Finding Opportunity in Uncertainty: Thoughts from ACL Conference

I was honored to present with Chris Burke of Unity House of Troy at the Association for Community Living (ACLAIMH) conference recently. This three-day conference brought together a great mix of colleagues, government officials, and industry representatives, all working towards promoting effective community-based rehabilitation for people with psychiatric disabilities. The general sentiment was one of concern and uncertainty–but also one of hope and renewed commitment.

There is definitely truth to the adage, “the more we know, the more we realize what we don’t know,” and that has been a great cause of concern in our industry. However, it’s also apparent that with change comes opportunity.

There is no denying the feeling that the layer on top of layer on top of layer that is being built between the providers and their source of revenue is a concern. Yes, there are question marks about the intentions of Managed Care and if the legislators share the same values as the providers. There is worry about the unknown and wonder about whether providers will survive in the new world of behavioral health.

However, even with these and many more fears permeating the world of behavioral health, there was still an aura of hope. Hope that regulatory reform and new funding from Medicaid Reform will allow the provider community to more efficiently and effectively create and deliver services. Hope that the world of Managed Care will recognize the value of recovery and rehabilitation services and expand the use of these services. And hope that finally, there may be a recognition that one of the keys to a healthy person is a safe place to live.

So, I for one left the ACL conference with a recognition that, although the continued lack of clarity and unknown creates an environment of concern and fear, there is also a great hope that at least this community of providers will seize the opportunity to create a better service delivery system. During times of uncertainty like these, it is more important than ever to remember YOUR mission and remain focused on finding opportunity in change.