The Great Frontier Road Trip – Lee County Behavioral Health
The Great Frontier Road Trip is a new series coming to the Frontier Times, and it’s one you can watch. Jamie Fink (HR Guru) and Josh Moore (That Marketing Guy) take you on a road trip to one of Frontier Health’s sites each month. They not only give you a tour of the facility, but they give you a little glimpse into the communities we live and work in. Our second stop brings us to Lee County Behavioral Health where we meet up with Melissa Smith to give us a peak into Lee County.
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Hope for the Homeless: Johnson City community addresses homelessness at “Your. Voice. Your Future” Town Hall
Johnson City, Tenn. — In a remarkable display of community unity, Johnson City residents gathered at Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church for a heartfelt town hall event titled “Hope for the Homeless.” Organized as part of the joint initiative between News 5 and Fox 39, this event sought to address the pressing issue of homelessness in the city.
Dedicated advocates and local leaders, including Opal Fry-Clark, Kristie Hammonds, Mary Scherzinger, and John Redmond, formed a panel that tackled the challenges faced by the homeless community. One recurring theme that resonated throughout the evening was the difficulty homeless individuals face in accessing essential services.
The town hall fostered open conversations and discussions about the existing resources and potential gaps in support services. Kristie Hammonds, remarked, “There were a lot of conversations, great conversations, and discussions around what we currently have for resources. But also maybe some gaps in resources and a lot of discussions around communications.”
To learn more, check out the link above.
Vision- I can see clearly now my glasses are on
Anyone who wears prescription eye glasses can appreciate the difference it makes when putting on a new pair of glasses. Eye health is easily forgotten about, despite the day to day impact having the correct glasses can make. Frontier Health works with VSP for our vision benefits and if you are enrolled, be sure you are taking advantage of this coverage.
Annual Eye Exam– For a $10 co-pay, you can get your eye’s check out each year. You can also get some additional screenings for a low additional cost while you’re at this visit.
Frames and Lenses- Now that you’ve gotten your eyes checked and found out your blind as a bat and need glasses. Okay, be honest here, you’ve known for years you can’t see the street signs but have been living in denial. Every other calendar year, you can get new frames with an allowance of $150 for only a $25 co-pay. Now that you have frames, you can get your basic prescription lenses each calendar year at no cost to you. If you want contacts instead of glasses, you can do that as well, but the coverage varies slightly.
Sun Care Benefit- Maybe you don’t need glasses, or you decide to pay out of pocket for eye glasses (Zenni Optical, we are looking at you). If this is you, pick up some nonprescription blue light filtered glasses to block the light from your screen time, or get a new pair of sunglasses to block out the sun. Both of these are great for eye health as they can reduce eye strain and may improve your sleep quality.
Getting Care and Glasses- A great first step to take advantage of your vision benefit is to create an account a www.vsp.com. You’ll find in network providers, see additional discounts, and get connected with online options for purchase your prescription or nonprescription glasses. When creating your account or going to the eye doctor, you will use your SSN (which is your Member ID), as VSP does not send out member ID cards. Keep in mind that you don’t have to pick out frames at the vision office where you completed your eye exam. You can order these through online retailers or stop by other vision offices to see their selection and prices. With VSP, you can also find glasses with their preferred online provider at www.eyeconic.com.
Helpful Eye Safety Tips- When engaging in activities that may result in injury to your eye’s always wear safety glasses. For the work most of us do at Frontier Health, we wont need eye protection at work, but if you do, be sure to wear protective lenses. Most of us are at highest risk of eye injuries outside of work while doing projects around the house such as yard work, vehicle repairs, or building a new deck.
Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) Expands to Virtual Services
Starting in September, PSR will be available in a virtual platform 2 days a week. The goal of the program remains the same as the in-person sites – to better help individuals identify and use skills to improve their quality of life in all dimensions of wellness. Though the end goal is the same, having virtual services provides the unique opportunity to serve individuals who might not be able to commit to the in-person program at this time.
Attached, you will find information regarding the schedule, eligibility requirements, and the referral process.
If you have a client who would check yes to any of the following, then it might be a good indication that they are a good fit for the program:
- Stay-at-home parents who desire to improve their well-being, but struggles to get out of the house.
