Willow Rock's Clinical Director Recognized as 2017 Field Instructor of the Year by University of California, Berkeley

From left to right: Julie Hodges, Director of Nursing at Willow Rock; John Adam, Administrator at Willow Rock; Anne Bakar, President and CEO of Telecare; Ilene Yasemsky, Clinical Director at Willow Rock; Jennifer Jackson, Field Consultant and Lectur…

From left to right: Julie Hodges, Director of Nursing at Willow Rock; John Adam, Administrator at Willow Rock; Anne Bakar, President and CEO of Telecare; Ilene Yasemsky, Clinical Director at Willow Rock; Jennifer Jackson, Field Consultant and Lecturer at UC Berkeley's School of Social Welfare; Greg Merrill, Director of Field Education at UC Berkely's School of Social Welfare

Earlier this month, the University of California, Berkeley, recognized Ilene Yasemsky as 2017 Field Instructor of the Year at Telecare’s in San Leandro, California.

Telecare’s CEO, Anne Bakar, and a few of Ilene’s colleagues at Willow Rock joined representatives from UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare for an afternoon honoring the “clinical goddess” they call Ilene.

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“If [Ilene] could take every community mental health student, we would send them here,” said Jennifer Jackson, Field Consultant and Lecturer at UC Berkeley. “What she offers as a teacher and a mentor is just so phenomenal and priceless, it sets a bar.”

"The magic at Willow Rock is how we join together with a common purpose," said Ilene, as she thanked everyone for their kind words. "And how, it sounds corny, but it's like this big heart. We're all a puzzle piece. We're so much better together when we bring out the best in each other because of this purpose. We're making a difference." 

This is Ilene’s seventh year working with UC Berkeley’s Field Education Program. Their mission is to “develop future leaders of the profession who challenge conventional wisdom by being deeply prepared for multilevel social work in specific areas of practice.”

The program works with 180 field instructors around the Bay Area in both inpatient and community-based programs.

“Willow Rock is the most healing, transformative locked environment I’ve ever set foot in,” said Greg Merrill, Director of Field Education at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare. “There’s some magic in there, and I know part of it is you, but I also know it’s bigger than you. It’s something you invite in others, and others have contributed to creating and sustaining.”

“I don’t know all the magic,” said Anne Bakar, Telecare’s President and CEO. “But I know part of it is your passion and experience as a clinician, and also your team. You have an extraordinarily dedicated and passionate team.”

Others at the luncheon, including former interns of Ilene’s who now work at Willow Rock, chimed in with their warm praise for her clinical work, her notorious love of cheetah print, and the compassionate care she brings to work every day.

“I have literally been there watching you in conversation, standing back and been in awe, because you never let go of the heart of anything that was ever going on,” said one colleague. “You see the heart of the person. You might be distressed by a person's actions, but you wouldn't let go of their heart.”

Telecare Receives Three-Year CARF Accreditation

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For the past year, ؼ programs and Quality Department have been hard at work preparing for an intensive survey by, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the quality of health and human services at hospitals and rehabilitation facilities worldwide. After a week of on-site visits from CARF surveyors in August, we were pleased to learn CARF awarded Telecare a three-year accreditation status.

In 1998, Telecare chose CARF to accredit its Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) and residential programs because the CARF standards focused on person-centered practices, a strong match to ؼ values and philosophy of recovery-centered services. Now, Telecare has over 75 CARF-accredited programs in eight program types and three special populations (Justice Involved, Older Adults, and Children and Adolescents). Additionally, Telecare has three hospitals that are accredited.

The survey preparation is a unifying and engaging process, where direct-care staff and leaders come together to review and confirm their conformance to standards and prepare to demonstrate unique best practices to CARF surveyors.

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“If this is a program's or leader’s first time going through CARF, we’re going to take a more hands-on approach to help them get ready,” said Tara Booth, Clinical Quality Manager at Telecare. “We meet with their leadership, pair them with other leaders at programs similar to their own, and host mock surveys to help them figure out what to focus on and what the process with the surveyors will be like.”

