The Mental Health Association of Greater Lowell’s (MHA) mission has remained constant over the years: the promotion of mental health, the prevention of mental illness, and the improved care and treatment of the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. This mission is accomplished through a wide range of activities including outpatient mental health and substance abuse counseling in our mental health clinic and Lowell Public Schools, residential supports for adults, education, advocacy, and information and referral.
MHA has dedicated and long tenured staff that provides quality care to their mentally ill and developmentally disabled clients. Many family members and funding agencies have remarked about the stability of staffing and the resulting continuity of care. MHA has very low staff vacancy rates and the average tenure for all staff is almost 8 years. The most recent data from the Department of Mental Health (DMH) indicates that MHA has a staff vacancy rate for Direct Care Workers of 1.58% as compared to the Area average of 9.8%. Similarly for Professional Staff, MHA has 0% vacancy rate compared to the Area average of 6.0%. This care resulted in re-hospitalization rates substantially and consistently below the Area average for our clients. Again, DMH data shows MHA with a 1.3% acute psychiatric rate compared to the Area rate of 2.54%. MHA also has low rates for admission rates to Subacute Nursing & Rehabilitation Facilities and for Respite.
MHA is aggressively building on this strong program foundation to better serve its client/individuals and position itself for the post Federal Health Care Reform environment. MHA is currently working on the following goals:
- Mental Health Clinic – reverse the clinic’s historic operating losses to profitability
- Electronic Client and Billing System – implementing Netsmart’s Evolv software to improve client quality and increase efficiency
- Residential Programming – develop new mental health and developmentally disabilities programs
- Program and Office Environments – improve physical environments for both clients/individuals and staff.
The mental health clinic efforts include the development of new specialties to meet evolving community needs in the areas such as head injury and autism and for our mentally ill and developmentally disabled adults that we serve in residential care. Moreover, we are exploring greater use of evidence based treatment modalities to improve client treatment. Attention to staff training has increased with seminars on integration of behavioral health with primary care, treatment of individuals with head injuries, domestic violence high risk assessment, emotional freedom technique, hoarding, and mindfulness. Additionally, we have enrolled in the Providers’ Council eAcademy for online training on almost 600 courses. We look forward to the coming years to enhance our abilities to improve the circumstances of our clients/individuals.