GBA NETS $1M FOR ADVENTIST HEALTH
GBA developed a grant proposal for Adventist Health that successfully netted $1 million from Blue Shield of California. The grant will fund implementation of Accountable Care Organization strategies at three locations that serve rural populations in California’s Central Valley. Participating hospitals are located in Hanford and Selma, in the San Joaquin Valley and Bakersfield region, and in the Napa Valley-Clearlake area. Adventist Health will utilize the award to purchase software and provide training to integrate electronic health records for use by physicians, hospitals, and rural clinics. The goal is to reduce hospital readmissions and emergency room utilization, and to promote timely follow-up, referrals, care coordination, and electronic prescriptions. GBA is proud to be associated with the Adventist Health system of 17 hospitals and more than 40 clinics, and we are gratified that our work will help them with this new project.
GBA continues to grow
Three years ago, due to company growth, Gary Bess Associates moved from a home office to a larger but still home-like workplace. One year later, continued expansion prompted GBA to acquire and inhabit the house next door. In August 2010, even more growth, coupled with crossing the parking lot in all kinds of weather, led Gary, staff, and dogs to pick up and move to bigger digs once again. While still remaining in the idyllic town of Paradise in northern California, the team now fully inhabits a rustic 15-room office in the center of town on a road they call "the Skyway."
While GBA team members have enormous respect and admiration for each other, they are pleased at having separate offices, rather than being 36 inches apart and having no choice but to become absorbed in each other's conversations.
After some lovely interior enhancements, a phone system upgrade, and a massive computer system installation party, all systems are "go"!
GBA Does Meth — Again!
After a thorough community assessment with recommendations to raise awareness about the ills of methamphetamine and prescription drug abuse in rural Butte County, Gary Bess Associates proudly produced a professionally bound, 42-page Resource Guide for youth involved in substance abuse and their parents. Working closely with the Butte County Sheriff's Methamphetamine Strike Force, Butte County Department of Behavioral Health and a whole host of other public and private community organizations, and with project funding from The California Endowment, all parties came together to create this valuable resource in an effort to clarify pathways for accessing treatment services.
The Resource Guide, targeted to parents, peers, and friends of youth with substance abuse conditions, includes complete listings of community support groups, agencies, and individual service providers in and outside of the County. In addition, the Guide contains analytic information, including how and why drug use starts, the four basic stages drug use, questions to consider when choosing treatment, and what to expect at one's first appointment. The Resource Guide can be viewed at 2stopmeth.org.
It's for the Children
With its proven program evaluation track record, Gary Bess Associates won a competitive bid from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to perform a comprehensive evaluation of the workloads and caseloads of eligibility worker and eligibility supervisors within the Department, which serves 66,000 children and their families. The GBA evaluation team, assisted by Dr. Kathy Cox, an LCSW who for 25 years has taught courses in social work assessment and program evaluation, are in the midst of taking the project from the evaluation design and data collection phase to the recommendation phase, which will be useful in establishing appropriate metrics. GBA is also bridging the interests of Department management and the Service Employees International Union Local 721, both of which stand to achieve positive changes as a result of the assessment and evaluation.
Teddy and Bear—and Scooch
We’ve added another member to our GBA Kennel Club—Scooch! Old friends of GBA know that our two canine colleagues, Teddy and Bear, were left in our driveway during the holiday season and became a part of the team at our new offices.
Little Scooch was brought into the family by Jayne and she creates some lively interaction with the older dogs. When they decide to play, all work must momentarily stop. Teddy and Bear are teaching Scooch some of their favorite tricks—like nudging our hands off the keyboard when it’s time to go home at the end of the day. We wonder if Gary taught them that as a way of avoiding paying overtime.
We’re happy to add Scooch to the GBA team because she adds a touch of the feminine to the gentleman’s club (the bitch) and she brings out the puppy in all of us.
GBA Presents at National Conferences
GBA presented “An Comparison of Primary Care Providers and Behavioralists Perceptions of Integration” at the at the American Public Health Association Annual Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
GBA presented “An Outcome Study of Seven Primary Care Clinics Providing Integrated Behavioral Health Care” at the Collaborative Family Health Care Association Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado.
GBA presented “A Study of Integration Between Mental Health and Primary Care in Community Clinics and Health Centers” at the American Public Health Association Annual Conference in San Diego, California.
