Name of Innovative Program:
Reducing Stigma and Improving Behavioral Health Care Services for Clients in the Pottstown Area
Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation
Name of Innovative Program Lead:
Dr. Andrew Trentacoste
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
Creative Health Services (CHS) is the largest community behavioral health provider in the Pottstown Area. When CEO Dr. Andy Trentacoste first took on his role, there was hostility toward people with serious mental illness, often CHS clients, who would frequent downtown Pottstown, as well as toward Creative Health, for “attracting them” to downtown Pottstown.Eight years later, thanks to Dr. Trentacoste’s tireless advocacy and ongoing efforts to provide excellent care in a welcoming setting with the facility he envisioned and realized at 11 Robinson Street, there have been many changes:
- Pottstown has become more accepting of CHS and its clients
- People with Serious Mental Illness receive better service
- It has become easier to develop partnerships in the community
- Dr. Trentacoste’s design of the modern, attractive, and welcoming physical plant is the principal driving force that led to all the subsequent accomplishments.
- There is now an increased willingness for people to access services.
Creativity and Innovation:
Part of Dr. Trentacoste’s vision includes the fact that behavioral health clients are often treated as inferior and unwelcome intruders, served in unattractive and suboptimal settings. Dr. Trentacoste designed the present facility to include art, music, fountains, light, welcoming staff, and a presence that reminds a visitor of checking into a fine hotel or spa. It is a beautiful physical facility. In addition, Dr. Trentacoste’s vision was to design a facility that would serve as a comprehensive community health and wellness center, and was intentionally planned with the co-location of a Community health and dental center in the same building. Patients who visit either organization can receive all of these services under one roof.This forward-thinking plan has led to over 13,000 permanent patients in five years at the FQHC and has increased CHS’s volume significantly. More people in the community are now receiving the care they need.
Dr. Trentacoste’s work has earned him both regional and national recognition. Honored with the “40 Under 40" Award and told that his facility was the ideal model for behavioral health care delivery by national expert visitors, Dr. Trentacoste leads the charge in changing the future of behavioral health care by doing what he does best. When it is important to stand his ground, he does so, always for the benefit of patients. He advocates fiercely for what is right for the patients and prevails.Under Dr. Trentacoste’s leadership, he designed and developed the first integrated primary care program for people with serious mental illness that is being piloted county-wide and is a model that is replicable and unique.Because of his leadership, the atmosphere and attitude of the community are changing, with reduced stigma and great respect.
Because Dr. Trentacoste is not only a psychologist but also holds an MBA, he is a talented businessman who understands the need for continuing the work and keeping it alive. He is a successful grant seeker with a knack for putting together a successful request with the variety, depth, and breadth of the programs he offers that require ongoing funding. Much of his success in sustainability has had to do with his cultivation of relationships with funders, peers, and other innovators.An example of sustainability was a program PAHWF funded for several years to help young victims and witnesses of child abuse with a therapist who employs animals as part of the therapy. Rather than repeatedly ask for funds year after year, Dr. Trentacoste found internal resources to continue the program with his own funds, and five years after the completion of the grant, the program is still ongoing.
An example of replication is the implementation of a childhood obesity and family treatment and disease prevention program. Developed by PAHWF but directed by Dr. Trentacoste because of his psycho-dynamic and program management expertise, this program is completing its first two-year program. Results are above national average and experts from the obesity world stage are lauding its success and innovation. Not only does the program manage to engage and retain children and families at a remarkable 80% rate for two entire years, but in its second cohort of incoming families, the program will be unique in its data collection on both children and adults. There is abundant data on adult obesity and child obesity, but nowhere is anyone collecting data on both together.This program is replicable, scalable, and can be reproduced in any community.
- Service volume increased 50% in two years.
- Consumer satisfaction above 90%.
- Borough provided support letter for long term residential facility.
- Developed a nationally recognized program for SMI patients for improved physical health.
- Houses an FQHC, pharmacy, phlebotomy, and NAMI and UWSNJGP offices. This facility housing both primary care and behavioral health services is forward-thinking and reduces the stigma of receiving mental health services.
- Most effective employment center for mentally ill in MontCo.
- One of the first nationally to incorporate reliable/valid assessment instruments into patient care.
- Sample partnerships:
- Direct a child/family obesity treatment program with YMCA’s and PAHWF
- Partner in a community health council with PAHWF, FQHC, and hospital.
- Innovative support and treatment programs for adjudicated adults
- In 7 years, budget doubled yet operations remain fiscally sound.
- All programs licensed and receive outstanding external reviews.