John Talbot, Ph.D.

John Talbot, Ph.D. has more than 30 years’ experience in all aspects of health care, including upper management, consultation, education, direct clinical work, and serving as the president of a non-profit board.

Dr. Talbot is currently Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Jefferson Center for Mental Health (JCMH) in Denver, Colorado. In this role, he is responsible for the development and implementation of corporate strategy, strategic alliances and new product development. Dr. Talbot also served as the Vice President of Integration Development for JCMH where he led all new business development opportunities in integrated care and participated in region wide and statewide initiatives.

Prior to his current role, Dr. Talbot served as an Executive Vice President for OPEN MINDS for eight years and provided consultation, training and operational assistance to behavioral health providers, nonprofit organizations, and managed care organizations across the country. His areas of focus for consultation and training include strategic planning, the development of successful strategic alliances, board development, organizational reengineering, operations management, management and leadership development, and change management.

Previously, Dr. Talbot served as the President of Colorado Care Management, a network of agencies providing care to children and families. Dr. Talbot led the development of a coalition of Colorado business executives to address the issues of providing care to abused and neglected children, and the establishment of a nationwide purchasing cooperative for non-profits. The innovative work of Colorado Care Management received national recognition, including participation in a Federal IV-E waiver study that demonstrated measurable superior clinical outcomes.

Dr. Talbot’s additional experience includes serving as the Associate Dean of Operations, the Director of the Master of Health Systems Program, and Adjunct Faculty for University College, University of Denver. He also held a senior management position at Mount Airy Psychiatric Center in Denver, Colorado.

Dr. Talbot has been a featured speaker at a number of national and state venues, and is the former publisher and editor of Today’s Healthcare Manager, a newsletter focusing on leadership and management skills for healthcare managers, and has written numerous articles, manuals, and book chapters.

Dr. Talbot received his Ph.D. from the University of Denver, Master of Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University, and Bachelor of Science from Loyola University.

Bob Puckett

Prior to joining Families, Inc., Bob Puckett worked in human resources in the metal manufacturing, food processing and automotive manufacturing industries. In addition, he completed his graduate internship in the human resources department for a local community mental health center where he later served as a Case Manager working primarily with children and adolescent clients.

Bob joined Families, Inc. in May 2006 as the Director of Human Resources. Over the years, Bob’s responsibilities increased to include the areas of Support Services and Information Technology. In the spring of 2010, Bob led the EMR Committee through a successful 12-week implementation of Credible Behavioral Healthcare Software which transformed the agency from “paper to paperless.”

In September of 2013, Bob was promoted to the Director of Business Operations which added Marketing and Finance to his areas of responsibilities.

Bob is currently serves as an advisory board member on Credible’s Technical Advisory Board, which sits at the intersection of partnership, innovation, and collaboration. Members of the TAB work closely with Credible’s Executive Management Team and their respective State User Groups to help convert development priorities into tangible features and modules that Agency staff use to improve the quality of care in behavioral health. TAB members fully participate in both their user group meetings and in Technical Advisory Board meetings to engender consensus building and collaboration when identifying necessary product features. Advisory board members place the good of all Partners above that of any one organization, supporting the work of Credible and providing mission-based feedback and support on strategic product direction.

Bob also currently serves as an advisory board member on The Partner Advisory Board (PAB). PAB is comprised of Agency C-level staff whoa re hand selected by Credible’s Executive Management team to represent their respective State User Groups. The board’s primary focus is to assist Credible in identifying key strategic opportunities and potential risks facing Partner organizations. Credible uses the information garnered from PAB members in the formulation of our strategic planning and development priorities. Additionally, board members function as a representative barometer to help Credible gauge the satisfaction of Partner Executives with items such as quality of support offered, approaches to Partnership, and awareness of state initiatives impacting billing and reporting. Members routinely share information with Credible related interactions with other Partners and report information to colleagues at other Agencies related to work being undertaken by Credible.

With a B.S. in Business Management including an emphasis in Human Resources from Arkansas State University, Bob went on to achieve his Master of Human Resources from the University of South Carolina.

Bob and his wife Laura Needham-Puckett, have two daughters and are members of a local church in Jonesboro.

Victor Topo, MSW

Victor Topo, MSW, has thirty years of experience in the community mental health field – as a clinician, manager, and executive. Mr. Topo currently serves as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Center for Life Management in New Hampshire. In that role, he leads a comprehensive community mental health center that is the largest provider of mental health and addiction treatment services in the area.

