The Clackamas County Behavioral Health Centerstone clinic first opened in March 2012. Operating as an extension of the community mental health services already offered by Clackamas County government in Oregon, the facility is described by its crisis program manager as “an Urgent Care [provider] for mental health issues.” As such, the facility operates primarily to provide immediate care for patients and prospective patients who may need prompt assistance with various mental health issues, especially those that may pose some risk of harm. However, the organization also offers a variety of additional mental health services and alcohol and drug treatment services through its network of mental health and addiction clinics.
The organization provides assessments and evaluations in order to determine the appropriate level of service, office-based counseling, group counseling to work on mental health conditions, life skills, and symptom management, and medication for mental health conditions. Additionally, given its status as an emergency care provider, the organization is capable of offering hospital care for mental illnesses, as well as in-home services for adults experiencing especially severe symptoms. For patients who are able to function at a higher level, employment services and peer support programs may help clients to maintain a level of independence and productivity in their daily lives. For younger patients and their parents, Clackamas County also conducts skills training seminars and community-based services designed to keep patients engaged within their social spheres.
Alcohol and drug addiction treatment follows a similar schedule of initial evaluations, group therapy, medication, and referral to community-based support programs. This type of treatment also frequently involves collaboration with school-based programs when working with young patients and their families, as well as individual counseling sessions designed to get at the root of the addiction problem and to take steps to resolve it.
In addition to the Centerstone facility, these services are provided at Clackamas County’s Beavercreek, Gladstone, Hilltop, Sandy, Stewart, and Sunnyside health clinic locations. The result of this wide network of coverage is that patients will have a comprehensive treatment program designed to offer them the care they need, where they need it, and how they need it to be administered. The amenities offered by Clackamas County will further ensure that no patient need goes unmet.
Potential clients at Clackamas County Behavioral Health Centerstone are never turned away, regardless of their ability to pay or health insurance status. The facility’s crisis program supervisor, Jeffrey Anderson, states that at least half of the center’s patients are actually uninsured; Clackamas County is dedicated to providing the best possible treatment options in an ethical manner, and that includes making arrangements for those patients who may experience difficulty in covering the cost of treatment.
While some funding for the organization comes from state, federal, and county sources, much of its operation is supported by Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements. As such, Medicare is accepted for both mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment. The Oregon Health Plan is also an accepted provider. For low-income or uninsured patients, fees are calculated based on household income, family size, and a sliding fee scale. Patients with financial concerns are encouraged to call the Clackamas Behavioral Health Division in order to explore their options; at this facility, no patient will go untreated due to inability to pay for services.
The Centerstone facility is conveniently located in one of Happy Valley, Oregon’s most popular shopping centers. Ease of accessibility is incredibly important for patients seeking treatment—the easier it is to get to daily appointments, the more likely patients are to actually attend those appointments. By choosing such a central location, Clackamas County has guaranteed that its Centerstone facility will not require patients to go out of their way to get the treatment they need. This is especially applicable to outpatient and recovering clients who may need periodic counseling sessions in order to maintain their working, semi-independent lifestyles. Checking in at the Centerstone clinic according to a specific treatment schedule will allow them to live their lives while remaining firmly on the road to recovery.
The building itself is discreetly labeled “Centerstone” without any further identifying characteristics, ensuring the patients and family members can come and go without the negative stigma that all too often is associated with mental health treatment. Inside, the organization uses large conference rooms, as well as small lounges and private treatment rooms, in order to accommodate both group therapy sessions and individual counseling meetings. It is during these counseling sessions that patients will encounter the most substantive aspect of their rehabilitation process: therapy.
Both mental health disorders and chemical dependency issues are treated at Centerstone via group therapy and individual therapy. Group therapy typically involves one counselor working with several patients. In this treatment model, patients are encouraged to share their experiences with each other, give and receive feedback based on their own experiences, and learn potential coping mechanisms that they can apply to the problems they are facing in their own lives. The counselor oversees these sessions in order to ensure that they stay on track and consistently offer a constructive environment for all participants. This type of therapy is generally regarded as especially effective for individuals who are suffering from alcohol or drug dependence.
