Benchmark Blog
BENCHMARK BLOG

First Quarter Thrive – January, 2022

Jan 13, 2022
Benchmark Blog

Welcome to Thrive, the Benchmark employee newsletter. Enjoy, and please share any stories you would like to include in a future issue with Courtney Heiser or Simon May!


Raising Awareness of Abuse and Protecting those we Serve

By Doug Beebe, Benchmark President

One of the most challenging things we confront in our industry is occurrences of abuse against people we serve. It’s impossible to wrap our heads around how people can prey on and hurt someone who has entrusted them with their care. For years, Benchmark has implemented abuse prevention practices. These practices are included in our corporate culture via policies and procedures, mission statement, best practices, orientation and trainings, reporting and investigative practices, and training for the individuals we serve. In 2022, we are taking things a step further by implementing an Abuse Awareness campaign.

Mission/Purpose Statement
The purpose of the Abuse Awareness Campaign is to brand Benchmark as an organization that is proactive in preventing incidents of abuse, neglect, and exploitation against the individuals we serve. We wish to raise awareness and promote a culture of openness and honesty in talking about and reporting potential abuse, as well as equipping employees with all the training they need to help prevent future occurrences.

Many of you will remember a similar campaign in 2015 in response to what we felt was surge in troubling treatment of the people we serve. As we are about to enter the third year of the pandemic, the strains are evident everywhere. Abuse, neglect, and exploitation doesn’t just happen in 24-hour residential services. Unfortunately, it occurs everywhere we provide care including Infant and Toddler services, Crisis services, Case Management, etc. Being alert to the signs of mistreatment is critical and helps us keep people safe.

As an example, we had an incident of abuse in one of our programs that resulted in a referral to the police. Additionally, and equally troubling, three other staff failed to intervene and filed misleading statements or outright lied about what happened, and a person we serve ended up in the hospital, his trust in us broken. This is completely and without question unacceptable.

Over the next year, we will be introducing monthly topics to help people recognize and react to the signs and symptoms of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. As we state in our Corporate Principles, “our goal is to build the finest agency in the country” – and that means making every effort to ensure every person served receives the highest quality care, is honored for who they are, and is given the respect they deserve.


Stories From the Front Lines

In May 2020, Benchmark was awarded a contract through the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) to provide Family Preservation Services in the Fort Wayne, South Bend, and Indianapolis communities and surrounding counties. Under the leadership of program director, Megan Ryan, the program aims to keep at-risk children out of foster care and to maintain the family unit in a safe and healthy manner, providing support and resources that enable families to remain intact. After just a year and a half of service, the Family Preservation program has helped over 60 families and 130 children across Northern Indiana. These are just two of their amazing stories:

For one mother with long standing substance use challenges and a history of ongoing domestic violence, Benchmark was able to help her achieve recovery through daily medication assisted treatment, finding therapeutic treatment to help process the death of her husband, development of positive family activities, obtaining a driver’s license, and referrals for community resources to ensure a stable home for her family. The mother had another child throughout Benchmark’s involvement and was able to keep the baby within her care. The children are now consistently engaged in mental health and medical health services.

Another family was referred to Benchmark because of the unsanitary living conditions of their apartment, to no fault to the family. The conditions rendered the apartment non-occupiable so the family moved in with their maternal grandmother, temporarily. The home was infested with cockroaches and bed bugs and their fridge had stopped operating correctly so the food inside was spoiled. The parents were very cooperative and thankful for our team’s help; they completed parenting classes together, received substance abuse counseling, and found reliable transportation so the father could get to and from his second shift job. Through this process, the family moved to a new city and Benchmark worked alongside them to help make the transition, furnish new beds and items for their home, and assist with enrolling the children in age appropriate education programs in the family’s new hometown.


Diversity Committee Updates

Mission of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at Benchmark

Benchmark Human Services believes in the potential of all people. Our mission is to foster a culture that recognizes and honors the unique set of experiences and perspectives of our employees, as well as the individuals we support. We will strive for full inclusion at all levels of the organization. Benchmark is committed to maximizing both individual contributions and organizational effectiveness through the diversity of our workforce.

Our Vision

Our vision is to create a diverse and equitable environment where individuals of all backgrounds and experiences have a voice and participate in making decisions that help Benchmark Human Services fulfill its mission to drive person-centered outcomes for individuals served.


The Diversity Committee has been working on short-term and long-term plans to ensure this mission and vision are met. The Committee will introduce a Diversity calendar in the near future and will highlight one or more events monthly. In addition, a strategic plan is being developed to create a pathway towards full inclusion and access to all opportunities throughout Benchmark. This will include developing vendor relationships with organizations that are operated by diverse groups, including those that are owned and operated by groups that have been historically underrepresented. The Committee will also be releasing an inclusive language guide to ensure awareness of appropriate terminology.