While serving as CEO, Mr. Topo restructured the senior management team, implemented an electronic health recordkeeping system, and increased both revenue and number of persons served annually. He also created and implemented a strategy to integrate behavioral health care with primary care and introduced innovative treatment programs using reiki and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Before joining Center for Life Management, Mr. Topo served as the CEO for Pathways, Inc. based in Mentor, Ohio. In that role, he successfully expanded the organization’s service offerings for chronically mentally ill consumers.

Mr. Topo started his career as a Case Management Supervisor/Case Manager for Community Counseling Center in Ohio. In that role, he provided direct services and supervision of services for severely mentally disabled persons in the community.

Mr. Topo holds a Master of Social Work degree from West Virginia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Siena College.

Larry Trenga

Larry Trenga is an IT Executive of 20+ years with experience managing all areas of IT. He is currently the Vice President, Information and Technology at Wesley Family Services.

He has extensive experience with project management and delivery of IT services aligned to providing business value. This includes leading many application development initiatives, infrastructure/operations initiatives, and a $25mm project to design and build a new corporate data center followed by relocating ~ 100 IT services (including ~ 800 pieces of IT equipment).

He is experienced in managing all disciplines of IT aligned to an ITIL/COBIT framework.

Mr. Trenga previously served as Chief Information Officer of Family Services of Western Pennsylvania prior to its recent merger with Wesley Spectrum.

Before working at Family Services of Western Pennsylvania, Larry served in multiple roles at EDMC. He held the position of Software Engineer before being promoted to Assistant Vice President, Applications Development, and ended his career at EDMC as Vice President – IT Operations and Finance.

Larry Trenga also served as a Software Engineer at Union Switch & Signal before moving on to the same position at US Airways.

He received his Masters in International Management at STOA. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for Mathematics and Computer Science, where he also served as President of his Fraternity.

M. Arthur Williams, PMP

M. Arthur Williams, PMP, is currently a Senior Associate at OPEN MINDS. Mr. Williams brings over 30 years of healthcare data and technology experience, providing analytic support for U.S. Medicaid offices, U.S. Medicare, Canadian Medicare, and commercial insurance clients. He offers extensive experience with data analysis and claims processing in several key areas including pharmacy, long-term care and managed care.
In addition to working with the OPEN MINDS team, Mr. Williams served as a Medical Economist and a Senior Program Manager on contract with the State of Pennsylvania Department of Human Services from 2010 until 2018. Mr. Williams also worked with Electronic Data Systems as Program Manager for HP-EDS project management process integration. He was responsible for coordinating the successful move from an EDS program management and billing process to the new Microsoft Project Server (MSPS) and SAP.
As a Project Account Manager with MetaVance, Mr. Williams co-wrote and managed a feasibility assessment for the province of New Brunswick’s Medicare system. And, as the product delivery manager for MetaVance, Mr. Williams was the first delivery manager of EDS’s new flagship Healthcare Portfolio, a product still being used at four sites, including BCBS of Arizona and Humana Healthcare.
Mr. Williams performed his graduate study at Western Michigan University and has a Bachelor of Arts from Albion College. He is an affiliate with the Project Management Institute (PMI), and the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

The Capitalization & Integration Of The US Behavioral Health Market

This presentation was delivered by Matthew M. Dorman, Co-Founder & CEO, Credible Behavioral Health Software on February 14, 2019, at the 2019 OPEN MINDS Performance Management Institute. In the presentation, Mr. Dorman provided tools for successful strategies to not just survive the future, but to excel and to grow your organization’s behavioral health awareness and success.

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Where Are We On The Road To Value?: The 2019 OPEN MINDS Performance Management Executive Survey

Value-based reimbursement (VBR) is in the news nearly everyday – payers are expanding their spend in these arrangements, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is pushing new models, and provider organizations are struggling to prepare. For many executive teams however the question remains, how many provider organizations have actually moved to VBR models and does it effect their revenue?

To provide a health and human services benchmark, OPEN MINDS conducted their annual performance management survey. The survey focuses on where specialty provider organizations are in the move to VBR and what they are measuring for these contracts. The survey includes:

  1. The percent of organizations with health plan or ACO contracts
  2. The percent of organizational revenue in VBR
  3. The types of VBR models provider organizations are implementing
  4. The most popular quality measures
  5. The use of performance-based contracting models for staff

A free copy of Where Are We On The Road To Value?: The 2019 OPEN MINDS Performance Management Executive Survey is available to all readers due to the generous sponsorship of Credible.

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Don’t Overlook Culture For Success In Merging Organizations

“Culture will eat strategy for breakfast.” Peter Drucker

There are so many mergers, acquisitions, and affiliations (MA&A). But what proportion of them are successful? The answer is, not many. MA&A have a high mortality rate somewhere between 50% and 80% (see Why Do So Many Mergers Fail?). Some estimates put the fail percentage as high as 90% (see Make M&A Work For Your Organization).

