The future of behavioral healthcare was the overarching theme in just about every session at Foundation Recovery Network’s Moments of Change conference this week in West Palm Beach, Fla.
“Every industry goes through cycles,” said Rob Waggener, LCSW, FACHE, chief executive officer, Foundations Recovery Network. “Ours is currently being driven by macro factors. It’s noisy and scary, but generally all good.”
He added that it’s important that industry players don’t become intimidated by change. Success will take brand integrity, brand differentiation and the ability to stand strong on your mission. There will also be a drive toward willingness to refer patients as appropriate.
Peter Walstrom, chief financial officer and acting chief operating officer, Delray Recovery Center, emphasized the role of branding and corporate culture as it relates to the consumer's total experience.
“Providing exceptional patient care can be enhanced through inspired employees," he said. "At every level of management, take the time to involve everyone under one unified vision."
Another emerging issue, Waggener added, is the move toward outcome- and value-based care. But providers struggle to measure outcomes because value has not been defined. Value can be as simple as whether or not a patient and family received the care they expected, or as complex as long-term sobriety measures.
“We all wish we could be in the business of life management, but payers with doors closed don’t care about long-term outcomes, they want to know about 30 and 90 days out,” he added. “Eventually we’ll be in that place, but it’s not going to happen tomorrow.”
The current demand has put a magnifying glass over the industry, which all panelists agreed will have positive and negative effects. While it could encourage favorable legislation, scrutiny by regulators will also be increased.
“Increased scrutiny is here to stay – you have to stand up to it, be transparent, be accountable,” Waggener said. “New players who aren’t doing it well will be swept under the rug.”
Walstrom added that while there has been an enormous shift in the industry to open the market up to more players, those who cannot demonstrate outcomes won’t be able to stay competitive. He also emphasized the importance of continuing to innovate, listen and collaborate together.
“We see each other as competitors more than colleagues, and there's a need to get together and mentor new folks coming into the field," said Gary Fisher, director of operations for Cirque Lodge. "We’re better as a whole than we are singularly.