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Centerstone Selected for National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare’s 2012 Same Day Access Initiative

Innovative initiative to enable same-day appointments for public mental health and addictions treatment services

Nashville, Tenn. – Centerstone, the nation’s largest not-for-profit provider of community-based mental health and addiction services, is one of 56 behavioral health organizations that has been chosen to participate in the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare’s 2012 Same Day Access Initiative. The new initiative is designed to improve access to behavioral healthcare services for people of all ages.

The Same Day Access Initiative is timely as many behavioral health organizations prepare for greater demand for services with the implementation of parity and healthcare reform. A central goal of the initiative is for patients to get appointments for care with their providers when they want them. Improved access to care has been proven to reduce no-shows and cancellations and better engage persons in treatment and recovery. In fact, studies have found that the longer patients have to wait to get appointments, the more likely they are to cancel or not show up. A same-day appointment has a 10 percent chance of not being kept, and nearly one-quarter of patients with next-day appointments do not show up.

“While Centerstone has not experienced the kind of extended wait times some others have experienced, providing quality care while continuing to improve timely access to treatment for our patients is a critical priority for us,” said Dr. Bob Vero, CEO of Centerstone. “The more time our staff can spend with each patient, focused on healing and recovery, the better the outcome of treatment. We are honored to work with the National Council on this initiative and look forward to improving access to mental healthcare and addiction treatment for all who seek it.”

As part of the Same Day Access Initiative, over the next 12 months, Centerstone will work with National Council expert consultants from MTM Services to help persons seeking public mental health and addiction treatment access services quickly and easily. Centerstone will assess and redesign its intake and assessment processes to reduce client wait times, exploring strategies such as:

  • Implementing same day access policies to decrease no-shows and cancellations.
  • Using reminder programs to encourage consumers to keep their appointments.
  • Streamlining the documentation process by removing redundant information and simplifying forms used to capture consumer data.
  • Spending more time with patients to involve them in their recovery plans and less time with post-session paperwork.

“Centerstone is committed to improving people’s timely access to behavioral health care. The National Council is pleased to strengthen our nation’s safety net for some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Charles Ingoglia, Senior Vice President, Policy and Practice Improvement at the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare.

Healthcare organizations that have participated in the National Council’s Access Redesign initiatives in recent years have seen a 60% reduction in consumer wait times, a 39% reduction in cost of access to treatment process, a 34% reduction in staff time needed per access to treatment event, an increase in referrals from primary care practices, and an average of over $200,000 in annual savings in access to care costs per organization.

About Centerstone

Centerstone, a not-for-profit organization, has provided a wide range of mental health and addiction services to people of all ages for more than 55 years. Through more than 50 facilities and 160 partnership locations across Middle Tennessee, Centerstone serves 50,000 children, adolescents, adults and seniors each year. Centerstone is accredited by CARF International. For more information about Centerstone, please call 888-291-4357 or visit www.centerstone.org.

About the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

The National Council is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 1,950 community healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to nearly eight million adults, children and families in communities across the country. Learn more at www.TheNationalCouncil.org.