Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

A New Beginning for New Beginnings Recovery Center: New Generation of Leadership Revives, Refocuses, Revitalizes Mission of Teen-Focused Treatment Center

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

A New Beginning for New Beginnings Recovery Center: New Generation of Leadership Revives, Refocuses, Revitalizes Mission of Teen-Focused Treatment Center

Article excerpt

Begun as a 34-bed facility by three recovering physicians some 25 years ago, New Beginnings Recovery Center (NBRC) of Opelousas, La. has always offered its clients an atmosphere that blended Cajun hospitality and family-focused concern. However, by the time that its last surviving founder, Dr. Trahan, was in his latter years, the center had endured several years of serious financial struggle: its patient population had dwindled, its commercial insurance reimbursements had faltered, its clinical staff had shrunk dramatically. Incoming patients expected big discounts, while NBRC's vendors expected cash-only. After Dr. Trahan's death in late 2010, his family concluded that NBRC must be sold or closed.

But then came another family, Judy and Franklin Roemer of Shreveport, La., who recognized both the community's need for NBRC and its potential to become a respected specialty treatment center once again. Before finalizing their purchase of the 21-acre NBRC campus, the couple formed an experienced governance group. They asked a well-known and experienced healthcare and substance abuse treatment professional, Johnny Patout, LCSW, to provide them a detailed needs assessment and strategic planning recommendations--and then to lead the team that would operate the "new" New Beginnings.

"What impressed me about the Roemers' desire to acquire the facility were two things: a belief that the service [teen-focused care] was needed and that this care must be of the highest quality," said Patout. Their commitment made a deep impression on him and on the New Beginnings governance board: "Not one time," he added emphatically, "did they ever mention a desire to make money."

After a two-week review of personnel, facilities, resources, and treatment needs, Patout submitted a strategic improvement plan that pulled no punches: It would require a year of intensive effort, significant and ongoing facility and system investments, a redefined mission that focused on teens, and a major recruitment and re-staffing effort (see Figure 1). It also meant that the organization's fixed operating costs would increase substantially for six months to a year before the impact of staffing, care, quality, and facility improvements might be matched by any substantial improvement in NBRC's reputation, or reflected in a rising rate of patient referrals and admissions.

Figure 1: Strategic planning issues and results

Issue           Before                 After

Patient focus   Patients aged 13-30    Teens only, ages 13-19

Staffing        1 licensed counselor   1 Physician (ASAM
                2 counselors in        Certified
                training               Addictionologist)
                1 part-time nurse      1 Psychiatrist
                Administrator          5 Masters' level
                Other sup port staff   therapists
                Total: 15              24/7 nursing
                                       1 Recreational
                                       coordinator
                                       1 Registered Dietitian
                                       Other support staff
                                       Total: 40

Treatment       State residential      State inpatient treatment
capabilities    treatment license for  license for SUD and
                SUD treatment          co-occurring disorders;
                                       Detoxifcation services;
                                       Intensive family program

Accreditation   None                   "Positive" CARF survey
                                       completed in June; NBRC
                                       awaiting official CARF
                                       survey results.

Admissions      5 patients per month   18-20 patients per month

Insurances      2 networks             12 networks, including
                                       Blue Cross/Blue Shield in
                                       La. … 
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