Data shows increases in the demand for mental health services since the pandemic ranging from 5-17% in Indiana. The nine Indiana counties served by Valley Oaks Health (VOH) have not been immune to this, nor have they been immune to the post-pandemic workforce shortages seen across the state and country.
In response to these trends, VOH has re-engineered the two most critical points in which people interact with the agency. First, in January of 2023, in response to a growing waitlist, they proactively rolled out a same-day access model in which people can walk in during designated hours and receive an initial screening, assessment, and linkage to ongoing care. Second, they redesigned their recruiting efforts to focus on hiring and supporting mission-minded people who demonstrate competency and compassion for the critical work they do.
The most important thing we can do for the communities we serve is to be available when they need us the most. The transition to a same-day access model was a significant change in the way we interact with new patients” said Morgan Gilbert, Chief Operating Officer. “I’m very proud of the VOH staff and their excitement to provide a better response for those in need.”
The community response has been remarkable. In the first 3 months, VOH has provided same-day access to 755 new Tippecanoe County residents, a nearly 223% increase over the previous quarter. Expanding access to care requires expanding the pool of well-trained staff to provide ongoing care. To better meet the need, VOH has invested in a more user-friendly approach to hiring in which applicants get personal attention, placement, and post-hire support to provide the best onboarding and career launch experience possible.
We just weren’t willing to sacrifice the quality of people we hire, so instead, we’ve invested in developing better relationships with applicants so we can place them in a role which best ensures their success and long-term happiness.” The diversity of work they do allows people to gain experience in a variety of different settings. “We’ve stopped recruiting to simply fill jobs and started recruiting to launch careers,” said Angie Gibson, Chief Human Resources Officer.
Since rebuilding its hiring process in October of 2022, VOH has reduced the number of vacant positions by 42% agency-wide, employing 63% more mission-driven employees (52 in Q1 of 2023) than in the previous quarter.
Valley Oaks Health is currently offering same-day access in Tippecanoe County at 415 N 26th Street in Lafayette Monday – Friday, Crawfordsville Office on Monday-Wednesdays, and has plans to expand the program to their other 8 counties in the coming months. For same-day access care, call 1-866-6VALLEY (1-866-682-5539). Employment applications can be submitted at www.ValleyOaks.org.
Valley Oaks Health is a 501c3 Not for Profit provider of behavioral health services in 9 counties across Northwest Indiana as an Indiana Certified Community Mental Health Center and a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic. Valley Oaks Health is accredited by the Joint Commission and served nearly 11,000 individuals in 2022, employing nearly 425 people.