The speakers, advocacy, and leadership lessons from the 2014 National Council Conference are still continuing to inspire us. The President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, Linda Rosenberg, kicked off the week with a resonating speech that asked a simple, yet challenging question, “What does it take to be a Center of Excellence?” This question is simple in the sense that she provides five elements to help your behavioral health organization achieve this goal, but actual implementation and execution can be challenging.
As the competitive environment in the healthcare industry continues to surge, the amount of people that need care in the United States also continues to rise. Since the 1980s, 3.3 million people have died from mental health disorders. Only one in ten people actually receive the treatment they need and 90% of people suffering from substance abuse go without care. The Excellence in Mental Health Act has been passed to try to reverse these alarming statistics and increase access to behavioral health services to all Americans. This gives organizations the opportunity to reach more people in need, but also increases competition dramatically.
To be able to compete, you have to strive for excellence with high touch and be able to provide integrated care anytime, anywhere. What does it take to be a Center of Excellence? Linda Rosenberg lists five key elements that were provided by leaders of behavioral health organizations across America.
1. Extraordinary Customer Service
Establish a relationship with each person and take the time to learn his or her background and challenges.
2. Demonstrate Excellent Outcomes and Measure Progress
Help identify and set goals that can be tracked through technology and utilize analytics to help establish treatment.
3. Offer Easy Access
Make it as simple and stress-free as possible to allow people seeking treatment to access help at your agency. Leverage technology and empower people to set appointments electronically. Increase the amount of touches with customers through any channel your organization offers.
4. Deliver Comprehensive Care
People are suffering from a wide range of disorders, and a Center of Excellence provides treatment and counseling to all aspects of a person’s health.
5. Offer Excellence Value
People are seeking quality care at reasonable prices. Being able to offer extraordinary customer service, excellent outcomes, easy access, and comprehensive care at a better cost than alternatives will allow your organization to be a top provider that is sought out by people in need.
Linda Rosenberg ended her speech with a quote that speaks to the very nature of behavioral health organizations, “Think like scientists and act like humanists.” Is it possible to become a Center of Excellence if we master our core business and emulate our core mission?
Social Security Administration Office of Retirment and Disability Policy Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics. (2009). Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program. Accessed at http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/di_asr/2012/sect01b.pdf