- Has a busy schedule, yet still wants to prioritize skill development for their overall well-being.
- Needs additional supports outside of therapy.
- Struggles to get out of the house due to: lack of motivation, paranoia, depression, low self-worth, fear, and/or social anxiety.
- Has limited access to mental health recovery resources.
- Needs to gain skills to help with symptom management, social confidence, self-worth, emotion regulation, and/or overall life satisfaction.
HR on the Road
This summer, our Human Resources Department traveled to several of our facilities for the inaugural “HR on the Road”. Each week a few of the members of the HR team would stop by a location with no agenda other than to build relationships with Team Members and hear valuable feedback. They would typically arrive with doughnuts in hand, mingle with folks when they were not serving their clients, and host a weekly raffle. Matt Griffith, Benefits Administrator, said, “In many cases, I felt like I was meeting old friends for the first time. I get to talk to so many of our Team Members on a day to day basis, but it’s typically over the phone or email, so meeting folks in person that I’ve built relationships with in the past has been a great experience”. This sentiment is shared throughout the entire HR Team. Tina Johnson, Human Resources Coordinator, who began her tenure with Frontier Health as an Adult Case Manger at Watauga Behavioral Health, said “it was awesome going back to Watauga to see people I used to work with on a daily basis and meet the people who have started over there since I came to HR”.
The relationships that were built and the feedback that was provided has made this a success. Key themes that have echoed throughout the organization have been analyzed and are instrumental in strategic planning in areas such as training, talent acquisition, and total rewards. Due to the success of HR on the Road, “we will do another round in the future” according to Ron England, Human Resources Director.
New Division Director for TN C&Y Continuum Services
We are excited to announce Ashley Evans as the new Director for TN Children and Youth Continuum Services. These services include C&Y Residential, Traces Foster Care, and Juvenile Justice Reform (JJR).
Ashley is a graduate of West Greene High School in Mosheim, Tennessee, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Berea, Kentucky, and a Master’s in Community Counseling from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Her career in Behavioral Health began in 2001 as a case manager team leader for the Mental Health Services of Clark County, Ohio, where she later advanced to a therapy position in 2005. She transitioned to become a Probation Officer at the Clark County Juvenile Court until 2015. Returning to Tennessee, she joined Frontier Health as a Therapist in the Traces program and obtained her Licensed Professional Counselor license in 2017. Her leadership led to Frontier Health’s involvement in the Juvenile Justice Reform program for Northeast Tennessee, which she coordinates, and the program has significantly expanded under her guidance since its inception in 2018. Ashley is trained in Multiple Dimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) and other Evidence-Based Therapy models. Beyond her professional achievements, she enjoys crafting, watching scary movies, and shares a passion for the Minnesota Vikings with her husband, Tim. Ashley derives tranquility from her faith and is dedicated to making others feel good.
IPS Gets A New Team Leader
Frontier Health’s IPS Team has recently expanded by adding a new role, that of Team Leader, for IPS Employment Services in Greene County and the Healthy Transitions Team. Traci Sinks has taken on this role and is now serving as the IPS Employment Services Team Leader in the Greeneville office located at Church Street Pavilion.
In terms of my background, I hold a bachelor’s degree in education from ETSU and have accumulated several years of experience working within the Washington County School System. After joining Frontier Health, I initially worked in school-based services, where I dedicated over three years to serving Towne Acres, North Side, and Woodland schools. However, when the school-based program concluded, I transitioned to the Rehabilitation Services division, which turned out to be a delightful surprise. I’ve discovered a newfound passion in this area of work and have had the pleasure of collaborating with wonderful colleagues.
On a personal note, I’m an enthusiastic reader and possess a deep interest in travel and exploring diverse cultures. Among the places I’ve visited, Hawaii holds a special place in my heart, and Italy is my favorite country to date. In my family life, I have one son who is currently pursuing his education and career, and we share our home with a dog that bears a striking resemblance to the famous “Target” dog. Lastly, I’m excited to announce that I will be getting married at the end of September!