The longer term push will be to select an outside vendor to shape and guide our training on cultural diversity. Members of the first six cohorts who went through training were gracious in their praise and clear on areas for improvements. The Committee listened to that feedback and will create a Request for Proposal from multiple vendors to find one that will meet our goal, which is to create training on a broad variety of diversity and inclusion that will move Benchmark, the people we serve, and the staff who serve them forward.

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”
– Maya Angelou


Holiday and Winter Fun on Social Media

You know, you don’t have to wait until Thrive comes out to see some great photos of the individuals we serve from all over the country! Follow us on social media, just search Benchmark Human Services on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Also, if you would like to share any photos you’ve taken of or with the individuals in your area on social media, please send them to Simon May!

 








Programs in Georgia Spur New Leadership

Benchmark launched business in the state of Georgia in 2011 when the Company was awarded a contract to provide Crisis Services. Since that time, leadership in the state has been busy developing additional programs, including Autism & Children’s Services, and recently, a project in collaboration with Anthem to identify barriers to transition for children with prolonged lengths of stay in Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTFs). Two Benchmark team members helping to lead these efforts are Nick Schreiber and Breanna Kelly.

Meet Nick, Director of Business Logistics, Autism & Children’s Services.

Nick manages the day to day business operations of the Georgia autism program and will be working with other departments within Benchmark to assist in the rollout of new projects. Nick has worked in the developmental disabilities sector for over a decade, and has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst since 2014. He has provided direct therapy for children with autism, job coaching for adults with developmental disabilities, and case management in crisis homes and day programs. Additionally, Nick taught graduate level coursework, worked for an electronic medical record organization, and provided business consultancy services to autism programs. Nick holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology & Sociology from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, a Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and will be defending his dissertation for Applied Behavior Analysis PhD in April.

“As diagnostic testing continues to improve and becomes more accessible to families, autism service delivery will see significant growth as an industry. In some cases, clients will be on waitlists for months or even years to receive evidence based treatment,” said Nick. “My goal is to ensure clinicians have the tools, training, and support to provide the best service they can to our clients, and to ensure that Benchmark can continue to scale to meet the growing need.”

Meet Breanna, Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Lead GA PRTF project.

Breanna serves as the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst for the metro-Atlanta autism program. In this role, she provides assessment and treatment to children with autism, supervises registered behavior technicians, and monitors service implementation. As the lead for the PRTF project, Breanna will coordinate a systemic evaluation of the transition process for children with complex behavioral needs served in PRTFs.

Breanna Kelly is a licensed clinical social worker and board-certified behavior analyst. She has served in various positions within the community and in clinical and academic settings. These roles include a community researcher, inpatient social worker, crisis clinician, behavior analyst, and state-level administrator. She has been working with individuals with intellectual disabilities and complex behavioral needs for over a decade.

Breanna’s areas of interest and expertise include co-occurring mental health/developmental diagnoses, trauma-informed behavior analysis, crisis intervention, autism spectrum disorder, and program development.

“The GA PRTF role is a culmination of all the things I am very passionate about,” said Breanna. “We have the opportunity to collaborate with community-level providers to discuss systematic barriers and opportunities for change that can potentially help children with complex needs. I am a believer that everyone can be supported, we just have to be creative and person-centered in our approach. I am hopeful that this project will be the first of many change initiatives.”


Flexibility and Opportunity Shape HomePointe HealthCare Leader’s Career

At Benchmark, one of the benefits often touted is the opportunity to advance one’s career. As an organization that is ever growing, opportunities to try something new are plentiful. And one of the best things about Benchmark is the flexibility its variety of programs, locations, shifts, and positions offer employees.  Amanda Musser can attest to this. She has held several different positions since starting her career with the Company in 2002.

Amanda is currently the director of HomePointe HealthCare (HomePointe), Benchmark’s pediatric-based homecare program serving children and young adults with complex healthcare needs, enabling them to receive skilled nursing care in the comfort of their home. Amanda began her career journey with Benchmark as a direct support professional in group homes. She later went on to become a residential manager. Then, when Amanda decided to attend nursing school and needed a less demanding position, she worked in the print shop at Benchmark’s corporate headquarters while she completed her degree. She joined HomePointe in 2011 as assistant clinical care manager, putting her new nursing degree to use. She was promoted to clinical care manager in 2016 and just this past summer was named director over the program.

