Mind Springs Health, area’s largest mental health service provider, received a state award
Mental health provider Mind Springs Health, which serves a multi-county area including Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle and Summit counties, has been awarded the Golden Light Bulb award by the Colorado Behavioral Health Council.
The award recognizes community mental health programs that exemplify innovation, efficiency and better patient service with methods and approaches that can be replicated elsewhere.
Mind Springs, which has out-patient facilities in Glenwood Springs and Rifle, was lauded for an innovative “phase-based treatment” system implemented first at its Grand Junction facility. The treatment works to match patient preferences for treatment and resources with the best tools and resources they need to deliver treatment quickly, effectively and efficiently.
“Once our ideas were accepted, our line staff took the concept and ran with it,” said Dr. Jules Rosen, Mind Springs’ chief medical officer. “They made it into something beyond my wildest dreams. I can accept the award for organization, but it really comes down to what they did and the huge culture change they embraced.”
The system works much like how “Sabermetrics” revolutionized baseball. First, patient needs are assessed and the clinic prioritizes patients with acute conditions that need timely and intense intervention.
Next, the patient meets with a team of providers and staff to go over the treatment plan. The treatment team consists of case managers, peers, therapists and nurse practitioners. Whatever their condition and severity is, the treatment plan is spelled out for them according to their needs and desires for treatment, whether it be primarily medication, therapy, a combination of the two or an alternative treatment altogether. Each team member has input, contributing their talents and ideas to the plan.
“We try integrating the benefit of every member of our team,” Rosen said. “Instead of working solo on their own specialties, we work together with the patient. Every touch is equally important, and we make sure the patient is able to get the most from each team member.”
Finally, care is measured and resources are adjusted according to the needs of each patient. As the patient gets treated, they are assessed periodically with different “score sheets” that assess progress of treatment. Since treatment can take many weeks before results are noticed, patients are given the opportunity to have their treatment plan adjusted on the fly to account for changes in their condition.
As a patient starts to show recovery and leaves the acute phase of a crisis and moves into recovery, resources are adjusted or freed up to account for the improvement. For example, a patient with an acute crisis might have improved enough that benefits from weekly individual therapy have plateaued and can be switched to group therapy, which is much more resource-efficient and oftentimes more effective at improving conditions related to social isolation or loneliness.
This saves resources while ensuring patients are always getting the appropriate level of care, instead of sticking with standard courses of therapy that often contribute to long waits for other patients seeking treatment. The model may be a revolutionary one for resource-poor areas of Colorado, where providers are forced to do more with less.
Rosen said that the results have shown marked improvement in recovery rates. Clinic staff evaluations rave about the new phase-based treatment model, and Rosen said that the model will continue to be developed based on feedback and results.
“One staff member said that the clinic looks nothing like it did the first few months, the environment has improved that much,” Rosen said. “That’s because we give staff on front line what they need to help clients succeed. We now have the ability to get someone in for all services within a week of their intake instead of the standard 20 days. The results speak for themselves, clients get help they need and get help quickly.”
Rosen accepted the Golden Light Bulb award on behalf of Mind Springs Thursday night at the 2018 CBHC conference and presented the phase-based model at a TedX conference in Breckenridge.
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