News For and About CAHS Employees
April 2015
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Developing at CAHS
SPECIAL NOTE: The proposal outlined in this story will be presented for public comment at the CAHS Behavioral Health Collaborative meeting, Monday, April 27, at 1 p.m., at the main branch of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd.

The Baton Rouge region is in crisis mode to re-establish appropriate facilities and approaches to avoid further behavioral health crises due to the closure of Earl K. Long Hospital and the Mental Health Emergency Room Extension (MHERE) two years ago, and the closure last month of the Baton Rouge General Hospital's Emergency Department.
To help find solutions, CAHS Executive Director Dr. Jan Kasofsky was asked by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF) to establish and chair a Clinical Design Committee (
see members here) and to facilitate discussions among experts, including the coroner, law enforcement leaders, advocates, mental health lawyers, developmental disability experts, psychiatrists, emergency department and other physicians.

Other CAHS staff on the committee include Aniedi Udofa, MD, Scott Meche, PhD, and Certified Peer Tonja Myles. The meetings and discussions began Feb. 24 and ended in March. The committee's proposal will be presented for public comment on April 27 at the CAHS Behavioral Health Collaborative meeting (see meeting details above).

"Our main goal is to avoid the use of the EBR Parish Prison as the de facto residential care and acute unit for people in a behavioral health crisis. The committee will present a more appropriate, humane, and cost effective approach for all people and families in need," said Dr. Kasofsky.

Dr. Kasofsky said the work of the Design Committee was based on the needs of citizens, the data collected from the successful MHERE, and the best proven models deemed most appropriate and acceptable to citizens, governmental and non-governmental partners. She said the focus of the proposal is a facility for the core stabilization services, and the committee also prioritized linkages to existing and potential crucial services that are known to support recovery, stability and empowerment.  Click here to see Dr. Kasofsky's recent presentation to the EBR Metro Council.
Coming Up at CAHS
Click here for info and to register

May 21
"Taking the Fear Out of Working
With the Suicidal Patient"

Presenter: Dr. William M. Schmitz, Jr.

CAHS' 12th Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Institute for law enforcement agencies in the greater Baton Rouge area will be held April 13-17 at the Government St. campus, Building 2.

The Institute was developed by CAHS specifically for its seven-parish region and is seen as an essential step in helping law enforcement better deal with persons with behavioral health needs.

Graduates of the program say they have used the skills they learned in the CIT training to deescalate crisis situations and more effectively respond to the needs of the mentally ill. The 40-hour, POST-approved Institute is offered free of charge and is based on Atlanta and Memphis models to help law enforcement agents better relate to and help people who experience mental health crises. Participants can earn college credit through Northwestern State University upon completion of the program.
What's Happening At CAHS
Based on the recent TIC survey results, an identified priority is to provide informational material to consumers and caregivers on the topic of trauma (e.g. What is trauma? How does it impact people? What are available resources?). An infographic on trauma will be printed and distributed in the clinic areas during the month of April.  Please review the information at your staff meetings and refer clients and caregivers to their doctor or clinician for further information. Infographic here.
85% of Financial Goal Met for the Period
July 2014 through February 2015
According to Director of Business Operations Karla Muzik, February was a very productive month at CAHS. During that time, our employees helped 3,089 clients and rendered 6,887 billable services, which was an increase of 12% in services over January 2015. Through your hard work, we achieved 85% of our financial goal for the first eight months of Fiscal Year 2015. Congratulations and thank you!

Dr. Kasofsky recently announced that Stephen Aguillard has been added to the CAHS Executive Management Team in the position of Clinical Services Director.

Steve has 25 years of government service, and in his most current role as CAHS Facility Manager, he has served the clients and staff well.  Steve will be focused initially on preparing for the November CARF accreditation survey and will work with the EMT on identifying needed evidence-based practices and staff certifications that will be required by provider networks.

Also, Steve will be responsible for helping the agency prepare for “Pay for Performance," meeting established outcomes for reimbursement under the Affordable Care Law, and "Meaningful Use." In addition, Steve will work closely with Lynetta Butler and Dr. Aniedi Udofa to develop sustainable approaches for our physical health integration as the Total Health Program’s grant funding ends in August.

Congratulations to Karla Muzik who has been named by Dr. Kasofsky as CAHS' Director of Business Operations.

Karla will play a larger role on the business side with CAHS' expansion into new programs such as our new autism service (ASCEND), private OB and pediatric offices, and our ongoing school-based therapy expansion.

Dr. Kasofsky noted that Karla will assume oversight of the CAHS pharmacy contract. Also, the CAHS Billing Unit and the Credentialing and Financial Assessment Unit (Social Services Analysts at CABH) will report directly to Karla to create seamless coordination of financial eligibility determination, fee setting, insurance verification, credentialing, and third-party billing.

A room full of citizens, community leaders, elected officials, parents, educators, service providers and health professionals attended CAHS' March 10 public hearing and provided their input about how the agency can better serve the community in the areas of substance use and abuse. See the opening presentation, featuring CAHS offices, here.

Dr. Kasofsky and CAHS Prevention Division Director Vivian Gettys, RN, MPH, presented information about CAHS' annual progress and initiatives in the areas of substance use and abuse. See their presentation here.

The agenda also included a facilitated discussion by Certified Peer Tonja Myles and a presentation about behavioral health and integrated care in Louisiana by Rochelle Head-Dunham, MD, Assistant Secretary of the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health. The public hearing is required annually as part of CAHS' block grant. Read the report from the hearing.

