Skip to main content

By Sarah C. Threnhauser

Our team has written a lot about how “traditional” service lines of most provider organizations need to be “reinvented” to remain competitive in the future. As my colleague Monica E. Oss discussed in her closing keynote at The 2018 Executive Leadership Retreat (see  Reinventing Health & Human Service Organizations For A Value-Based World: Transformational Leadership Required!) recent mergers, acquisitions, and partnership have “melted” the previously clear lines between traditional stakeholder roles. This has caused the traditional service delivery boundaries of specialty care to shift, and the geographic boundaries of specialty care less relevant (see The ‘Melting’ Value Chain).

But launching new service lines in health and human service provider organizations is not an easy task for many reasons. Market intelligence and market research must be available to identify the “best” new service line for development, as is a structured process to develop and launch a new service line, as is service line development talent, as is financial resources for new service lines, and marketing of new service lines. The list could go on and on.

Karen O. Yarberry, MA, LPC, the Executive Director at Jefferson Hills presenting at the 2018 OPEN MINDS Children’s Services Executive Summit

So, it was great to hear a service line success story at the 2018 OPEN MINDS Children’s Services Executive Summit. In her presentation, Meeting The Challenge Of New Service Lines, Karen O. Yarberry, MA, LPC, the Executive Director at Jefferson Hills brought the issues to life. She discussed the development of two new programs at Jefferson Hills – New Vistas and the Jefferson Hills Academy. The development of both of these programs started with identifying community needs and payer market research; Jefferson Hills then developed solutions to meet those needs.

Jefferson Hills Academy is a facility school that provides day treatment programming. This program started as a single day treatment program in 2011 and expanded to include day treatment for students with autism who were home schooled and/or just moved into the school district. Working with Jefferson County Public Schools as well as a couple school districts, Jefferson Hills now operates 3-5 classrooms with 20 students  year-round education, academic testing, social skills training, and transition planning for successful re-entry to public school.

New Vistas is a crisis stabilization/hospital alternative program under a residential license. This program is a collaboration with five of Colorado’s behavioral health organizations and community mental health centers, and provides crisis stabilization for children and youth, ages 5-18. New Vistas opened with 4 children and grew to 27 between 2011-2015, and now has treated 7,000 children/youth.

Ms. Yarberry’s challenge? Behavioral health organizations in Colorado needed to decrease inpatient usage, cost, and wanted a better relationship with their inpatient provider to meet common goals.  The school district had numerous families, some new to the district, wanting education for children with autism, and were making legal threats to get it.  Jefferson Hills had an empty  hospital building, classroom space, and a Director of Special Education. This allowed them to form  partnerships with the behavioral health organizations and the school district to address the community and referral source needs.

The lessons I took away from her session all pointed to the need for more agility. She offered five key pieces of advice for executives of provider organizations that are looking to develop new services:

  1. Ask what other organizations need and then listen to the answer
  2. Look for common goals among other organizations and payers-future success is built on finding common goals
  3. Be prepared to change-one leader’s commitment isn’t the next leader commitment, so your organization will need to be flexible and may need to move out of the comfort zone to make progress
  4. Focus on relationship building-partnerships need constant tending to survive and flourish
  5. Anticipate new business opportunities and expand to new payers to support them if necessary

Ms. Yarberry explained how she has applied these key points in expanding the services at Jefferson Hills:

Agility is our strength. Agencies need to be open to taking advantage of opportunities, data, and partners to capitalize on new business opportunities that may be out of their comfort zone.

Everyone was doing community-based care, and we kept trying to come up with that too, but that’s not who we were. We asked the school district what they needed. They said they had families with kids with autism, and I at first said no. I didn’t want to get caught not knowing what I was doing. That’s a risk, starting a program with no expertise in the area. But I got talked into it, and the school district partnered with us very well, and we brought in the experts. Autism at Jefferson Hills was not our expertise, but with partners, we made it our expertise.

In the end, Jefferson Hills partnered with their local school district with the goals of offering behavioral health expertise, decreasing growing student legal action, and improving successful transfers of autistic children back to the public school. Plans at Jefferson Hills? Ms. Yarberry noted that provider organizations need to always be ready to show their work, and to do this Jefferson Hills is expanding to private insurance in all programs and anticipating new business opportunities with Families First for outpatient services and follow-up care.

For more on service line planning, check out these resources from the OPEN MINDS Industry Library:

  1. New Service Line Development: The OPEN MINDS Step-By-Step Approach To Developing Innovative Programs
  2. Do Something Different, “Differently” – A Specialist Provider Organization Guide To Building A New Strategy For Service Line Sustainability
  3. Diversifying Your Revenue Streams: How To Successfully Launch A New Service Line
  4. Cutting Edge Telepsychiatry: Sustainable Program Models In Practice
  5. Designing & Implementing Innovative Treatment Programs: An OPEN MINDS Executive Summit & Showcase
  6. Considering Cash-& Consumerism-In Service Line Planning
  7. Diversification & New Service Line Development
  8. New Service Line Development In Four Slides
  9. A Structured Process for New Service Line Development
  10. New Service Line Development From A To Z: Tips, Tricks, & Advice

For more on the issues for children with complex needs, mark your calendars for October 28, 2019 in Philadelphia for The 2019 OPEN MINDS Children’s Services Leadership Summit. Our new summit agenda and faculty will be posted soon. For more on last year’s summit, check out The Five Key Drivers Of Change In The Children’s Service Market, Meeting The Challenge Of New Service Lines, and Value/Performance Based Contracting: Meeting The Dual Requirements Of Expected Outcomes & Cost Effectiveness.

Login to access The OPEN MINDS Circle Library. Not a member? Create your free account now!


Support Request

Need help now?

Call our toll-free phone number 877-350-6463