Kingsport’s Victory Center Gets A New Service Coordinator
We are thrilled to announce Cathrine Rucker’s promotion as Service Coordinator at the Victory Center in Kingsport. In this new position, Cathrine will be responsible for overseeing the operations of the psychosocial rehabilitation program in Kingsport and indirectly supervising the peer support centers in Bristol and Kingsport.
In 2022, Cathrine graduated Summa Cum Laude with a double major in Social Work and Anthropology from ETSU. Shortly after, she joined Frontier Health as a Mental Health Program Specialist at Victory Center. Prior to this role, she served with pride as an Americorps social work intern with Family Promise of Greater Kingsport and the Appalachian Regional Coalition on Homelessness in 2021. During her tenure at Frontier Health, Cathrine has gained valuable expertise in various evidence-based practices and has developed a strong commitment to delivering high-quality mental health services. She has worked extensively with adult clients in both group and individual settings, equipping them with the necessary tools to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives.
In her free time, Cathrine enjoys activities such as painting, attending concerts, volunteering, and exploring thrift stores. She is a local resident, hailing from Gate City, VA, and currently resides in Kingsport, TN, with her partner and their two cats. Cathrine is passionate about making a positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable populations in the Kingsport community and is enthusiastic about her new role in helping Victory Center Kingsport realize its full potential.
The New Bristol Location New Name is Picked
The new Bristol, TN location recently had its new name picked by, well all of you here at Frontier Health. In a first of a kind situation, Sr Leadership had everyone submit their best attempts at naming the new location, everyone had a chance at coming up with the new name. However, only one could be chosen, and the one name picked above the rest was submitted by Sarah Nunley, “Bristol Behavioral Health Services.” Congratulations Sarah!
Human Resources Amping Up Recruitment
Human Resources is amping up its recruitment efforts by attending every job fair throughout the region. Most all of the job fairs have been at various Colleges, such as Northeast State and ETSU. If you would know someone who would like to meet up with our HR team at an upcoming job fair, you can visit https://www.frontierhealth.org/events/ and see a calendar of upcoming job fairs we will be attending.
IPS Shines During Annual Fidelity Review
It’s great to hear about the IPS Employment team’s dedication to “SHINE BRIGHT” in preparation for their annual fidelity review and their commitment to providing excellent services to clients and the community. Their focus on various aspects of employment support, such as weekly job development, creating career profiles, strengthening job skills, building resumes, and establishing connections with local employers, is commendable.
Achieving 10 new job placements for clients and 7 Successful Employment Outcomes in just one month is a significant accomplishment. It’s evident that the IPS Employment team takes pride in the work they do and in helping clients succeed in obtaining and maintaining employment as part of their recovery journey.
Their dedication to their mission is likely to have a positive impact on the lives of those they serve and contribute to the overall well-being of the community. Congratulations to the IPS Employment team for their achievements and their commitment to excellence!
Adventure Program Celebrates One Month of “Back at Home”
The Adventure Program recently marked one month since returning to their original building and re-establishing a regular routine. They have successfully managed the transition, ensuring their clients are well-accommodated. Despite the various changes, the staff has consistently delivered excellent care to the program’s clients. Over the past few months, both staff and clients have demonstrated remarkable resilience and determination.
Special thanks go out to the Adventure staff pictured (L to R): Michael Krupa, Makayla Shippy, Brandi Humphrey, Geordyn Houston, and Kris Dryden (not pictured Kelsey Wampler).
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JJR Celebrated Spirit Day at Boone Dam Beach
Spirit Day, wasn’t that back in May? Well, yeah. However, the Juvenile Justice Reform Program (JJR) could not get everyone together until June, and then the stories submission got lost in the gazillion emails I get. But don’t worry, it’s here now, just a little late, not too bad.
JJR) met for Spirit Day on June 23rd at Boone Dam Beach. Because competition runs deep in JJR blood, we participated in multiple minute-to-win-it games, vying for a grand prize. The day culminated in a vicious balloon-popping contest. Gail Glymph and Amy Kennedy fought until the last woman standing was victorious. Amy was crowned the JJR champion!!
