Family & Children’s Services (F&CS) CEO Gail Lapidus and Senior Executive Director of F&CS Women in Recovery (WIR) Mimi Tarrasch presented at NatCon18, the national conference of the National Council for Behavioral Health. On April 23-25, over 5,000 like-minded leaders from across the country gathered in Washington DC to explore health care’s greatest innovations in practice improvement, financing, integrated healthcare, technology, policy and advocacy, and professional development.
Lapidus provided insight on how F&CS is leading the way for other behavioral health agencies through a comprehensive Medication (Med) Adherence Initiative. Med adherence is a challenge for patients with any illness—not just mental health disorders; however, it’s particularly important for people with behavioral disorders and chronic conditions to practice medication compliance because noncompliance can lead to worsening clinical status, emergency department visits and hospitalization. F&CS started the initiative by hiring a Med Adherence Coordinator who then identified “change champions” within the agency. Together they created a model using shared decision making and motivational interviewing to break down the barriers surrounding beliefs, behaviors and attitudes towards medication.
Lapidus also presented on Oklahoma’s Pay for Success (PFS) contract with WIR. Lapidus gave an insider’s perspective on the design and implementation of PFS in behavioral health programs by aligning clinical goals of addiction recovery with social impact in terms of reducing costly utilization. The state of Oklahoma has the nation’s highest incarceration rate for women. Many of these women have children, and once the mothers are imprisoned, research has shown that children become more likely to be abused, engage in criminal behavior, experiment with drugs and end up in prison themselves. WIR program aims to reduce the incarceration rate by providing supervision, substance abuse and mental health treatment, workforce readiness training, and assistance with parent-child reunification. The Pay for Success contract will enable WIR to expand its reach to 125 women annually for up to five years. With funding from the George Kaiser Family Foundation, payments from the state will be re-invested directly into a program as milestones are achieved.
One of the resources WIR is using to help support program graduates through continuing care is with the A-CHESS app, from CHESS Health. Tarrasch and Christopher Wilkins, Sr., MHA, founder and strategic advisor of CHESS Health presented at NatCon18 about the impact of CHESS Health’s A-CHESS platform and Connections smartphone app during the poster session at the conference: An Evidence-Based Approach to Maintaining Recovery and Reducing Recidivism through a Technology Safety Net.
“We’re delighted to present at this year’s conference, and to share the story of Women In Recovery,” Wilkins says. “Their innovative approach is helping reverse the devastating cycle of substance abuse and reincarceration for women in Oklahoma.”
The A-CHESS Platform includes smartphone apps for patients, providers, and families, delivering recovery-sustaining motivational content, social connections, and support whenever and wherever needed. As patients progress across the addiction treatment care continuum, the Connections App offers a direct connection to counselors, peers, educational content, appointment and medication reminders, and more.
In this first year of implementation in WIR, 91% of the 150 licenses were issued through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS).
“The goal of Women In Recovery is to provide an effective alternative for women facing prison, which is devastating to children and families. The outcomes are much better if we can address and treat long-term addiction, which is often a result of significant trauma, poverty and untreated mental illness, Tarrasch says. treat the “The A-CHESS platform has been an integral part of our program’s success. We’ve seen the positive impact it’s had on helping our program graduates maintain sobriety, connection to peers, staff and community supports.”
About CHESS Health
CHESS Health creates innovative solutions designed at the intersection of science, technology and recovery. Founded by nationally recognized substance abuse researcher Dr. Dave Gustafson, CHESS developed A-CHESS, the leading evidence-based relapse prevention technology. By integrating A-CHESS into treatment plans, clinicians, case managers and coaches can best support those in recovery with access to predictive relapse analytics, condition-specific content and access to live support, reducing relapse by 50 percent while decreasing costs and saving lives. Founded in 2014, CHESS Health has quickly positioned itself as a leader in the mHealth space, receiving recognition from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), the Journal of Substance Abuse and the Surgeon General. To learn more about CHESS Health and the A-CHESS platform, visit http://www.chess.health.
Women in Recovery (WIR), a part of Family & Children’s Services (FCS), is an intensive outpatient alternative for eligible women facing long prison sentences for drug-related offenses. Operated in partnership with the George Kaiser Family Foundation, WIR works closely with the criminal justice system and various community partners to ensure program participants receive supervision, substance abuse and mental health treatment, education, workforce readiness training and family reunification services.