As part of the Drug Free Communities project, the West Baton Rouge Parish Coalition is planning an "Alcohol Awareness Month Walk" on April 25 at Alexander Park in Brusly. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the walk follows, 9-11 a.m.

To help support the Coalition's efforts, WBR Parish President Riley Berthelot and the Council proclaimed April as "Alcohol Awareness Month" (official proclamation). Toddie Milstead, CAHS Drug Free Communities Project Coordinator, worked with the Council on the proclamation, and Vivian Gettys of CAHS attended the Council meeting in support of the Coalition. In addition, CAHS Board Chairman Gary Spillman has been very supportive of the Coaltion and DFC project.

Pictured above at the WBR Council meeting are (front l-r) Toddie Milstead, CAHS Drug Free Communities Project Coordinator; Riley Berthelot, WBR Parish President; Beth Vandersteen, Director of the WBR Parish Library and WBR Healthy Community Coalition Member; and Charity Winfield, student at Port Allen High School and WBR Coalition Member; (back l-r) Vivian Gettys, CAHS Prevention Division Director and DFC Project Director; Kathy Stuart, Executive Director of the WBR Chamber of Commerce; Wes Watts, WBR Parish School Superintendent; Gary Spillman, WBR Parish Council Chairman and CAHS Board Chairman; and Mary Winfield, RN, WBR Parish Health Unit and WBR Coalition Member.

After months of hard work and a detailed application to the state Department of Health Hospitals, CAHS and several of its locations have earned the WellSpot Level 2 designations. Special thanks to RN Program Coordinator Lynetta Butler of CAHS who led the effort.

A WellSpot is a place, space or organization in Louisiana that has implemented voluntary, smart changes to make healthier living easier for Louisiana citizens. The following received their official Level 2 designations March 5 from DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert (click below for details):
Level 2 WellSpot designations recognize agencies for 1) establishing and promoting a tobacco-free environment, 2) promoting the "5-2-1-0" nutrition program that recommends daily amounts of fruits and vegetables, recreation and physical activity and the elimination of sodas or sweetened beverages, 3) adopting and promoting wellness programs at CAHS, and 4) accommodating breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

John Nosacka, LCSW, gave two presentations at the Louisiana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers conference in Baton Rouge, March 18-20. Click on the titles to see John’s presentations, "Motivational Interviewing for Social Workers" and "Our Core Values.” The interactive presentations were designed to help social workers learn to apply motivational interviewing skills in their practice and to examine their core values, determining how they can be nurtured in themselves and their agencies. 

Clinical Services Director Stephen Aguillard, LCSW-BACS, represented CAHS on a panel March 19 with EBR Parish Coroner William "Beau" Clark, MD, Rev. Raymond Jetson of the the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and April Foreman, PhD, of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The group addressed the Leaders With Vision forum about various issues related to the increased mentally ill population in the prison system, underfunding, lack of community awareness, and the need for a stabilization unit for behavioral health. Advocate article here.

Certified Peer Tonja Myles represented CAHS in a panel discussion on March 21 at the Mental Health Symposium, sponsored by Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. Tonja presented details about CAHS' services and leadership in the area of mental health and her work in the prisons. She also fielded several questions about a possible mental health "stabilization center" that has been in the news recently (see this issue's top story).
Pictured right: Shevella Powell, Community Health Facilitator Supervisor of the "Community Health Connections" program in Pointe Coupee Parish, counsels a client about healthy foods.

CAHS' collaboration with Pointe Coupee Hospital in New Roads continues to help families find and use local health resources, increase their knowledge about developing healthier lifestyles, and manage chronic health conditions. 

In 2014, community health workers completed 1,240 visits and made 415 referrals for resources such as dental services, transportation, housing, nutritionist, primary care, and mental health assistance. The program, which began in 2012, also helps integrate primary and behavioral health. 

As a result of a CHW-facilitated Diabetes Self-Management Workshop, participants were motivated to form self-directed groups that continue to meet twice a month to share experiences, educate, support in each other’s action planning, identify resources, promote healthy living behaviors, and recruit additional community members.
Top left:  Community Health Worker Deanderia Gremillion takes the blood pressure of a client in the Community Health Connections program in Pointe Coupee Parish.  Top right: Community Health Facilitator Alfreda Williams shares information with a client about ways to prevent high blood pressure.

CAHS and Issues in the News

Who's Who at CAHS

Welcome to Carol Douglas, RN, who joined CAHS in March
as Total Health Program RN Supervisor.

We Would Like to Hear From You!
CAHS Connections is your newsletter, about and for the employees and activities of Capital Area Human Services. The employees listed here serve on the newsletter's Editorial Board and would like to hear from you. Just click on their names to send an email with your story ideas: Karen Bray, Rafael Maza, Lynetta Butler, Richard Brown, Jr., Michael Brown, Carol Everhart, Linda Melancon, Betty Mims, Shenitha Smith, and Gabrielle Brown.
Our Mission
To facilitate person-centered recovery by empowering people of all ages with behavioral health needs and developmental disability challenges to strengthen relationships, establish independence, and enhance their ability to improve their physical health and emotional well-being.
Our Vision
Our network provides local access to best practices that respond to the unique needs of individuals living in the District's communities.

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