A Behavioral Health Program That Works – ABC 4 Good4Utah Interview

Has some one you know ever encountered a behavioral health program that couldn’t prove it’s worth? With families that are struggling to help a loved one, the financial burden of residential treatment can be made even more painful when they find that the treatment they received was not effective or had no evidence to back it. Eric Schmidt, CEO and Founder of New Roads Behavioral Health, sits down with ABC 4 Good4Utah’s Nicea Degering to discuss what it takes to make a program successful.

Seeking Treatment for Mental Health

With so many facilities offering mental health care for people with substance abuse, behavioral health, borderline personality disorder, depression and other varieties of issues, it is increasingly difficult to find a legitimate practice versus a bogus treatment program. So the question is, how do you know what program is best for you or your family member that is in need of residential treatment?

“That is the number one question that I get asked,” says Schmidt. Along with other professionals that are committed to quality and ethical practices, Schmidt helped to form the Utah Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (UAATP). Schmidt is currently serving as the President. Over the last few years this team of professionals has been working together to develop quality standards to help answer the question for people trying to find help. UAATP provides a unified voice for those struggling with substance abuse and they work to ensure quality, evidenced based treatment. While advocating for those suffering from addiction, UAATP holds programs in the state of Utah to a higher standard of care by strengthening options within the community. Through education, strategic alliances and advocacy, UAATP provides leadership to help develop public policy.

Legislation and House Bill 259

Finding that many instances of fraud and negligence were becoming more common, Schmidt and others have worked to create new legislation that would regulate treatment facilities better. House Bill 259 was created to provide better regulations for treatment facilities and specifically address substance abuse treatment fraud.

“What this bill does is it empowers the insurance commission and it empowers the office of licensing to go into a facility where there has been accusations of negligence, fraud, which unfortunately there is a lot of here in Utah, and go in [to] correct that. They are somewhat disempowered right now. Actually, many of us providers that hold ourselves to an ethical standard went and asked them to better regulate us because we saw that there was a little bit of the “wild west” in certain facilities,” says Schmidt.

The full bill text is available online.To read HB 259 in detail, visit the Utah State Legislature website.

Ethical Standards In Mental Health Care

Having an educated, well trained staff is important to ensure quality treatment. Following that up with the correct licensing, accreditations and endorsements is also something that is absolutely necessary in this field where people’s lives are entrusted to the providers that are caring for them. Initiating internal quality assurance standards and other procedures to ensure maximum efficacy is paramount to a reputable facility with roots in evidence based practices. It is providing the correct evidence to prove the worth in the practice that makes a program truly valuable to its clients.

Schmidt explains that at New Roads Behavioral Health, they can point to many credible sources that can prove the efficaciousness of their methods and show that they work. That evidence provides a basis for effective treatment. With better regulation and internal processes in place to ensure quality care, it is the hope of those in the field to keep quality treatment a priority when helping people gain control of their lives and find help.

Finding Help – Asking The Right Questions

At the point where family members, friends and individuals seek treatment, there is usually a great deal of emotion. Coming to a facility looking for treatment can be intense. Finding an admissions staff that is specially trained to help defuse the situation so that communication can happen in a safe environment and help understand the full extent of the situation is important to ensure that the facility is going to be beneficial not only to the patient but to the support system around them.  Putting the needs of the family as a priority, it is important that when entering a facility that everyone feels as though they are being understood and comfortable with the type of care they are receiving. With this training, admission staff helps those looking for help get to a place where they can ask more mindful questions and be less anxious with the process.

Watch the full interview on ABC 4 Good4Utah’s website here.