People in attendance: Lakota Ison-Byrd, Kristen Williams, Elizabeth May, Gequetta Hickman, Gail Glymph, Amy Kennedy, Karen Van Nostrand, Samantha Belt, Jeannie Childers, Marcheta Ejiwumi
Caught Being Extraordinary – August
Tina Giles from Wise County was caught being extraordinary. She did this by “by helping her team in the front when they were short staffed.”
Marry Connor from Holston Counseling was caught being extraordinary. She did this by “always helping out when needed and for her ability to make others laugh.”
Polly Jessen from Turning Point was caught being extraordinary. She did this by “going above and beyond to show compassion to a client in need.”
The Great Frontier Road Trip – Hancock County Mental Health Clinic
The Great Frontier Road Trip is a new series coming to the Frontier Times, and it’s one you can watch. Jamie Fink (HR Guru) and Josh Moore (That Marketing Guy) take you on a road trip to one of Frontier Health’s sites each month. They not only give you a tour of the facility, but they give you a little glimpse into the communities we live and work in. Our second stop brings us to Hancock County Mental Health clinic where we meet up with Site Director, Mitch Horton.
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If the video does not appear in your browser, please click here: https://youtu.be/YqgZt8tsttA
The quarterly Service Awards were organized by the Human Resources department to honor team members who have reached significant milestones of service, celebrating 5, 10, 15, 20, and 30 years of dedicated commitment to Frontier Health. For those celebrating these milestones, we want to THANK YOU for your many years of commitment to Frontier Health, and to the communities we serve.
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Back row (Left to Right)
Front row (Left to Right)
Human Resources Survives Shark Week
Human Resources recently celebrated it’s 2nd annual Shark Week Celebration. This year however, the HR team was sorted into different shark houses, much like Harry Potter, but since they used sharks, it was not copyrighted. The four houses they were sorted into were the Great White Sharks, Hammerheads, Dusky Sharks and Galapagos Sharks. Instead of being sorted by a weird wizard hat, they chose to draw a number that was associated with a house instead of relying on some haunted hat that could read your every thought and desire. Sorry J.K. Rowling, that was a bit creepy. Throughout the week, they answered riddles, played games, and were interrogated with questions on their allegiance to their team. The teams went as follows:
Great White Sharks
Jacob (The New Guy)
Y. Kay Stout
Tina E. Johnson
The winning team was the Great White Sharks as Ron had all of the answers to the questions as he was the one asking them. Congratulations Great White Sharks! In last place was the Dusky Sharks, who had a week long score of 2.
Kid Central at FunFest
hosted a vibrant booth at this year’s FunFest, dedicated to showcasing the diverse range of services we offer. As part of the engaging experience, they organized a delightful activity where attendees had the opportunity to plant a flower of their choice.
Jill White, a passionate member of the Frontier Health team, explained the profound symbolism behind the activity, saying, “Just as we nurture and plant seeds of support in our students, providing them with invaluable tools to overcome challenges and stressors, we hope they will blossom into thriving and successful adults.“
The booth not only delighted visitors with its fun and interactive activity but also served as a reminder of Frontier Health’s commitment to fostering personal growth and well-being in the community.
The school-based staff that participated were: JaLana Clingan, Stephanie Maldonado, Maria Maxwell, Corey Nelms and Jill White.
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The New Bristol Facility
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Next year, the new Bristol facility on 1145 Volunteer Parkway will boast a welcoming and cozy atmosphere while catering to the needs of Bristol and its neighboring areas, all in a convenient single location. Combining various essential services currently offered at BRCC, FIB, Peer Support, TCS, Genoa Pharmacy, and introducing a new Life Skills program, everything will be housed under one roof. Ample parking will be available for 160 individuals, including 10 designated for handicap access and three electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
Cempa Medical Extends Compassion to BRCC’s Vulnerable Community
In a remarkable display of compassion and commitment, Cempa Medical, led by the empathetic Deirdre Gudger, has arrived in BRCC with a mission to support the homeless and those grappling with drug usage. Their unique outreach program has quickly established connections within the community, reaching out to individuals in need. In just their first day, they made a meaningful impact, connecting with three people and offering hope to those facing challenging circumstances.
Cempa Medical’s services encompass both immediate medical assistance and long-term support. They provide crucial testing for Hepatitis C with rapid results, along with treatment options. Additionally, they ensure the community’s health by offering HIV testing. Beyond medical care, the organization focuses on harm reduction, implementing a syringe exchange program to promote responsible drug use and minimize health risks.
