Agency Collaboration – Everybody Wins!

Jun 06, 2013 by Todd Archbold, LSW, MBA

By: Todd Archbold and Peter Nystrom

During the last several years, both PrairieCare and Nystrom & Associates, Ltd. have grown considerably as behavioral healthcare and psychiatric service providers. Both agencies offer specialized services for all ages and deliver them in an individualized and innovative way. Just as there are ranges of medical care providers for physical ailments such as: Family Practice, Internal Medicine, ENT, Podiatrists, and others – the same range of care providers exist for mental health: Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Family Therapists, Skills Workers, Chemical Dependency Counselors, and more. The specialization of services allows each care provider to focus on their passion and strengths which allow for more individualization. However, this approach necessarily relies heavily on communication and collaboration between providers.

Sometime during 2012 a meeting took place between PrairieCare and Nystrom & Associates, Ltd. which jolted the idea for a simple yet profound formalized relationship. Nystrom & Associates, Ltd. has one of the state’s most impressive offerings of services for individuals and families in the outpatient setting. Clients can access multiple levels of outpatient care between specialists to get most mental health needs met while avoiding crisis. PrairieCare is designed to meet acute care psychiatric needs including assessment and stabilization, but does not have the infrastructure to support long-term care delivery. Both agencies deliver their respective services with glowing expertise, but rely on one another for complementary care. PrairieCare has passed legislation to build a hospital and built a regionally recognized network of child psychiatrists to practice in a Joint Commission accredited setting. Nystrom & Associates, Ltd. has achieved DHS and CTSS certifications necessary for providing services. Both endeavors were achieved through utilizing exhaustive resources and expertise, and met with applause. Although those accreditations and certifications are not mutually exclusive of one another – they are difficult to achieve simultaneously within organizations of our scale while maintaining the highest standards of care in both.

An arrangement was made in early 2013 that allow patients to seamlessly move between agencies for necessary care. This provides a safety net for clients of Nystrom & Associates, Ltd. who may need urgent acute care or find themselves in crisis. This also provides continuity of care for patients being discharged from PrairieCare’s intensive care settings to outpatient with Nystrom & Associates, Ltd. without a gap in services. This is achieved through customized procedures created by both agencies, and use of technology such as televideo equipment. The ‘special sauce’ to making this work well, is the alliance of organization missions, and mutual respect for expertise.

Both PrairieCare and Nystrom & Associates, Ltd. have plans for continued growth, and will undoubtedly thrive from one another and improve the overall care delivery of both organizations. The hope is that this collaborative model will be contagious and serve as an inspiration in the community for both clients, families and other agencies alike.

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