Work-based Learning and Increased Revenue

From the Field – How SSTAR’S Work-based Learning Program Supports Increased Revenue

Stanley Street Treatment and Resources (SSTAR), headquartered in Fall River MA, received a NIATx Pacesetter award for its Work-based Learning Jobs to Careers initiative. In addition to furthering the careers of the individuals, this project had an impact on revenue. Much of material below comes from a NIATx webinar on The Impact of Billing and Third Party Participation on Your Workforce, from May 10, 2011, hosted by John Morris, MSW and Wayne Dailey, PhD, with some additions from Pat Emsellem, Chief Operating Officer at SSTAR.

"NIATx included SSTAR in its Third Party Billing Guide to illustrate that one of the [significant] reasons third-party payers reject claims is that the Clinician does not meet the credentialing requirements set forth by the payer. To minimize billing problems, SSTAR makes sure its clients are matched with clinicians who hold the credentials required by the payer.

"But...before you can match clinicians and clients you’ve got to have enough credentialed clinicians on board to make a match. Prior to 2006, the agency had only a handful of credentialed outpatient substance abuse counselors. Many of the staff at SSTAR had limited educational preparation – this reflected conditions in the Fall River workforce -- a former mill-town with lots of high school dropouts who had little interest in going back to school.

"So, SSTAR had a circular dilemma. Too few credentialed staff meant reduced volume of billable services – which meant less revenue. Less revenue meant lower salaries were offered which caused more staff recruitment problems. In combination these workforce issues limited agency growth potential.

SSTAR tried recruiting more staff with credentials that were third-party reimbursable, but could not recruit enough and decided to try a "grow your own" approach.

"Things began to change in 2005 when SSTAR received funding from the Jobs to Careers initiative. This program fostered partnerships between employers, educators and other organizations to help promote skill development and career advancement among direct care staff.

"Under J2C, SSTAR partnered with a local community college and a private training consultant. A Dean at the community college noticed there were many similarities between the content of the private trainer’s courses and courses taught at the college. He figured out how to give college credits for courses being taught by the private consultant. Thus, SSTAR employees would enroll at the college for $50 per course, be trained by the private consultant on-site at SSTAR, and receive credits toward a college degree. More importantly, the credits could also be used to help fulfill Massachusetts requirements for addictions counselor certification."

SSTAR was able to get more people into treatment and generate more revenue thorugh the increased services.