Client interview with Jeffrey Savoy, LCSW, CASAC, Vice President, Director of Clinical Support Services and Daphne Juste, LMHC, NCC, Clinical Support Coordinator
Odyssey House is a recognized leader in a proven and holistic form of treatment called integrated behavioral health care. For 50 years, they have provided innovative services and programs to a broad population of individuals and families struggling with substance use, mental health disorders, and homelessness. Their innovative clinical protocols in housing, education, employment, and medical services demonstrate a sustained commitment to providing quality programs that meet the needs of a changing community of drug-troubled individuals and families.
As a behavioral health provider organization in New York, keeping up with state regulations, payer requirements and helping maintain licenses and certifications for multiple types of staff is a challenging task. Prior to using Relias, their staff training documentation consisted of file cabinets of paper training records which weren’t easily searchable. A paper record system presented challenges related to managing training compliance among various programs and locations, while depending solely on live trainers created variances in training content. “It was a hard system to manage,” says Jeff Savoy, Vice President, Director of Clinical Support Services, “especially so with training mandates from several different regulatory bodies and recurring requirements like opioid overdose prevention, CPR, HIPPA, Workplace Safety and other safety/compliance topics.”
Implementing the Relias learning management system (LMS) and library of online courses helped improve efficiency of record management as well as the consistency of training provided to staff, “which ultimately supports better clinical practices and improves the quality of care,” comments Savoy. Odyssey House has seen improvements in workforce management, improved reporting and assignment of training plans, more efficient implementation of staff development plans, and when required, timely corrective actions.
In New York, there is a specialized State Enforcement Agency called The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs which oversees agencies that serve individuals with developmental and behavioral disorders to ensure that vulnerable service recipients are protected from abuse, neglect and mistreatment. “I am not aware of another state which has something akin to the Justice Center,” says Savoy. “They are the watchdog for the entire system of care, including the state’s regulators as well as providers, and are quite active in ensuring that any allegation of neglect or abuse is quickly reported and thoroughly investigated.”
“We’ve seen tremendous improvements in compliance, policy and procedure management and efficiency of training. Now we’re expanding into HR functions, setting up HRIS integration and getting even more out of the system.”
Odyssey House serves over 1500 people on any given day and delivers a system of care which operates in a transparent fashion and reports allegations as required by the Justice Center. At times, there are investigations, with follow-up and required corrective action plans which include adjustments to staffing; many require training and documentation. Odyssey House can easily provide a needed report within an hour of the request and have the tools and resources needed to follow-up and address gaps in knowledge and skills as indicated in the results of an investigation.
Staff also use the system for continuing education and to keep licenses current; this is no small task at Odyssey House. They employ many types of behavioral health professionals like substance abuse, mental health and rehabilitation counselors, social workers, recovery coaches, nurses, and MDs, just to name a few. Management and staff alike have seen benefits and multiple uses from the Relias system.
- Continuing education: manage and track all training, in-house and external, live and online, in the Relias system
- Corrective action plans: provide training based on identified gaps in knowledge
- Consistency and quality: staff receive same content and quality of training on important topics like ethics and state requirements