Mental Health Group Nationally Recognized

Aug 25, 2011

Because they developed and implemented innovative practices in both process improvement and management, Kentucky River Community Care recently picked up a pair of national awards. The Jackson-based private, non-profit Community Mental Health Center was the only organization from Kentucky to win the awards, and one of five groups who took the six national honors. They were recognized as leaders in the field of behavioral healthcare, and presented with the second annual “iAward”.

The awards were sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and were given to KRCC during the 2011 Innovation in Behavioral Healthcare Services Award, held July 10-13 in Boston, Mass. They were presented at the NIATx Summit and SAAS (State Associations of Addictive Services) annual conference. SAAS is based in Washington, D.C., while NIATx is based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Both NIATx and SAAS hosted the awards in Boston, which highlighted innovations in process improvement and management practices that position organizations to meet challenges in future service delivery.

The first of the two iAwards for KRCC came in the field of Management: Technology and Communications. Acknowledging that great barriers exist in getting treatment for many who suffer from mental illness, trauma and addiction in the eight-county region KRCC serves, the group realized that technology and communication almost guarantee improving access, effectiveness, engagement and affordability of treatment in the community-based care KRCC provides.

“To overcome those barriers, they established management practices in both technology and communications. As a result, Caney Digital Media was developed as the organizational branch for communications and technology, with KRCC designing a system where improved information sharing happened with staff, clients and members of the community,” said Donia Shuhabier, who's the PR/Communications Coordinator for KRCC. “Using CDM's capabilities, KRCC also created video technology and interactive Internet products for customers.”

The second iAward for KRCC came to the Executive Change Team for Process Improvement. With a goal to transform the agency culture to one where process improvement is a vital part of the organization, so effective service barriers and problems could be resolved and resolutions endure, KRCC developed a group of Change Leaders and Change Teams with considerable and history of both their clients and the agency.

“To monitor the change teams and continue the improvement goals, KRCC began an Executive Change Team, which meets weekly. Through the team, KRCC can support process improvements, as well as an organizational culture of change. Anytime a problem is identified, ranging from Human Resources to Facilities, to Addiction Treatment, the Team considers whether or not to create a change team,” Shuhabier noted. “They also consider who is a good candidate for the Change Leader Academy or a new Change Team. In addition, a Dashboard Report is presented, graphically showing data on the status of more than 24 past Change Teams, to determine if any need to be resurrected.”

KRCC's Mike Kadish and Dr. Louise Howell attended the conference in Boston and received the awards in person.