This month Miles Murdaugh, our Director of Extended Care, joins us for an interview about his road to Sovereign Health, how he entered the recovery/mental health care industry as a whole, and details about the extended care program.
- What brought you to Sovereign Health?
I came to Sovereign Health for the opportunities that exist in changing the treatment and aftercare experience for working professionals. As a graduate student I had the opportunity to intern for a large organizations internal employee assistance program, and during this time I became very familiar with a number of treatment programs across the country. I was drawn by Sovereign Health’s ability to offer a variety of specialized treatment options, while still accepting insurance. In many of the other positions I’ve held in behavioral health, I often met a number of challenges placing and keeping patients in quality programs. However at Sovereign Health, there was a vision from the top down for patients who truly wanted to improve, the staff would do everything needed to help them succeed.
- How did you enter the field of recovery/mental health as a whole?
When I graduated from college, my first position was as a temporary inpatient psychiatric social worker. I had worked at a hospital for a number of years holding positions that ranged from snack bar worker to housekeeping aide, however when the position opened in behavioral health, I had the education to meet the requirements. Since then, I’ve gone on to obtain a Master’s in Clinical Counseling Psychology, a Certified Employee Assistance Professional, and hold a number of positions in direct patient oversight such as an emergency room Crisis Intervention Counselor, Employee Assistance Program Intern, EAP Liaison Manager and now Director of Extended Care for Sovereign Health.
- What are some of your goals/ideas to help Sovereign succeed?
As Director of Extended Care, I consistently look to improve care management by not only means of direct oversight but the development of innovative programs as well. I feel communication and education is key, so whether I’m assisting working professionals by liaising with their employers and union representatives or leading a group for all patients on relapse prevention, I’m constantly thinking of efficient ways to disseminate information as well as help those who need it, to retain it.
- Can you tell us a little bit about the extended care programs you’re developing?
Sure, over the course of my employment with Sovereign Health, I’ve been involved in the development of a number of programs. Most recently we’ve shifted our focus onto the development of an Academic Program which we launched at the beginning of March 2013. The program provides a solution to those in recovery who need to finish a High School Diploma or GED as well as an alternative to starting higher education or a career path in drug and alcohol counseling. Students are given additional guidance and support through our emphasis on the value of smaller class sizes, close relationships between students, teachers, tutors, and a sense of community. In addition I’ve been involved in the development of our online aftercare monitoring program known as T.E.A.M. which we are due to launch this year.
- What do you see as the goal and the future of aftercare?
As a behavioral health professional, I’ve found that aftercare should continually increase the probability of continued recovery as well as reduce the risk of relapse. However, many of the current systems of aftercare are cumbersome and difficult for patients to access. Patients in recovery also have to overcome a lot of challenges such as cost, location, transportation, and time in order to find support as well as meet recommendations from a primary program. Given the advancement we’ve seen in technology over the last 10 years and the increasing ability for everyone to access the internet, I predict online services will really start to create an even more efficient and effective means of providing continued observation and support. Whether it’s case management, social connectivity, education, or resources, technology that we have available to use now can not only address the old challenges but also provide structure, communication, and continued support.