Category Archives: Wellness Matters

Simplifying the Representative Payee Process

As of July 1, 2019, San Mateo County Health transitioned their Representative Payee services to Life Inc.  Rep Payee services are provided to clients of BHRS and Aging & Adults Services who need assistance managing their Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This service helps ensure clients pay their bills on time and can take care of their essential living needs.

Before the transition, Aging & Adult Services staff processed and distributed the payments to clients. The change to Life Inc. removes the need to have service providers and other vendors involved in the payment process. The transition is expected to be complete by October.

You can read more about what other benefits clients will receive from Life Inc. in the BHRS Newsletter “Wellness Matters” here.

Youth Center Receives New Certification

After a three-year process, Canyon Oaks Youth Center (COYC) Residential Treatment Facility completed the conversion from a Level 14 Youth Group Home to a Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program (STRTP) and the program received their permanent STRTP License on June 1st.

The committed and experienced team of leaders and staff of COYC have pioneered therapeutic approaches to address the needs of youth who have experienced significant trauma to support their health and recovery and continue to do so. In addition, COYC has been accredited for a period of 3 years by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, International (CARF).  

Youth drawing with chalk on wall

By pursuing and achieving accreditation, COYC has demonstrated that it meets international standards for quality and is committed to pursuing excellence. This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. 

To  receive a three-Year Accreditation of this caliber, an organization has to put itself through a rigorous peer review process and demonstrate to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit that its programs and services are of the highest quality, measurable, and accountable. 

Read the full article in the latest edition of the BHRS newsletter, “Wellness Matters“, here.

Need Support During the Holidays? Call/IM the Peer Run Warm Line

The California Peer-Run Warm Line is a non-emergency resource for anyone in the Bay Area seeking emotional support, providing assistance via phone and web chat on a nondiscriminatory basis to anyone in need.

Some concerns callers share are challenges with interpersonal relationships, anxiety, panic, depression, finance, and alcohol and drug use.

The California Peer-Run Warm Line is open for service this Thanksgiving weekend and throughout December, including Holidays!

Current hours: 7am-11pm, 7 Days a Week.
Call 1-855-845-7415.
For more info and to access online chat: California Peer-Run Warm Line

Watch for announcements as hours will be expanding to 24/7 sometime soon in 2020!



Parents Are Key to Addressing Youth Cannabis Use

In partnership with other jurisdictions around the San Francisco Bay Area, San Mateo County commissioned a survey of parents and teens during December 2018-January 2019 to establish the baseline measures on the knowledge, perceptions and use of cannabis.

788 total parents and youth participated in that survey (502 parents and 286 teens and young adults). The AOD Prevention Program intends to use the findings to support an education campaign that will focus on the target groups with the messages needed to improve prevention efforts in San Mateo County.  

The survey revealed the importance of engaging parents in the effort to address their child’s use of cannabis – pointing to the significant influence that parent perceptions and behaviors have on youth perception and use. Also, the data shows that parents who have used cannabis are less concerned about potential harm or their teen using cannabis, which points to the need to ensure that parents understand the difference in the potency of current cannabis products in comparison to the cannabis they  may have used when they were young. 

Read more about this and other key findings highlighted in the survey in our latest edition of the “Wellness Matters” newsletter.

David Lewis Garden Back in Bloom

The garden at the David Lewis Reentry Center is back in full operation after a temporary hiatus. New funding sources and dedicated volunteers made re-opening the garden to the public possible this past spring.

The center has long been a refuge for East Palo Alto community members coming home from prison. The gardening project allows them an opportunity to reconnect with their community and nature.

Seasonal vegetables and fruits are growing in abundance and are available for community members.

Read more about the garden on Wellness Matters.

Women’s Treatment Facility Transitions to Serve Only Men

As of June 3rd, Laurel House, a program of HealthRIGHT 360, began serving adult men in need of residential substance use treatment services in San Mateo County.  

Laurel House was the first home opened by the Women’s Recovery Association in 1973 and originally its mission was to treat only women.

