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2015 - 2016 HIGHLIGHTS

CST has been in existence for more than 25 years and over the years, CST has remained committed to its original mission that ensures that service recipients and family members are able to communicate their wishes and needs regarding behavioral health services to the funders and providers of these services. CST has aligned itself with the DBHIDS, developed new work processes to accommodate for new initiatives within the DBHIDS and never wavered from their mission. The staff of CST remains comprised of individuals in recovery from a mental illness and/or an addiction, as well as family members of those who have received behavioral health services. During the regular business day, and occasionally on weekends, CST makes unannounced visits to sites that provide behavioral health services. CST has conversations with individuals receiving behavioral health services to ascertain their level of satisfaction and what they feel could be improved. CST also attends events and functions in the community to educate and inform those in recovery and their family members about available resources.

The function of CST staff is to relay the information ascertained during those conversations with service recipients and family members regarding their behavioral health services via written reports. CST staff do not function as advocates, case managers or monitors. It is the funders’ responsibility to ensure that service recipients and/or family members’ concerns are addressed in a timely manner. CST’s role is to hold the funders accountable.

Over the course of the year, CST made over 800 site visits to a wide range of behavioral health sites, and encountered more than 10,000 people in recovery and family members, including both adults and children. CST also interviewed 2006 family members for CST’s annual Family Project. (See section on Accountability and Data Collection for a detailed report on these activities). In addition to the regularly scheduled site visits, CST undertook three special projects (see section on Special Projects for specifics on each project).

Some of the year’s highlights include:

Contract with Community Behavioral Health (CBH). CST entered into a contract with CBH for a second year to engage family members of youth receiving School Therapeutic Services (STS) for the Paid for Performance Initiative. There was a clear line of communication and much collaboration between CST and CBH. CST made more than 3000 phone calls, which resulted in 1245 interviews with parents/guardians.

Interviewing Family Members/Support Persons. This has been another outstanding year for CST’s annual Family Project. For the last two years, CST was able to interview thousands of family members/support persons the CST Family Member/Support Person Engagement Project. For this project, CST makes a concerted effort to survey family members/support persons who have a relative or loved one, either adult or child, who is receiving behavioral health services. Over the course of the year, CST attended provider sponsored events, as well as events held in the community. CST Family Surveys were also left during regular site visits with site staff who returned completed surveys to CST either via fax or mail. This project was also done in conjunction with the STS project. In total, CST surveyed 2006 family members/support persons.

Bernie Ferry Consumer Fund. CST created a fund in the name of a beloved advocate, who was the husband of Loretta Ferry, the previous Executive Director of CST. Contributions to the fund are made by CST employees and the CST Board of Directors. Over the years CST has given grants in the amount of $50 to hundreds of individuals in recovery who were in the process of preparing to move into independent living situations. Applications for the grant are submitted by the individual’s case manager; after the application is approved, the case manager comes to CST’s offices to pick up the grant award. This fiscal year CST has distributed 101 grants to individuals in recovery. This is an increase of 22 grants from last year.

Asking Questions on Behalf of the State. The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare requested that CST, as part of their regular site visits, ask service recipients the following three questions: 1) In the last 12 months were you able to get the help you needed? 2) Were you given the chance to make treatment decisions? 3) What effect has the treatment you received had on the quality of your life? CST has asked 4,180 individuals these questions.

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For more information contact:
The Consumer Satisfaction Team, Inc.
520 N. Delaware Ave., 7th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Phone (215) 923-9627