The team’s commitment to supporting the homeless population is unwavering. Cempa Medical assists with housing resources, food stamps, childcare, and employment opportunities, seeking to address the root causes of homelessness and foster lasting change. As a gesture of care, they provide backpacks filled with essential items for survival on the streets and warm blankets for comfort during harsh nights.
The community’s response to Cempa Medical’s arrival has been overwhelmingly positive, with eager anticipation building for their official assistance event on August 11, 2023, from 1 pm to 3 pm. With Deirdre Gudger leading the charge, Cempa Medical’s presence shines as a beacon of hope in BRCC, illuminating a path towards a brighter and more supportive future for the entire community.
Our team of dedicated employment specialists actively engage with the communities we serve, working tirelessly to ensure that every individual finds the perfect role that aligns with their skills and experience. From construction and retail to food service, we cover a wide range of industries, leaving no stone unturned to empower our clients in their pursuit of meaningful work.
Central to our employment services is fostering strong partnerships with local businesses. By building these valuable connections, we not only facilitate job placements but also ensure that our clients thrive in their roles and maintain long-term employment.
We firmly believe that meaningful employment plays a pivotal role in our clients’ recovery journey. By embracing opportunities and overcoming challenges in the workplace, individuals can experience transformative personal growth and a renewed sense of purpose.
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HSA, FSA, Dependent Care FSA: What Are These?
These are all accounts that can be used to save for medical (HSA and FSA) and childcare (Dependent Care FSA) expenses. These three accounts are funded pretax, meaning that you’ll see savings on money you may be spending anyways. A general rule to calculate your savings by using these accounts is by using your top tax bracket. For example, if you fall into the 12% tax bracket, each dollar you set aside in one of these accounts will only “cost” you 88 cents, meaning you’ll save 12 cents on the dollar. Keep in mind, everyone has a different tax situation so this may not be exact, but this is a good rule that can apply to most people.
The Dependent Care FSA enables you to see tax savings in order to pay for childcare expenses for dependents under the age of 13 (or 13 and over if your dependent has a disability that prevents them from self-care). Daycare and other childcare options can be expensive, why not give yourself a “discount” on this when you know you’ll spend the money anyways?
The HSA and FSA can be used for medical, pharmacy, dental, and vision expenses. This includes over the counter items such as first aid supplies and many over the counter medications. While they are very similar, they do have their own unique rules. The FSA is front loaded, meaning the amount you sign up for on an annual basis is available on day one of coverage. Be sure to use all of the money you put into the FSA due to use it or lose it rules. It is recommended to figure out how much you’ll spend in a year on medical expenses and contribute that amount into the FSA.
For the HSA, your balance has to build over time, but there is not a use it or lose it rule. In fact, you can invest the money in your HSA for tax free growth to use at a future date. For many of us, medical expenses will be one of our highest expenses in retirement. Because of this, many financial experts recommend using your HSA to set aside money for current and future medical expenses.
Johnson County Celebrate National Lolli Pop Day
Who knew there was a National Lolli Pop Day? Well, our team members in Johnson County not only knew, they celebrated it with a wide array of different Lolli pops.
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Hancock County Peer Support Expands its Services
In July 2023, the Hancock County Peer Support Center took a significant step forward by expanding their services to include individuals in Hawkins County. The response from those we serve was mixed, with some expressing excitement and others understandably feeling hesitant. Change can be intimidating, and the journey of recovery is a deeply personal and intricate one.
Now that the initial adjustments have settled and routines are falling into place, members are enthusiastically sharing positive reviews! Surprisingly, these two relatively small communities have found numerous commonalities, leading to swift connections and heightened engagement. Members were quick to bond over shared experiences, both positive and challenging, fostering a strong sense of unity within the group. The newfound connections have resulted in a surge of interest in community activities, and we are delighted to see an influx of new members joining our supportive network!
Overmountain Team Builds
Overmountain team members spent the day at the Eastman Recreation Area at Bays Mountain in Kingsport for team building. Activities included educational segments along with team building challenges like the game “stack ’em up” as seen pictured.
