National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month
By Sean Dickson, Admissions & Utilization Manager
October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month. Our mission at Camino a Casa is to provide cutting-edge mental health services for youth suffering from complex emotional and behavioral issues. Admission into the Camino a Casa Program starts with a comprehensive screening process to ensure we are the best fit for the client.
Admissions Department Screening Process
The admissions screening process for Camino a Casa was developed to ensure that our services are the right match for referred patients and at the appropriate level of care.
Our initial screening starts with a phone call or email from a parent, a faxed referral from a hospital, or an inquiry from an insurance company. Unless there is a clear reason the patient would not be a match for our services (age, primary diagnosis, etc.), our admissions team follows up with the parent or guardian to complete a short screening questionnaire to provide details on behaviors, prior treatment, diagnoses, strengths, triggers, and treatment goals.
We may require additional information if questions arise around specific behaviors or incidents, or if there are medical components to the patient’s care that our health clinic should review.
In addition to ensuring that the patient would benefit from our program, we are screening the information to determine the appropriate level of care based on the patient’s presentation. The higher the severity of symptoms and behaviors, the higher the level of care indicated.
The next stage of our screening process involves an interview with our intake and assessment clinician and the parents or guardians. Our clinician will also conduct a face-to-face interview with the patient to get their perspective on their needs and assess their level of engagement in treatment. This includes a mental status exam to capture the patient’s appearance, level of eye contact, speech, attitude, behavior, mood, affect, percepts, thought content, memory, alertness, attention, intellectual functioning, insight, and sensorium — orientation to person, time, place, and situation. A risk screening is also conducted to determine risk factors, protective factors, and the frequency, intensity and duration of symptoms and behaviors.
Our assessment clinician then combines the gathered information into a biopsychosocial assessment and frames it around the CALOCUS, a standardized scoring methodology used in the insurance industry to determine medical necessity and appropriate level of care. By doing so, we are speaking the same language as the insurance case managers, and hopefully making their decision to approve care easier.
Prior to admission, the admissions team will have our health clinic schedule the initial psychiatric appointment (within 48 hours of admission) and will connect the family to the Non-Public School Director to review credit recovery process. It should be noted that youth do not dis-enroll in their home district, but rather Casa Pacifica will work their home school district to provide opportunities for credit recovery.
Lastly, the admissions team will collaborate with the family and current provider (if applicable) to determine date of admission. The dedicated team of professionals at Camino a Casa are here to support the youth and family every single step of the way. For more information or for a confidential screening, please call us at (805) 366-4000.