Telecare utilizes CARF and Joint Commission standards as a foundation for policy and adherence to high quality practices at our programs. We maintain conformance to these standards continuously, and prepare for the surveys by readying materials and evidence to demonstrate our program's excellent quality, best practices, and its high-involvement and recovery-centered cultures.

This year, CARF released a more detailed report on strengths and areas for improvement, recognizing Telecare’s organizational practices, our leadership, and individual programs. Below are a few findings from the 2017 CARF Accreditation Report for ؼ.

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Prescribing Practices:

  • “ؼ provides outstanding integrated healthcare and psychopharmacology guidelines that ensure safe treatment using state-of-the-art prescribing practices.”
  • “Telecare’s leadership, physicians, and nurse practitioners provide medication management, education, and holistic treatment modalities that support psychiatric stabilization, recovery, resiliency, and overall emotional wellness.”

Whole Person Care Curriculum:

  • "Introducing its Whole Person Care and Wellness curriculum, Telecare is committed to developing an integrated primary care and behavioral health model."

Client Satisfaction:

  • While surveying some of our Northern California programs (in Sacramento, in Stockton, and in Modesto), CARF noted “the persons served interviewed reported considerable satisfaction with the services offered…One member stated that Telecare is like ‘an oasis from a life of difficulties and obstacles.’ Another member stated that 'the program literally saved [his] life.'"

CARF accreditation reports also come with a set of recommendations for quality improvement in providers. ؼ Quality Team has put together an improvement plan to address these recommendations. As CARF noted, "Telecare is open to feedback, new information, and training to improve its services. The organization is solution-focused and willing to make changes to improve the quality of care provided. It is committed to the CARF standards and to the accreditation process.”

Telecare continues to utilize CARF standards and its Clinical Quality Standardization Committees to drive consistency in best practices and conformance to CARF standards.

Fires in California: How To Help

As you may know, California is experiencing a devastating wave of wildfires that are continuing
day by day. From the northern Bay Area to the Santa Cruz mountains, to the hills and mountainsaround Los Angeles, wildfires are consuming hundreds of thousands of acres of natural areas as well as homes and businesses. The scope of the losses is staggering: thousands of structures have been destroyed, lives have been lost, communities have been completely consumed by the flames.

As a mental health provider with program locations in these areas, we are acutely and sorrowfully aware of how our employees, the people we serve, and these communities are being affected by the fires. We are making a donation to the Red Cross on behalf of everyone at ؼ to help with general disaster relief.

How You Can Help:

Donate Money: 

Donate Time: American Red Cross/Other Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteers of all kinds are encouraged to register with the Red Cross.  Licensed clinical mental health workers are needed to provide support in the communities affected. 
To find out how to help, call: 707- 577-7600 or go to https://tinyurl.com/yawtps5e to sign up to volunteer.  

You can also contact Ricardo Martinez, DGS Chief Procurement Officer, at 916-317-6451 or ricardo.martinez@dgs.ca.gov 

Alameda County licensed clinicians are encouraged to volunteer as well: for more information on how to volunteer with the County efforts, please contact Todd.stephenson@acgov.org.

More Resources:

Stanislaus County Effective Partnership Committee Provided the Effective Partnership Annual Recognition Award to the Initial Outreach & Engagement Center

On August 1, 2017, the r opened at 825 12th Street in Modesto. The center is made possible through a collaboration between Telecare’s // Outreach Program along with county programs and other agencies in Stanislaus County.

Partners for this center include Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Telecare, Community Services Agency, Stanislaus County Superior Court, Memorial Medical Center and Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, Credit Bureau Advisors and the Stanislaus County Chief Executive Office. The Effective Partnership Annual Recognition Award was awarded to all agencies that are collaborating together. It is the first time we have won this award, and it means that we are all making positive changes within the Stanislaus community.

This collaboration has allowed the community to begin to bring services together for improved effectiveness. The Outreach team seek people out in the community in a strategic and coordinated effort with other partner outreach teams who are now co-located.

The Outreach and Engagement Center will also serve as a physical entry point providing access and referrals to a wide-range of homelessness services.

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