When Assessment/Intake Drops The Ball

There is nothing more exasperating and frustrating than calling a facility and getting a poorly trained tech or intake intakecoordinator at the other end. Equally annoying is getting no answer at all. It is hard enough for family to make these calls on behalf of their loved ones, but what about when the addict themselves place the call? Can we afford to loose one to the streets to find their drug of choice because they are sick (as in the case of a heroin addict) because the assessment/intake department of a facility drops the ball? No, we cannot.

We all know the precise timing and delicacy that is needed to leverage an addict into treatment, which often starts with detox. There is no room for lack of excellence from the intake folks- this is where it all starts, and if the call is less than successful as far as booking a bed, then we have failed our client.

A ringing phone at a facility with no answer and no voice mail is totally unacceptable, yet this is what a mother looking for a place for her daughter reports happened to her this week. She also tells me about a facility she was working with, that claimed to have a bed, accept her daughter’s insurance, and also provide transportation, and promised her a call back in 5 minutes after insurance verification was complete. This is what the Mom had to say;

“I knew my daughter’s insurance PPO plan was in order, and was well informed on the benefits the policy provided, so I wholly expected the call back and arrangements to be completed with in the hour, but the call never came. I called them back several times over the course of the afternoon, and got a constant ringing, with no answer and no voice mail. It was hard to believe this was happening. Finally I moved on to another facility where I was ultimately able to place my daughter in, but the nightmare experience still lingers on my mind. Knowing the ropes of navigating though the recovery system helped, but this should never happen.”

Bottom line is, facility owners and directors need to monitor and supervise this vital component of the recovery process, and that is, getting the addict into treatment. Assessment/Intake operators need to not only show compassion and supply information, they must start with simply picking up the phone.phone1

August 15, 2015


One response to “When Assessment/Intake Drops The Ball”

  1. Unbelievable. What part of standard operating procedures does this industry not “get”? I have worked in facilities with similar unacceptable practices. Time to self-regulate. I hope this woman reported this facility to the state board.

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