New Mental Health Urgent Care Center Opens: LifeWorks NW to provide care

After two years of planning, the Hawthorn Walk-in Center for Mental Health and Addictions Care opened Tuesday, May 23. Located at 5240 NE Elam Young Parkway, Suite 100, in Hillsboro, this is Washington County’s first mental health urgent care center. Project leaders, elected officials and community partners celebrated with a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony this morning.

“When you consider how much had to be done and how many organizations and perspectives were engaged, this project moved at an amazing pace,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Andy Duyck in his remarks. “This is a proud day for Washington County.”

The Hawthorn Walk-in Center is open every day from 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. and is located just steps from the Hawthorn Farm MAX stop. Both walk-ins and appointments are available. It’s a place for people who need help for themselves or for a loved one but do not require hospital-based help. Services include assessment, crisis counseling, mental health education, and connection to treatment providers and other social services for ongoing care.

“The center was thoughtfully designed to be a safe and welcoming place for people of all ages,” says Kristin Burke, division manager for Washington County Human Services. “The comfort of the lobby and waiting area, two doors in each treatment room, open and collaborative staff areas, the art and paint colors on the walls…All of these choices were very deliberate.”

As with the rest of the County’s mental health crisis services, Washington County is contracting with LifeWorks Northwest to provide staffing and services at Hawthorn. Staff include master’s level clinicians, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, service coordinators and trained peer support specialists who have lived experience with mental health challenges and addictions. Spanish-speaking staff are available, and interpretation can be arranged for other languages.

All County mental health crisis services will operate out of this location. “By having all of our crisis services under one roof, we are able to provide more comprehensive and efficient care to a person in need,” says Kris Puttler-Miller, program director at LifeWorks NW, a longstanding organization that provides a full range of mental health, addiction and prevention services for children and adults — from infants to seniors —across the Portland metro area.

Services at the Hawthorn Walk-in Center are provided at no cost, although insurance may be billed. Nobody is turned away due to insurance status or inability to pay.

Washington County Human Services staff and programs including mental health, developmental disabilities and addictions recently moved into adjoining space in the building. Neighboring organizations in the complex include Oregon Department of Human Services and Washington County Disability, Aging and Veteran Services. There will also be shared space available at Hawthorn for other nonprofits to provide services onsite. “This makes connecting people to services even more seamless,” says Burke.

For more information, go to The 24/7 Washington County Crisis Line is 503-291-9111.

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LifeWorks NW Featured in Mental Health Weekly.

LifeWorks NW holds a strong commitment to values of diversity and inclusion both in the workplace and in our community. Read an article in May 8 edition of Mental Health Weekly, featuring an interview with our Director of Diversity and Workforce Development, Diane Benavides Wille. [Note: the reporter erroneously referred to LifeWorks NW as an "Ohio-based" nonprofit.]

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FY 2015-16 Annual Report

FY2015-16 Annual-Report

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Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics to Launch at LifeWorks NW

Learn more here, about LifeWorks NW’s selection to participate in the two-year federal demonstration project for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.

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CCBHC Place of Residence Policy

Purpose: In compliance with the requirements for implementation of a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC), the policy outlines our approach to offering clients services regardless of place of residence.

Policy: It is the policy of LifeWorks NW CCBHC Beaverton, Hillsboro-Walnut, King and Gresham sites to ensure that no individual, including veterans or other military personnel, are denied behavioral health care services, including but not limited to crisis management services due to place or residence, homelessness or lack of a permanent address.

Procedure: LifeWorks NW CCBHC will provide at a minimum, crisis response, evaluation and stabilization services regardless of place of residence. No client will be refused service because of place of residence. If it is determined that a client who doesn’t live with the catchment area of LifeWorks NW CCBHC needs on-going treatment, LifeWorks NW CCBHC will work with the client to find another CCBHC or other feasible provider in their county of residence to ensure the client will have their ongoing treatment needs met.

LifeWorks NW CCBHC has staff designated to help clients access resources. Listed below are the various tools in place to ensure that clients needing ongoing treatment, but not residing in the LifeWorks NW CCBHC catchment area, will have their ongoing treatment needs met:

  1. Client Help Desk: Each LifeWorks NW CCBHC has a Help Desk located in the lobby, with information about housing, transportation, employment, Oregon Health Plan enrollment, CCBHC providers in Oregon, non-CCBHC Medicaid providers throughout the Portland metro area, crisis numbers, lists of hospitals, FQHC providers, food banks and so on.
  2. Navigators and peer support specialists are available to make phone calls, set up appointments, arrange for transportation, distribute bus passes, etc.

Treatment staff are required to have a safety plan, assessment and a basic treatment plan by the end of the first service and will come up with a plan for immediate and ongoing treatment as necessary. No client will be refused service because of place of residence.