Wise County to Move to New Location
Exciting changes ahead for Wise County Behavioral Health in Big Stone Gap, VA. Early this summer we were able to purchase a building in Norton that is more centrally located to serve all of Wise County and not just those individuals we serve in or near Big Stone Gap. We were given quite the deal on a building we thought might be out of reach. The building is currently undergoing renovations and being updated with the hope that it will be move in ready some time early fall. We are excited to make this move and expand our reach in Wise County to serve individuals and families we may not otherwise be able to reach.
Our current Wise County location in Big Stone will ultimately house services currently located at Developmental Services, Inc. These services include ID case management, supervision staff for Sponsored Residential and In Home and our day support programs for ID consumers. The downstairs at Wise County will house a new intensive outpatient program for adolescents with substance abuse disorders. We are excited for this move as well as it will enable these very important services to have a more updated and spacious facility by which to operate.
Hancock County Participates in the Red Sand Project
To help promote the stop of human trafficking, Hancock County Mental Health Clinic participated in the Tennessee Health Departments Red Sand Project. Red sand poured between the cracks helps raise awareness for this heinous crime.
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Employment Services – Success Story
“R” has struggled with mental health symptoms as well as substance use. “R’s” choice of drug was methamphetamine. During the time “R” was in active addiction, “R” lost custody of her two children, overdosed, put in the hospital on life support, and became involved in the criminal justice system. “R’ was charged with a felony offense at this time. “R” did go to court and the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. Although, the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor, this charge prevented “R” from obtaining employment with a variety of employers.
“R” decided that she wanted to make a change in her life for good. “R” began participating in IOP classes to help her learn coping skills and strategies that she could implement in her life when she started to feel stressed and overwhelmed. “R” graduated from the IOP classes but feels she needs to continue with with treatment to help her meet her goals. “R” was determined that she would be able to see and spend time with her children. This was “R”’s #1 goal.
“R” began her journey with Employment Services in May 2023 in hopes that she would be able to find employment that she would enjoy. “R” had previous experience in factory work. “R” enjoyed factory work but did not want to go back into that field of work due her previous work environment. “R” was excited to have the opportunity to have the support to help her find employment she would enjoy and feel supported in. “R” was worried about her past addiction and her criminal history when it came time for her to begin applying for employment.
The Employment Specialist spoke to the employer in reference to “R”. The manager at the employer let the Employment Specialist know to complete the application and bring “R” to see him. The Employment Specialist assisted “R” in completing and submitting the application. The Employment Specialist called the employer to let them know the application had been submitted. The employer scheduled an interview for the next day. “R” was nervous when walking to the employer’s office. “R” did well during the interview. “R” disclosed to the employer that she was in recovery from substance use, and she has a criminal history. The employer praised “R” for being honest and upfront stating, “It took courage to share her journey with a stranger”. The employer let “R” know that he was going to give her a chance and if she showed a good work ethic, he would make sure she would get an increase in pay. “R” was ecstatic when the employer offered her the job.
“R” was able to see her children supervised for a while. “R” returned to court to find out if she could see her children unsupervised. This request was granted. After random drug testing, “R” was scheduled to return to court to find out if her request would be granted that she would be able to have her children every other weekend with no restrictions. “R’s” request was granted. “R” was so excited for this news.
“R” speaks to her employer in reference to her work schedule so she would be able to pick-up her children every other Friday. “R’s” employer accommodated her work schedule so she would be able to spend time with her children.
“R” has now been drug-free for a year, has her children every other weekend, and is employed. “R” is working hard to stay drug-free, take care of her children, and maintain employment.
Caught Being Extraordinary – July
Juliana Rutherford from Developmental Services was caught being extraordinary. She did this by “working to help a client with insurance issue when their assigned case manager was on vacation.”
Charlene Hensley from Erwin Behavioral Health was caught being extraordinary for Service Excellence, Customer Service and Quality of Care. “She aided client in contacting BlueCare to help set up transportation so that client was able to get her injection.”
Roberta McGuire from Nolachuckey was caught being extraordinary. “She anticipates others’ needs and never hesitates to go the extra mile to help. She comes to work in service to others.”