Local News

State redesignates Rutland Mental Health

RUTLAND—On Feb. 26, after completing a corrective action process that began last summer, Rutland Mental Health Services (RMHS) has received full-designation status from the Vermont Department of Mental Health (DMH) and Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) for its mental health and developmental disabilities programs for Rutland County.

Following a designation process that started in 2014, RMHS was notified by DMH and DAIL in July of last year that it had been given “provisional re-designation with intent to de-designate.” In response, RMHS submitted comprehensive plans of correction to address findings by the state contained in the June 2015 designation report and in other reports and communications from the departments and the Agency of Human Services.

RMHS embarked on an intensive six-month process to develop and implement numerous initiatives to strengthen the organization’s operations, policies and practices. Regular phone conferences and monthly site visits by DMH and DAIL provided the framework for monitoring progress and technical support.

Rutland Mental Health Services is the designated agency for Rutland County for adult and children’s mental health and developmental disabilities services. It is also certified for substance abuse services by the Vermont Department of Health. RMHS employs 275 full-time and 100 part-time employees. Across all program areas, RMHS serves over 3,000 people each year.

In his Feb. 16 letter to RMHS, DMH Commissioner Frank Reed stated, “We would like to commend the leadership of RMHS for the work you have done and express our sincere appreciation to your agency for its demonstrated commitment to improving the lives of Vermonters with mental health needs within your region.” DAIL Commissioner Monica Hutt’s letter, Feb. 23, recognized the work of the RMHS Developmental Disabilities Services Division leadership. DMH and DAIL will continue to follow-up with RMHS, as some plan of correction initiatives were more involved and had longer implementation timelines.

RMHS is designated by DMH for its programs in adult mental health; mental health services for children, youth and families; community rehabilitation and treatment; and emergency services, and by DAIL for its developmental disabilities services programs. The designation will remain in effect until a new review process 2018-2019.

“Since last summer, Rutland Mental Health Services has focused intensely on making improvements to our systems, policies and practices,” said RMHS CEO Dick Courcelle. “Senior leaders, program directors and employees throughout the organization devoted substantial time and resources to diligent pursuit of the improvement initiatives, as did the Board of Directors, which took an active role in the governance initiatives.”

The improvement initiatives were numerous and included processes to shorten wait times for some services and provide stabilization support in the interim, more robust data and clinical monitoring systems, development of comprehensive training plans, and tools to provide more client input into services and treatments. The Board of Directors also developed an annual work plan that includes efforts to enhance communication with RMHS employees and to expand its membership and geographic representation. “We look forward to working with DMH and DAIL to sustain these improvements and ultimately provide better care to the people we serve in Rutland County,” said Courcelle.

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