If it is determined that the client doesn’t reside in a LifeWorks NW CCBHC catchment area, LifeWorks NW CCBHC will work with the client to refer, connect and follow-up to ensure the client receives ongoing services with another CCBH.

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CCBHC Sliding Fee Scale Policy

Effective April 1, 2017

Purpose: In compliance with the requirements for implementation of a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, the policy outlines our approach to offering clients fees on a sliding scale.

Policy: It is the policy of LifeWorks NW CCBHC Beaverton, Hillsboro-Walnut, King and Gresham sites to provide appropriate care to all those who need care. No individuals will be denied behavioral health care services (mental health and addiction), including but not limited to crisis management services, because of an inability to pay for such services. The staff of LifeWorks NW CCBHC will work with clients to ascertain the most fiscally viable means of supporting their care.  Fees will be determined based upon family size and number of persons in the household.

LifeWorks NW CCBHC is committed to the principle that clients should know the cost of services they are requesting and the out-of-pocket expense that will be expected of them PRIOR TO THE DELIVERY OF THOSE SERVICES. Other than in crisis situation, it is the intent of LifeWorks NW CCBHC to, as best possible, determine the per-session, out-of-pocket expense for each client.

Other than in crisis situations, all clients will be provided a financial responsibility form (FRF) prior to start of their first session. The FRF will include a rate sheet with specifics indicating the per-session cost based on the clients financial eligibility. Clients will be assisted to complete the form.

OREGON HEALTH PLAN (OHP) CLIENTS:  Clients who are eligible for OHP are fully covered at no cost to the individual unless their OHP plan requires a co-pay.

SLIDING FEE: Clients who are uninsured or underinsured have access to a sliding fee discount schedule (SFS). This schedule will also be posted in all LifeWorks NW CCBHC waiting rooms. Language regarding the sliding fee schedule shall be communicated in languages/formats appropriate for individuals seeking services who may have language barriers or disabilities. The sliding fee schedule will be based on Portland metro area prevailing rates (usual and customary), and include reasonable administration fees.

The SFS is intended to minimize financial barriers to care for clients at or below 250 percent of the current Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG). Fees are based upon family income and the number of people in the household. Based upon where they fall on the SFS, clients will be responsible for a set percentage of the usual and customary rate established by the LifeWorks NW CCBHC. The usual and customary rate is set based on the LifeWorks NW CCBHC cost studies. Fees required by the CCBHC clinics may be reduced or waived if it is determined that there is an inability to pay.

LifeWorks NW CCBHC requires payment at time of service. If a client is unable to pay at time of service, then the client will be billed and attempts will be made to collect. LifeWorks NW CCBHC staff will work with clients in arrears and attempts will be made to help them meet their obligations. Good faith effort on the part of the clients will be honored. No interest is charged on accounts in arrears. Clients who are behind in payments or refuse to pay shall be addressed by their clinician and/or fiscal manager.

DETERMINING ELIGIBIITY:  LifeWorks NW CCBHC staff will assist clients in determining whether they are eligible for sliding fee discounts. In an effort to reduce barriers to care, staff will ensure that the eligibility determination process is conducted in an efficient, respectful, and culturally appropriate manner. Client privacy and confidentiality will be protected throughout the process.

The following documents will be accepted for determining sliding fee eligibility:

  • Income tax returns
  • Two most recent pay stubs
  • Signed letter(s) from employers documenting earnings
  • Documentation of disability payments or unemployment benefits

While scheduling their first appointment, clients will be asked for information to help determine their eligibility for SFS. If eligible, they will be asked to bring accepted documentation to their first session. We will assist SFS clients in applying for OHP and other supports, if available. LifeWorks NW CCBHC adheres to state and federal rules regarding pursuit of third party, Medicaid and Medicare payments.

SFS eligibility will be reviewed at least annually, or if client circumstances change.

WAIVING FEES: No individuals will be denied behavioral health care services including but not limited to: crisis management services or an inability to pay for such services. The CCBHC Practice Manager has authority to waive or lower the cost of services, if warranted.

UNINSURED OR UNDER-INSURED: The SFS may serve clients with third party insurance when that insurance does not cover or only partially covers fees for services. These clients must also be eligible for the SFS based on income and family size. In such cases, the client will be responsible for the lesser of their insurance copay/deductible or their assigned their SFS fee amount.

PRIVATE INSURANCE:  If the client with insurance meets eligibility for SFS, reduced fees may be available using the SFS. LWNW CCBHC will document all co-pays and deductibles, as well as any need for prior authorization, and ensure that the client understands what their responsibility might be.

