North Shore Elder Services (NSES) is excited to introduce a new Behavioral Health Program. Kelly Briggs is the Behavioral Health Therapist who brought the idea of this service to NSES. Kelly describes herself as always knowing she wanted to work in the field of psychology and counseling.
After completion of her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Gordon College, Kelly continued her education at Lesley University with a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is also certified in trauma counseling from Lesley University. Kelly has worked with elders for four years in various capacities including home care case management and intensive/mental health case management. Most recently, she worked at NSES as a guardianship case manager. She continues to work part time in an emergency room setting providing psychiatric evaluations and placements to diverse populations.
What services can this in-house counseling program provide for consumers?
This therapeutic program offers the same service one would get from going to an outpatient therapist, but instead has talk therapy sessions at home.
Once a referral is received and contact is made with the client, an in-home intake is performed where historical information about the person is gathered. This information can include medical history, mental health history, current stressors, etc.
Kelly then works with the individual to establish small, real, and attainable goals that will move the client towards their ultimate goal, whatever that may be.
“The work of the therapist is often to help the client remove obstacles from achieving their goal, and that is exactly what I am there to help with!”
Are there eligibility guidelines or requirements?
To be eligible for the program, one must have Medicare B as primary insurance, be 60+ years of age, and be unable to get to a traditional therapy office due either to physical or mental health difficulties.
What is the referral process?
There is a referral form on the NSES website under “contact us.” Once that is completed, Kelly is notified, and will then reach out to the elder by phone to get some additional information and schedule an intake.
Who might best benefit from this program?
Kelly believes that everyone, regardless of age, can benefit from talk therapy. “Everyone needs additional perspective about his or her own mental health sometimes, and sometimes you just need someone to listen to you. Mental health can include mental wellness and sometimes that aspect is forgotten. The focus tends to be so deeply rooted in mental dysfunction that there is the forgotten piece of true mental wellness. My goal is to teach clients about strategies to achieve mental wellness and to help them recognize when they may not be experiencing mental wellness.”
Are there restrictions on how many sessions one can request or use?
No. The option lies with the client regarding how frequently they would like to work with Kelly. Some clients may only need a visit once per month, and some may require or request once per week. The fluidity of that schedule is also a benefit. For example, if working with someone who only chose to be once per month experienced a great loss in his or her life, we could increase sessions to weekly for a period.
What is the procedure after a referral has been submitted?
Once a referral is submitted, Kelly receives a notification. She makes telephone contact with the client within 3 days to obtain additional information including current reason for wanting the service, insurance information, and some brief demographic information. Kelly will then schedule an in-person intake, either at the office of NSES or at the client’s home, based on their preference.
Does a consumer have to be a client of NSES or do they have to live in the NSES catchment area?
No. We accept referrals beyond the traditional catchment area on a case-by-case basis. However, the diversity of referrals can be profound. Referrals can come from any provider, family, and self-referrals. Referrals come in through physicians’ offices, hospitals, home care case managers, protective service workers, police departments, etc.
What is the billing process?
Clients provide their insurance information and sign a consent form for billing purposes. North Shore Elder Services will confirm the client’s copay. Once the agency is reimbursed, the client is then responsible for the copay, including any deductibles that may need to be met through Medicare B. At present, we are only able to bill Medicare B.
How does insurance cover some of the cost?
Medicare covers 80% of the service cost and the remaining 20% is what the client is responsible for as a copay. Some clients have secondary insurances that may pick up the remaining cost of copays but it varies from person to person. Kelly obtains insurance information during the initial phone call so that she can provide accurate information when arriving for the intake to ensure clients are making an informed decision.