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NASMHPD/NTAC e-Report on Recovery – Fall 2004

organizations to share expectations and ideas for the effort.

Using a “Centers of Excellence” program, DMHAS solicited the state’s local providers and settings to have them share their recovery-related success stories. The department then identified local agency programs that featured promising practices in recovery-based cultural competence, peer support services, and effective engagement techniques, among others. The department offered these sites free consultation on sustainability while learning how each program worked. The end result was a two-way exchange of ideas and information that highlighted exemplary programs along the way.

Now, the department uses these Centers of Excellence as models. “Through this effort, we are improving quality across our system, especially highlighting ideas and programs that help support recovery,” said Kirk.

In terms of reimbursement for some of these newer, recovery-based services, Kirk said his staff has worked hard to get federal technical assistance “to help identify service formats that will be more easily reimbursed or identified as eligible for federal entitlement.”

For instance, he cited a behavioral health program for people on general assistance. “It’s a basic needs program, but we were able to use the general assistance dollars to run recovery houses,” said Kirk. “The houses feature 20-bed residential units that a person can come to after inpatient stay for substance abuse or mental health services. They are relatively inexpensive to run, and the state was willing to invest in them for basic needs despite the fact that there’s no treatment. It’s just basic needs to help people move forward: transportation, some months of rent, tools for getting a job,” said Kirk. As long as they are in care, they are eligible for the program, as well as a shot at recovery in the community.  

Kirk listed many obstacles to implementing recovery-based care, among them providers who mistakenly think they are already providing such care; a deficits-based intake system; the potential liability of consumer treatment choices; and a high commissioner turnover rate. However, Kirk, META’s Gene Johnson, and others interviewed for this Special e-Report feel there are as many effective tools and ideas as there are challenges. Some of those tools and ideas are recapped below.

Identify the people and organizations in your system that are already working on recovery efforts, highlight them, then build up some friendly peer pressure to inspire others to catch up.

Utilize peer support services in your clinical programs and consumers in recovery in your administrations. Nobody knows recovery better.

The dollars put into staff training are a good investment. If possible, make training a necessity, not just a priority.

Find your system’s “recovery heroes” and get them into the media and use positive media coverage to educate the public about recovery.

NASMHPD/NTAC e-Report on Recovery – Fall 2004

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