PRIVATE PAY:  Clients who are not on OHP or who do not have insurance coverage are considered to be “Private Pay.” If they are not eligible for the SFS program, they will be required to pay the full fee based upon the established usual and customary rates. If the client feels there are mitigating circumstances they may appeal this rate and ask for a reduced rate. There are no guarantees that further accommodations will be made.

OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES:  Situations where fees are determined by other agencies will be dealt with on a case by case basis (ex. Federal Parole & Probation) may require a co-pay).

FEE COLLECTION:  LWNW CCBHC commits itself to:

  • Being clear about the client’s responsibility.
  • Billing clients in a timely manner so they understand their account balance.
  • Responding in a timely manner to clients who are falling behind.
  • Collecting payments at time of service as much as possible.  However, clients will not be denied service if they are unable to pay at time of service.

Clinical staff will be aware of issues related to payment and be involved at a significant level in the resolution of the issue.

If a client becomes significantly in arrears due to failure to pay and fails to show a
“good faith” effort to resolve the situation, the account may be released to collections.
In some cases, accounts may be written off as uncollectable and will be deemed “charity” care.

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Don’t Miss Our 2017 Something to Talk About Breakfast!

Come to our 2017 Something to Talk About Breakfast

Join us for our annual complimentary breakfast and let’s raise our voices in support of the 21,000 people we serve – and all those still in need — to help them rediscover hope.

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Celebrate Kwanzaa with LifeWorks NW

JAMBO!* LifeWorks NW’s REAL Program (Recovery, Empowerment, Achievement in Life), a culturally-responsive, community-based program for adolescents, has selected NIA, the fifth principle and day of Kwanzaa, to renew our purpose of service in our community. Kwanzaa’s seven principles, the “Nguzo Saba,” are an integral part of the REAL program’s curriculum and service delivery. Members of the general public are invited to celebrate with us.

What: A free event featuring speakers, music, soul food, and the opportunity to meet the REAL staff while celebrating the principles of Kwanzaa among a caring community of people. The event will feature a short program with presentations by:
• Joyce Harris, Mother Kwanzaa
• Michael Chappie Grice, spoken word historian and educator
• Jazz music by Yugen Rashad with Dialog & Friends
Plus, a savory, African American traditional and favorite soul food dish: Gumbo!

When: Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 — 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Where: LifeWorks NW’s Umoja Center, 4941 NE 17th St., Portland, OR 97211

Who: Adults and children are invited to attend the FREE community event, open to all.

*Jambo is the Swahili greeting of hello.

About Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa, the seven day, African American holiday, begins on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 and ends on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017.  Founded by Maulana Karenga, the week-long celebration embraces the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, known as the “Nguzo Saba:”

  1. Umoja – Unity
  2. Kujichagulia – Self Determination
  3. Ujima – Collective Work and Responsibility
  4. Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics
  5. Nia – Purpose
  6. Kuumba – Creativity
  7. Imani — Faith
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Portland’s Premier Restaurants and Chefs to Appear at Event for Children’s Relief Nurseries

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From Lost to Found — Justina’s Journey of Discovery

You’re 22 and you’re lost, scared and depressed. Even in your young life, so much trauma has happened that you suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Each breath gets harder. Anxiety is your shadow. The blanket of despair is heavy. You wonder, what’s the best way out?

For Justina, that path toward better possibilities began when she was referred by another agency and accepted into LifeWorks NW’s Transition Age Youth (TAY) program. TAY is a program designed for older adolescents and young adults who are moving out of the children’s mental health system and into adult mental health services. It targets individuals with complex needs who may be transitioning out of the state hospital, residential treatment, juvenile correction facilities, intensive outpatient programs or local hospitals. Its goal is to assist individuals to become as independent as possible, while reaching developmental milestones such as independent housing, education, employment and development of social relationships.

Justina recounted the depth of her despair, “I was suicidal when I first applied for the TAY program. I was lost, scared, depressed and PTSD was controlling my life. I never thought I would get or keep a job.”

Over the course of seven months, Justina worked with her LifeWorks NW therapist and case manager to set and accomplish goals and overcome barriers to achieve them. “I slowly discovered myself and built up my confidence and self-esteem,” she said. “I got my GED, moved out of a group home into a more independent setting, and will soon graduate from the substance abuse treatment program. Plus, in Supported Employment I learned about how to get and keep a job, and what to do to be comfortable in interviews. I could not have done any of that without TAY.”

Her Supported Employment specialist offered high praise for Justina’s success. “Although she faced some setbacks as she worked toward her goals, she remained resilient and didn’t give up. She learned to rely on resources like family and the TAY program when she needs help coping with stress and life’s struggles. She makes others feel warmly welcomed and has such a strong initiative and drive toward her goals – she continues on, even in the face of challenges.”

Today, Justina is growing up with confidence in herself and the assurance that she is on the right road now – one that leads toward only the brightest future.

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