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HopeWay's First Two Years: A Reflection from our CEO and Chief Medical Officer

January 23, 2019

Alyson R. Kuroski-Mazzei, DO, MRO, FAPA

I’m still in awe at all we’ve built and accomplished at HopeWay in our first two years. It’s important that we pause early in this new year and reflect on our shared milestones.

Mental health treatment is hard work for both the client and care team, with setbacks and frustrations on the road to recovery and hope. No matter what hill or valley we are in, it helps to step back and appreciate everything about this incredible journey.

The People

When thinking of all the milestones we’ve accomplished since we welcomed our first client, nothing stands out more than the people – the clients and the team here at HopeWay.

One of our first clients was Mary Anne, a 71-year-old grandmother, who came to HopeWay severely depressed and medically fragile. After months of customized treatment and care, she is completely in remission without any mood symptoms and is engaged in her wellness by taking fitness classes at the YMCA and vacationing across the country with her long-time friends. How awesome is that?

One of our other clients, Brian, is a young man from another state who came to HopeWay after a brief hospital stay. Our country’s fragmented mental health system meant that Brian, an honors college student, would experience different symptoms over several years and see a myriad of providers who could only conclude that his behavior was due to illicit drug use. All of the pieces finally came together when Brian was able to come stay at HopeWay where doctors and therapists could observe and treat him over his six-week residential stay. Here, Brian was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder; he was treated with an effective medication, learned more about how to manage his disease successfully and now is moving through a transitional program on his way back to college.

Client improvement and their success is what makes our work worthwhile, and Mary Anne and Brian’s journeys show what we do at HopeWay not only matters but also works.

Equally amazing is the HopeWay staff. Morgan Liles, who is now an Admissions Specialist, was the only staff member when HopeWay co-founder, Bill Blue, called me in December 2015 to offer me the position to lead this premier mental health treatment center.

Thankfully, Bill and the recruitment committee had faith in me to implement a physician-led model of care.

With unflinching support from Bill and Betsy Blue and the HopeWay Board, we filled our beautiful campus with caring and experienced team members.

It’s amazing to think that two years later, we have more than 100 talented and diverse team members who are wholeheartedly committed to the rewarding work they do every single day.

We have assembled our best in class team by hiring people who are compassionate and passionate about our mission – often because of their own experience with mental health challenges among their family and friends. This personal connection, in turn, leads to more empathy, understanding and hope for our clients and their fellow teammates.

The Numbers

The numbers behind the people reveal the big picture of what we’ve accomplished in our first two years:

620 - the number of people we have served since opening our doors.

97 – the percent of clients who have shown improvement in the severity of their symptoms, according to our outcomes data.

95 – the percent of clients who would recommend HopeWay to a friend or loved one per our client satisfaction surveys.

56 – the average number of clients being treated at HopeWay each day.

26 – the number of states where clients have come from. Plus, Canada and the Philippines.

Over $1,000,000 – the amount of financial assistance we’ve awarded to clients who needed help paying for treatment.

The Awards

In September 2017, The Joint Commission awarded HopeWay its Gold Seal of Approval for Behavioral Health Care, an accreditation that is the healthcare standard for safety and quality.

There are other certifications, but we decided to go for the best, including the commission’s Behavioral Health Home Certification.

When we received that certification, HopeWay was one of the first mental health treatment centers operating as a Behavioral Health Home in the 1,200 miles between Baltimore and Miami.

Along with our board, executive team and staff, I am very proud that we are part of leading the best-practice of offering psychiatric and medical care under one roof.

Our Future

Now that we’ve built a sustainable treatment center, we are beginning to look for new opportunities to expand our services.

In December, we hosted over 200 guests in our gym in support of The Blue Angels Foundation’s commitment to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health challenges.

Through the support of The Blue Angels, and others, we plan to build a home for veterans on HopeWay’s campus where men and women will receive treatment as well as explore education and work opportunities that will set them up for future success in civilian life.

The Senior Leadership Team and the Board are exploring all growth opportunities, such as care for children, adolescents and increased addiction services. The need is great in so many areas of mental health care, and we hope to do as much as we can to help those in crisis and improve access to care.

Thank you

I am thankful for the families of our clients in treatment, who trust us to care for their loved ones and support the process of recovery. These support systems are committed to work with our medical and clinical teams through hard conversations that lead to improved outcomes for the client and family.

I am thankful for the many therapists, psychiatrists, primary care doctors and other providers who refer their patients to HopeWay. Client treatment teams extend beyond the HopeWay walls, and we value and appreciate that they trust us with their patient’s care.

I am thankful for our donors who have generously supported HopeWay since the beginning. It started with the capital campaign to purchase and renovate HopeWay’s campus and continued with contributions from our donors that allowed us to provide financial assistance & maintain excellence ever since.

I am thankful for the HopeWay Ball, Hoops for HopeWay, our annual Covington event and all the generous gifts that come directly to our mailbox each day.

I am humbled by these demonstrations of faith in HopeWay to be the source of hope for those living with mental health challenges, and we will continue to rely on donor generosity to provide exceptional care and to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Each day, I am grateful to be a part of this amazing resource called HopeWay, and I am deeply grateful of all the hard work and dedication of each person in our HopeWay “family.”

It’s exciting to think that we’ve only just begun this journey.

Happy New Year to all!

 

Editor’s note: This blog post is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have any health concern, see a licensed healthcare professional in person.