Reaching Recovery: Achieving Care Outcomes

In 2018, Sound made significant progress in its implementation of Reaching Recovery, an innovative model of care it adopted in 2017. This nationally-acclaimed program, created by the Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD), reduces community hospitalizations and incarcerations, saving millions of dollars and uses tools and data to measure client outcomes (for more background on the program, read 2017 annual report).

Two thousand eighteen was dedicated to implementing the program throughout the organization. With hundreds of team members and multiple programs, the implementation was a significant undertaking.

As part of the implementation, Sound team members worked to determine best practices and to define what recovery means to clinical teams, our clients and as a philosophy for the organization. All team members attended a two-part training to understand the tools to deliver strength-focused clinical interventions. The first training module provided step-by-step directions to administer the assessment. The second training module walked team members through utilizing the results to support strength-focused treatment planning and transitioning individuals to various levels of care.

Reaching Recovery provides information that enables clinicians to tailor care to better address individual client needs, and the data can be reviewed easily. Clinicians can study real-time data markers and make adjustments to the care plan as needed to empower clients on their journey to recovery.

The Reaching Recovery Model of Care has also made a positive impact on clinicians, peers, and providers, as the caseloads are determined by need such that clients with the greatest need are seen by clinicians with the smallest caseload. This ensures that each client receives the time and attention they need to make progress toward their health goals.

Chief Quality & Clinical Excellence Officer, Susie Winston, has been a champion for Reaching Recovery since its implementation.  “Reaching Recovery is about seeing real-time information and making adjustments to care plans based on the data we’re seeing,” Winston says. “Reaching Recovery has taken the old way of care management—where everyone had a maximum caseload, working with all kinds of people with disparate needs—and turned it into a more efficient model, that helps us to ensure people receive the care they need. Our goal is to get every person the treatment services that they need at every stage of their journey. What we’re doing is empowering people to achieve the goals they identify to improve the quality of their lives by reaching recovery.”

Alexis Espindola is a community-based clinician and has a smaller caseload because she’s working with people who have higher care needs. Reaching Recovery scheduling allows Espindola to spend more time with people who need her.

“I’m really the only support some people have. With Reaching Recovery, I can be present for them as they undergo surgery and during other critical times in their lives,” says Espindola.

Not only is Reaching Recovery a great tool for helping people and a smart business strategy, but it’s also proving to be an excellent way to measure and report compliance with the Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), which accredits and governs behavioral health organizations. CARF establishes the standards of care, treatment and services for behavioral healthcare organizations. Organizations are required to assess outcomes through the use of a standardized tool or instrument. Results of these assessments are then to be used to inform the goals and objectives identified in individual plans of care, treatment or services as needed, and to evaluate. Sound is addressing these requirements effectively with Reaching Recovery.

In the Sound Re-Entry program, a department that used Reaching Recovery early, there has been significant progress for its clients. People served through the Reaching Recovery model have increased their vital, self-care skills by 36 percent, and more than 20 percent of unhoused people have achieved stable housing.

The care is happening. The outcomes are provable. With Reaching Recovery firmly in place, Sound is able to provide effective and innovative whole healthcare for the people and communities we serve.