GBA presented “Preliminary Findings from Statewide Assessment of Integrative Behavioral Health in Primary Care Settings” at the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association Annual Conference in Asheville, North Carolina.
GBA presented “Program Evaluation: Don’t Begin a Program Without It” at the Annual Institute of the National Network of Social Work Managers in Chicago, Illinois.
GBA Does Meth
With a grant from The California Endowment, the Butte County Public Health Department engaged GBA to conduct a community-wide needs assessment in collaboration with the Butte County Methamphetamine Strike Force (BCMSF), multiple public and private organizations, and leaders and stakeholders. In the Pacific Region of the U.S., which includes Butte County, 94.3 percent of law enforcement officials identified methamphetamine as the greatest drug-related threat in their jurisdictions (National Drug Intelligence Center). Multiple sources were used to understand methamphetamine problem. A combination of primary and secondary data were acquired across a wide spectrum of community interests. Strong response rates in several instances produced robust data sets for analysis. GBA presented findings to the BCMSF and helped to craft the more than 50 recommendations that are contained in the plan. Click here to read the Communities Mobilizing Against Methamphetamine Addiction Prevention Plan
GBA Assists with Economic Stimulus
Gary Bess Associates helped several of its clients acquire an infusion of economic stimulus funding. Working within short deadlines put out by the Obama administration through its ambitious American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expedite economic growth, GBA helped procure more than $7 million in economic stimulus funding in February for several clients under the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Increased Demand for Services initiative.
GBA Facilitates CSULA Retreat
Gary and Susan facilitated a retreat for the faculty of the College of Health and Human Services at California State University, Los Angeles. The goal of the retreat was to help the faculty, which included members of the Departments of Nursing, Social Work, Criminal Justice, and Communication Disorders among others, to revise their strategic plan for the coming five years.
Jim and Melody conducted a pre-retreat survey of faculty attitudes and prepared a presentation of the results, which served as a provocative starting point for the retreat. Dr. Bea Yorker, Dean of the College, presided over the proceedings, which resulted in stimulating discussion and debate as well as creative envisioning by the faculty.
With the feedback from the retreat in hand, Gary and Susan redrafted the strategic plan and will facilitate a process of collaborative revision, by means of a blog and other technological wizardry, among all interested HHS faculty over the coming months.
GBA visits Community Health Centers
Gary, Jim, and Melody as part of a Tides Center Initiative on Integrated Behavioral Health completed site visits to thirteen community health centers throughout California.
Gary Bess Associates moved from its little office on Wayland Road in Paradise to a larger space on Elliott Road, closer to downtown and a little farther away from the Bess family farm. The most attractive feature of the new office is its space—everyone has a little more elbow room and there’s a full kitchen to accommodate everyone’s mealtime needs as well as a big table for meetings.
However, within a year GBA’s staff had another growth spurt. Coincidentally, the house next door to the Elliott Road office was up for sale and had been on the market for a while, so Gary gamely decided GBA needed a compound and put in an offer.
Within a few months, the house was renovated to meet our needs, painted to match our other office, and readied for the evaluation team to move in. We created a parking lot between the two offices and suddenly, GBA had a compound! It amazed us all to look out and see all our cars parked together between the two offices, realizing that just a few short years ago, GBA was just Gary and Jim.
With our logo on the sign outside and our five grant writers, three-person evaluation team, office manager, intern and between two and five dogs, GBA is a growing enterprise, ready to serve!
Teddy and Bear
Longtime friends of Gary Bess Associates will recall that our two “puppies,” Teddy and Bear, were adopted by GBA after being left in our driveway at the end of Hanukkah, just before Christmas. After a vain attempt to find their owners and a short period of begging by the staff, Gary decided to keep the pups, who moved with us to our new offices and have been our daily companions ever since.
The news is the puppies have grown! Who would have guessed that those cute little furballs would turn into the mighty beasts that now wander through out the workday, alternately campaigning for treats, napping, and rough-housing with each other, giving us all a break from our work to laugh at them?
There’s no secret about who they hold the most affection for; Gary still picks them up and holds them in his lap, even though the are nearly as big as he is—and they love it. But everyone at GBA gets the benefit of their sloppy kisses and gentle nudges. And they seem to know exactly when it’s time every day for everyone to stop typing and come away from the computer to play.
It’s not too much to say that GBA wouldn’t be as friendly a place as it is without Teddy and Bear. Just ask the FedEx guy.