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2008 Behavioral Health Champion: Michael D. Flora, MBA, MAEd, LCPC, LSW

December 1, 2008
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Photographer: David Barrow, OC Photos

Position: President/CEO

Organization: Ben Gordon Center

Service area: DeKalb County, Northwest Illinois

Main services: Outpatient behavioral health services for adults, children, and families

Number of staff: 65

Most vivid behavioral healthcare memory: “I recall to this day working as a young case manager in Akron, Ohio. New on my caseload was a young man the same age as me. There were stories about him, how difficult he was to work with, how dangerous he was. When I met him, I did not see that in him. His struggles and celebrations have made an imprint on my perceptions of recovery. He taught me that recovery is not one size fits all.”

Personal mission statement: “I have always felt that we should keep the

community in community mental health. This is operationalized for me as I believe that the CEO must also be able to grasp an organization's relationships to its surrounding community. We must be active participants in our communities, not just our organizations.”


“Like so many of us, having family members with mental illness, I didn't realize how that would influence my career choices and the philosophy and values I would later develop as a clinician and CEO. Building on my early experiences in working with families, and my own family's experience with ‘the system,’ I began to hold a high standard to care. That meant we did not hire anyone we would not want someone we love to see. This commonsense approach when choosing team members has been very beneficial for our organization. “I am very proud of our team of caring professionals and the accomplishments in expanding services we have made together for our community. This was especially true this past February. Our organization took an active role to help our community heal in the aftermath of the shootings on the campus of Northern Illinois University. I am proud of our team's commitment and their caring as they continue to help a community heal. “Throughout my career, I have been committed to expanding performance and accountability in behavioral healthcare. At the Ben Gordon Center, we have embraced these values by aligning best clinical and management strategies and using data to drive those decisions. “Together, we have a lot to be proud of. We have been able to decrease no-show rates to less than 6% agency-wide for all services. We have increased service capacity by over 60% and maintained staff retention at 98% annually for the past six years. We have increased consumer outcomes and client satisfaction. We have streamlined our documentation processes, enhanced our utilization and review, and dramatically increased the number of individuals we serve every year. We have diversified our payer sources and increased revenue. We have aligned agency goals, management expectations, and staff satisfaction to achieve optimal results for those we serve.” Behavioral Healthcare 2008 December;28(12):8-15
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