple changes we've made."

Vera encourages other behavioral healthcare professionals to join the ACTION Campaign. "Looking at processes takes the focus off personalities. It is very easy to make the changes the Campaign promotes, and they do make a difference. And once your staff sees changes that work, they really buy in to process improvement."

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