Laurel House

The transition to now serve men is a remarkable accomplishment and a testament to HealthRIGHT’s commitment to the entire community and its partners.

The transition occurred mainly to address the recovery needs of men, ease the backlog of clients waiting to access residential care, and fill the growing number of women’s beds that have consistently remained empty system wide since the implementation of Drug Medi-Cal in 2017.  

Read the full article here

An Inside Look: StarVista Crisis Center Hotline

One of San Mateo County’s most used suicide prevention resources, and part of  StarVista’s Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prevention Center, is a suicide crisis hotline that operates 24-hour-a-day, 365 days per year.

Call center staff field calls from county residents in emotional distress, dealing with depression, experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed, anxiety and those having thoughts of suicide. 

More than 11,000 calls were answered last year alone, an amazing accomplishment considering that the call center is comprised of a single desk staffed by just one person per shift who juggles multiple call.

In the most recent issue of the BHRS newsletter, “Wellness Matters”, a call center counselor shares an inside look into the crisis counseling experience as well as his own story of recovery. You can find that article by clicking here.

Medication Assisted Treatment Helping More People with Opioid Addiction

As the opioid epidemic continues to have a negative impact across the country, San Mateo County is responding to the challenge by strengthening existing programs and creating new resources to deal with the crisis.

This includes the creation of the Integrated Medication Assisted Treatment (IMAT) program. The IMAT effort consists a team of case managers embedded within San Mateo Medical Center’s Emergency Department and the Primary Care Interface team. In addition, the County opened their first addiction medicine clinic, the San Mateo Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Clinic in 2016.   

In the fall of 2017, the clinic expanded their outreach and engagement efforts to serve those with opioid use disorders (OUD) and has seen a significant increase in the number of patients treated. The increase can be attributed to the county-wide effort and commitment to expand access to care which includes a new protocol established at the San Mateo Medical Center’s Emergency Department earlier this year resulting in patients receiving care sooner, extended service offerings at the MAT clinic- including patient walk in hours, and increasing the number for providers who can prescribe buprenorphine.

To read more about IMAT and other efforts the county is making to expand access to medication assisted treatment click here.

Clara Boyden Named as Deputy Director Alcohol & Other Drug Services 

Clara Boyden has been named to serve as the first Deputy Director for BHRS Alcohol & Other Drug (AOD) Services. 

AOD programs and services are critical to meet the needs of the BHRS community and this is a significant step in providing integrated behavioral health service at all levels. 

Clara first joined the County of San Mateo in 1998 in the Health Department’s Tobacco Prevention Program in the Health Education Unit.  Since then, Clara she has held a number of roles within Health and the Human Services Agency (HSA), including HSA’s Planning and Evaluation Unit.   

Clara is a tireless advocate for individuals struggling with substance use disorders and people in recovery.  Read more about Clara in this “Wellness Matters” article.

New System Expands Services and Access to Care

Since launching the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (DMC ODS) pilot in San Mateo County in February 2017, BHRS data has shown a 140% increase in the number of unique Medi-Cal beneficiaries served  annually by the Substance Use Disorder (SUD) provider network  – from 516 people in 2016 to 1,245 people in 2018.  DMC services billed to the State have also increased 206% since implementation.  This increase is due in part, to the increase in the number of certified DMC  providers, from four in 2016 to twenty-four certified DMC providers currently. 

What is the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System? 

The Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (DMC-ODS) is a pilot program which expands the services that can be provided to Medi-Cal beneficiaries under the Drug Medi-Cal benefit that were not previously covered.  Important new services include:  residential treatment, recovery support services, case management, and medication assisted treatment services.  When combined with the original DMC services (outpatient services, intensive outpatient, and opioid treatment services), a comprehensive substance use disorder benefit is now available.  Through these services, our aim is to improve access and timeliness to care,  enhance our client’s experience of care, and improve overall client health and wellness.    

Read more on how BHRS will continue serving and expanding treatment options and quality of care through this system, click here.

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