Gary D. Nettis, Jr., Vice President, Corporate Development, Caregiver, Inc. and Vasanta B. Pundarika, Senior Vice President, Raymond James Healthcare during our discussion

The question is why the high “non-success” rate? Common obstacles include the need to select the right strategy (see Thinking Of MA&A? What Should You Be Thinking About?). And there is the need for the right partner, selected via good vetting (see How Do You Pick The Right ‘Partner’?). But, finally, there is the culture issue.

But according to the conversation I had with Gary D. Nettis, Jr., Vice President, Corporate Development, Caregiver, Inc. and Vasanta B. Pundarika, Senior Vice President, Raymond James Healthcare during our discussion, “Making The MA&A Happen-Negotiation, Contracts, Closing, & M&A Implementation Planning,” assessing and aligning cultures is paramount for MA&A success. Ms. Pundarika is an M&A consultant to not-for-profit provider organizations. Mr. Nettis leads Caregiver’s M&A strategy and team. They had two key pieces of advice for executives involved in MA&A to prevent “culture” from being the death of a successful collaboration—before signing on the dotted line, so to speak, discuss what is important to each organization’s culture and make sure you get to see that culture “in action.”

Discuss what is important to each organization’s culture—Merging cultures takes a lot of time and a lot of constant work and communication, but the need for communication starts even before two organizations merge. Both teams (first the executives, then other staff members) need to take the time to communicate the values of their culture so both can find common ground and be aware of the culture challenges that need to be addressed in the implementation process. Ms. Pundarika noted:

Culture is hard to define and describe, so at the beginning you are talking to the chief executive officer and the chief financial officer about their organization’s culture. As you go through the process, you then want the equivalent positions and teams on each side talking to each other. Sometimes after they talk for a while, you realize it’s not going to work.

Observe the other side’s culture in action—Talking about culture is important, but it isn’t the same as seeing it in action. No matter what the other side says their culture is, executives need to get as much access to their potential partners in action before an MA&A to make sure what has been communicated is the same as what is being practiced. Ms. Pundarika shared one experience where there was a disconnect between their own culture in practice and another hospital’s culture in practice, explaining, “We visited a site last year that was a hospital and it was very quiet, and we had to ask, why was it quiet? Our hospital is very loud.” Mr. Nettis expanded further:

Getting access is an art and some hard-core science. You must understand what leverage you are going to pull along the way. For some you need to go further along the steps to be comfortable. I spend a lot of time speaking with possible partners, to find and understand where the comfort level is. Have a plan, have a process to check that plan, communication internal and external, alignment in that communication, and it takes time and patience and a positive outlook.

Combining cultures takes work that focuses on the “big stuff” like mission and clinical approaches, down to the “small stuff” like deciding how to handle meetings, feedback, and performance reviews. And of course, once you’ve merged two cultures into one, it will take continuous and constant work to support the culture you have going forward (see M&A ‘Tips, Tricks & Advice’ and Succession Planning & The Merger Issue – Thoughts From Executives Who Have Been There).

For more on culture building, check out these resources from the OPEN MINDS Industry Library:

  1. Building Your Connection Culture
  2. Building A Culture Of Performance
  3. Operationalize Your Connection Culture
  4. Leadership + Culture + Service = Profits
  5. Ethical Culture Needs Ethical Leaders
  6. Innovation Success In Three Steps
  7. Getting Your Replacement Ready To Go
  8. Using Feedback To Build Your Leadership IQ
  9. The New Cultural Competency: Ability To ‘Turn On A Dime’
  10. I/DD & Managed Care? There Will Be Requirements

And, to build your organization’s culture, including staff and executive team competencies, mark your calendar for September 9 to 13, 2019, the dates of the 2019 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Retreat. We’ll be announcing our new program and faculty in the next few weeks. For an idea of what is in store, check out for the agenda from the 2018 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Retreat.

The Tech-Enabled Provider Organization: The 2018 OPEN MINDS Health & Human Services Technology Survey

Available for download, courtesy of Credible Behavioral Healthcare

This presentation was delivered by Monica E. Oss, Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS, on October 23, 2018, at the 2018 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute. In the presentation, Ms. Oss presented results and analysis of the 2018 OPEN MINDS Health and Human Services Technology survey, which includes information on topics such as:

  • The technologies most frequently adopted by specialty provider organizations
  • Technology adoption by specialty provider organization type
  • Electronic health record (EHR) and health information exchange (HIE) adoption, by market
  • Telehealth and remote monitoring adoption, by market
  • Specialty provider organization IT budgets

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