Washington County Mental Health Services (WCMHS) Psychiatric Division provides agency based psychiatric services for all clients who need this treatment component in their overall plan of care. Psychiatry services can be accessed through most programs, including, but not limited to, the Adult Outpatient Program, Community Developmental Services, Community Support Program, Children, Youth & Family Services and Intensive Care Services. Psychiatric services can also be accessed on an urgent or emergent basis. The psychiatric providers cover the psychiatric needs of the hospital diversion program, Home Intervention, as well as to various group homes and residential programs overseen by WCMHS. Additionally, WCMHS provides psychiatric oversight to Collaborative Solutions Corporation, Second Spring South, direct psychiatric services to the Children, Youth & Family Services division at the Clara Martin Center and provides clinical supervision for the psychiatric providers at Lamoille Community Mental Health Services.
Prior to January 2016, WCMHS Psychiatric Division services were dispersed among various programs and their designated buildings here at WCMHS. This logistical arrangement afforded more intensive collaboration with individual programs, and supported a psychosocial model of care. However, in the advent of external demands by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and by various national standards for provision of medical services, it became clear that the Psychiatric Division needed to undergo a shift in how it provided services to the clients of the agency.
In January 2016, the Psychiatric Division relocated to operate primarily out of two buildings. The benefits gained from this transition include; improved communication between psychiatric staff members, increased access to a WCMHS nurse, access to an administrative assistant who is designated to provide support to the psychiatric staff, and increased psychiatric staff efficiency to improve delivery of care to clients. While there are recognized benefits, an identified drawback has been decreased access to direct support staff in various programs, which has the potential to decrease effective communication between the members of a client’s support team. This challenge, however, has led to creative problem-solving around how to use technology more effectively to communicate among members of a team, such as use of TeleHealth technology.
In order to improve delivery of care to our clients, the Psychiatric Division has been working on identifying areas of improvement through the use of Results Based Accountability. The first RBA scorecard developed reviewed no-show rates for psychiatric visits, and showed general no-show rates across divisions for psychiatry between 8% and 13%. We strive to minimize no-show rates in order to ensure that we can serve a higher volume of clients and positively affect clinical outcomes and productivity. The Psychiatric Division's next RBA scorecard will look at time between initial referral and initial appointment with psychiatric staff.
As with all services at Washington County Mental Health Services, the staff in the Psychiatric Division work tirelessly to provide the best care possible for all the individuals we serve. We are continually looking at the most effective and cost efficient ways to serve those who are experiencing challenges with mental health, addiction and developmental/intellectual functioning. Our ability to collaborate with colleagues within WCMHS, doctors in central Vermont, our local hospital, and within our division allows us to take steps to keep people well and help them when they are experiencing a crisis.
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