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Over the course of the year, CST initiates several special projects with various objectives, which may include concentrating on specific services and/or populations. For these projects CST collects information from service recipients to ascertain what is effective for their recovery and changes that they think would be helpful in achieving their recovery goals. Special projects are created in conjunction with new initiatives taking place within the DBH, as well as on identified problem areas. These intensive, time-consuming initiatives have proven to be extremely valuable to people in recovery, family members, providers of service and the DBH as data is collected and assessed to afford the most effective ways to provide services and treatment.

The CST project team meets on a weekly basis and formulates the process of how each project is implemented. The team decides on the focus of the project, which questions will be asked, the format of written reports and how data will be collected. Once the process is clear, the team creates a comprehensive presentation for the remaining CST staff to fully explain how the project is to be carried out. All information collected from each specific project is then compiled into a written summary of the findings.

This year, CST took on three special projects. Following is a summary of each of this year’s special projects. Summary reports of the outcomes for the special projects are available upon request.

Family Project. This project is done yearly. For this project, CST engages family members and significant support persons to ascertain how they feel about the behavioral health services that their loved ones are receiving. This is done at community and provider events where family members/support persons of service recipients are in attendance, as well as on site visits where family members/support persons are encountered. This has been an exceptional year as the number of people engaged for this project is significantly higher than in previous years. This comes as a direct result of teaming this project up with the School Therapeutic Services (STS) project as CST had direct contact with parents/guardians and was able to simultaneously gather information for both surveys used for each project. The total number of interviewees who completed surveys for this project was 2006.

CST makes a concerted effort to connect with family members/support persons, who are often hard to reach. CST staff contact service providers on a monthly basis to learn whether they were planning any events geared toward family members/support persons and to inquire if CST could attend. CST creates surveys geared toward ascertaining feedback from family members/

support persons in regard to their loved ones’ behavioral health services. CST staff take surveys with them on site visits, as well as to community events, in the event that family members/support persons are encountered.

In addition, CST leaves surveys with site staff, who in turn mail or fax completed surveys back to CST. This year, CST made 20 visits to agency/DBH sponsored events for family members/support persons, many of which occurred on weekends or evenings.

CST interviews family members/support persons using a seven question survey. Family members/support persons were queried their level of involvement, how often they met with service provider staff, if their loved ones are receiving adequate resources to achieve their goals, and if they feel that their loved one’s shown any improvement.

Of those interviewed, 241 had loved ones receiving adult mental health services, 235 had loved ones receiving substance abuse or co-occurring services, and 1530 had loved ones receiving child/adolescent behavioral health services.

In line with the DBH’s Practice Guidelines for integrated models of behavioral health care, CST would like to recognize the following providers/entities for their assistance in obtaining feedback from family members/support persons: The Wedge, PRO ACT, Family Resource Network, PATH, NHS, Philadelphia Fight, Best Behavioral Health, RHD, New Journeys in Recovery,


CST attended their sponsored events and collected CST family surveys. There are also innumerable and appreciated invites received by CST from providers for family events. Unfortunately CST cannot accept all of them.

CST would also like to recognize Children’s Home of Reading, Fairmount Behavioral Health Systems, Gaudenzia Inc., MHA, NET, PATH Inc., PHMC, RHD, Self Inc., and Wordsworth for having family members/support persons fill out the CST family surveys and faxing them back to CST’s offices.

Housing Transformation Assessment Support (HTAS) Project (Pre & Post). This is a two part project and is being done as a collaborative effort with the DBH. CST was given a list of individuals who were given housing vouchers over the last five years to follow up with them to determine how well they are doing in their independent living arrangement and surrounding community. Many of these individuals were moved from congregate living situations that were staffed 24/7 and moved into independent living arrangements with mobile services that include one or more of the following:

• Case management services
• Mobile Psych Rehab services
• Certified Peer Specialist services
• Tenant Service Coordinator (who acts as a liaison between the individuals and the landlord)

For the Post-Tenancy portion of this project, CST was given a list of names and addresses from the TIP Unit. The CST Project Team set up a process where letters were sent inviting the individuals to CST to be interviewed. Once in receipt of the letters, the individuals called CST to set up a scheduled appointment to be interviewed or they were interviewed over the telephone. CST has successfully interviewed 219 individuals (over the last two years), either face to face or via telephone. Those who participated in the interviews were offered refreshments, 10 dollar gift cards to various eating establishments, as well as two tokens for their traveling expenses. Those who were interviewed via telephone were invited to come to the CST office and pick up their gift cards and tokens. Information gathered during these interviews was recorded onto surveys and entered in Excel spread sheets.

For the Pre-Tenancy portion of the project, CST is given a list on a monthly basis from the TIP unit of those individuals who received housing vouchers and attended the housing orientation. CST calls the individuals at their congregate living arrangements to ascertain their level of satisfaction with the resources they are receiving for their transition into independent living. Since October 2015, CST received a list of 100 names and successfully interviewed 49 individuals. Surveys were also used for this portion of the project and the information was entered into an excel spread sheet. A summary report was written with the findings.

CST will continue with the project and will do a Post-Tenancy survey with those individuals who were interviewed over the last year to ascertain how they are making out in their independent living arrangements.

School Theapeudic Services (STS). School Therapeutic Services (STS) are intense, short-term services offered in selected schools in the Philadelphia School District. This program was developed to support students whose emotional and behavioral issues create barriers to their school success. A team of experienced mental health professionals work closely with school staff and families to ensure that students receive the help and support that they need to learn and thrive in school.

This is the second year that CST took on this project. This project was done as a collaborative effort between CST and CBH, for CBH’s Paid for Performance Initiative, between the months of March and December 2016. CST was given a list of phone numbers of youth receiving STS from various agencies. The focus of the project was to engage family members to gain their perspective on the service provided in the schools. There were a total of 18 agencies, with lists varying from less than 50 individuals to more than 350 individuals. Interviews were done via telephone using a survey that was created as a collaborative effort between CST and CBH. CST made calls to each parent/guardian with a maximum of three phone calls being made before terminating the effort.

Since surveys were being utilized site visit reports were not generated; however, in keeping with CST’s mission, if a parent or guardian voiced a concern with the services, a CST phone concern was documented and forwarded to the funders as well as presented at the CST/DBH accountability meetings for resolution. CST completed the calls to all of the agencies. Excel spread sheets were created for tallying the survey information. CST completed the project in December 2016. Summary reports were written for each agency. CST interviewed a total of 1245 parents/guardians for this project.

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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