Individual therapy, on the other hand, typically consists of sessions between one patient and one counselor. In this type of setting, therapy may be more specifically tailored to the needs and problems of the patient in question, as no time needs to be devoted to the requirements of other patients. These sessions allow patients to delve more deeply into their own personal problems and to work even more closely with a counselor to explore potential solutions. These sessions are conducted in an office setting and may be most useful for patients suffering from a variety of mental health issues.
Clackamas County Behavioral Health Centerstone also offers job services for patients who are managing severe mental health conditions. Patients may find it challenging to acquire or maintain a career while struggling with mental health or substance abuse disorders; Clackamas County has a wealth of experience in this field and will be able to help patients with employment-related issues. By partnering extensively with the community, the organization has acquired a number of partnerships and collaborative associations that may be able to help patients find employment. Additional peer services and supports will also assist patients in maintaining their healthy, sober lifestyles as they continue through the recovery process.
Medication is also frequently part of the recovery process. When administered by qualified professionals and in the appropriate doses, this can be an effective tool to aid in rehabilitation. Staff at the Centerstone clinic is experienced in identifying whether medication may assist in a patient’s treatment plan. This is typically determined after an initial intake exam, after a patient is diagnosed and the therapeutic schedule is being devised. Together with therapy sessions, patients taking medication will experience the complete picture of mental health or substance abuse recovery.
One of Clackamas County Behavioral Health Centerstone’s specialties involves reimagining the traditional physician-focused model of therapy. Instead of placing every aspect of treatment on the shoulders of a single physician, the organization administers services through “pods” made up of one physician, several nurse practitioners, two nurses, one behavioral health consultant, one mental health counselor, and several certified medical assistants.
This model of service allows multiple team members to attend to a patient at any given time, allowing the physician greater freedom and flexibility without sacrificing the level of care experienced by the patient. In fact, the patient is likely to receive a higher and more responsive level of care via this model, as that care may be administered by many members of staff, and patients are not forced to wait on their physician for each and every item of care. This means that clients will receive comprehensive care coverage from a variety of professional staff members, all of whom will be familiar with the patient’s treatment plan and particular needs.
Because the Centerstone clinic operates as an urgent care facility, it also necessarily specializes in the treatment of mental health and substance abuse disorders that may present an immediate threat to the lives of its patients. This involves the use of peer counseling, crisis referral services, mental health first aid, and treatment court services. Immediate threats may include severe depression, suicidal thoughts, or the onset of anxiety attacks. When these symptoms require immediate attention, Clackamas County is also able to provide involuntary commitment. This is not taken lightly, but is determined with the utmost rigor and always preserves the civil rights and due process for affected individuals.
As some of its staff is affiliated with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s office, the organization is able to provide for particularly vulnerable elements of the population, such as previous prison inmates, who may present with immediate mental health needs. The goal of this collaboration is to avoid the reentry of inmates into the prison system by providing the mental health resources they need to remain productive and functional members of society. Counselors at Centerstone are specially trained in the needs of this type of patient.
The Centerstone facility employs 33 Clackamas County employees, including three therapists, a psychiatrist, commitment investigators, 24-hour crisis hotline operators, and several employees affiliated with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s office. As previously indicated, this wide pool of employees allows treatment to be centralized around the patient rather than around a particular physician.
The skills and abilities possessed by Centerstone staff will all be put to good use to ensure that the facility’s patients receive constant care of the highest quality. By employing a small but specialized staff, the organization also ensures that all members of the team will be familiar with the needs and treatment plans of its patients, so that constant coverage will be provided even in the event of a staff member’s absence. When taken in consideration with the staff employed at Clackamas County’s other mental health facilities, it quickly becomes clear that the organization is operating at the forefront of professional mental health and substance abuse treatment. Patients suffering from related issues are encouraged to speak to Clackamas County staff to see if the Centerstone clinic is right for them.
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