Amanda says she is grateful for the trajectory of her career that led her to her current leadership role. “I learned so much as a DSP,” she said. “No work is more challenging and rewarding than front line care – especially during unprecedented times like we’re experiencing now. I know that I wouldn’t be as effective as a leader had I not spent so many years working with individuals in both the group homes and home health. And my stint in the print shop allowed me the time and focus I needed while in nursing school. I’m grateful for all the opportunities that led me here.”

To learn more about HomePointe and the importance it has played in the lives of the families it serves during the pandemic, check out Amanda’s blog post on Benchmark’s website: Serving Children with Complex Care Needs and the Positive Effect of Home Health through COVID-19.


About Your Benefits

Printing Vision & Dental Insurance Cards

If you signed up for Benchmark’s Vision Insurance benefits through United Healthcare, go to MyUHCVision.com and register. There you can look up network providers and print your vision insurance card. If you signed up for Benchmark’s Dental Insurance benefits through Delta Dental, go to DeltaDentalIN.com and register through the member portal. There you can look up network providers and print your dental insurance card. For further instruction, please click HERE.

 


 

Promotions

Below is a list of employees who were promoted in October, November, and December and the position to which they were promoted. Congratulations to all!

 

Georgia
Lakeshia Horne, Talent Acquisition Specialist
Deborah Hatcher, Dispatcher

Missouri
Trinity Mayes, Registered Behavior Technician

New Jersey
Sherell Hall, Residential Manager

Ohio
Sarah Steffan, Team Leader
Gena Moorman, Team Leader
Nyesha Bell, Supported Living Supervisor
Angelia Murray, Team Leader
Jessica Hoopes, Team Leader

Indiana
James Ailstock, Day Services Supervisor
Mark Taylor, Residential Manager
Sara Thomas, Team Leader
Tom Titus, Area Director
Denise Henderson, Program Coordinator
Deanna Douglas, Supported Living Manager
Susan Durham, Supported Living Supervisor
Lindy Brown, Supported Living Supervisor
Jonathan Hankins, Supported Living Supervisor
Kimberly Leal, Assistant Director
Zachary Greathouse, Supported Living Supervisor
Olivia Shaw, Team Leader
Sarah Noll, Clinical Manager


Milestones

Thrive honors employee hire anniversaries for January, February, and March, celebrating those who have worked at Benchmark for five years and longer.

 

April Evans – 5
Balinda Fonner – 5
Cynthia Luginbihl – 5
Damilola Lawal Bankole – 5
Darla Downey – 5
Deirdra Sago – 5
Donald Oshiomah – 5
Donelle Malveaux – 5
Geoffrey Avery – 5
Jaclyn Williams – 5
Jacqueline Hightower – 5
Jamaal Sanders – 5
Jamal Green – 5
Jane Schriefer – 5
Jason Bryden – 5
Jeff Miller – 5
Jeffrey Frady – 5
Kaia Zelt – 5
Kathryn Wilkinson – 5
Kelli Saine – 5
Kezia Jackson – 5
Marcey Taylor – 5
Ryan Haley – 5
Sean McCaulay – 5
Shawnlisa Nevels – 5
Sheila Canada – 5
Taneka Borders – 5
Taylor Berg – 5
Theresa Fisher – 5
Tierany Bell – 5
Tracee Smith – 5
Tracy Gregory – 5
Afolabi Ogunbowale – 6
Alandra McGhee – 6
Angela White – 6
Angelique Palmer-Robinson – 6
Brandon Riley – 6
Cheryl Bilbrey – 6
Christa Raines – 6
Craig Whonsetler – 6
Deborah Welby – 6
Dimitris Katsaounis – 6
Emma Mendoza Aguilar – 6
Glen Henderson – 6
Jacob Bore – 6
Jacqueline Shuppert – 6
James Bain – 6
Janel Woodford – 6
Karen Agaiby-Mena – 6
Kevie Thomas – 6
Lakeshia Horne – 6
Latonya Elliott – 6
Leon Powell – 6
Loretta Taylor – 6
Lorry Augustin – 6
Maria Hainline – 6
Mary VanWienen – 6
Michaela Jan Carpenter – 6
Motunrayo Owolabi – 6
Nicole Jimenez – 6
Paulette Patrick – 6
Reeta Masih – 6
Shaina Baldwin – 6
Sharday Mabins – 6
Susan Maitin – 6
Tanisha Colon – 6
Theresa Shillingford Stovall – 6
Tommy Brown – 6
Traveon Stevenson – 6
Tyree McCreight – 6
Adriana Garcia – 7
Ami Clancy – 7
Andrew Harris – 7
Barbara Lane – 7
Christine Sellers – 7

Claudia Jackson – 7
Deandra Burnett – 7
Dymond Davis – 7
Elizabeth DeMarquez – 7
Elizabeth Hohman – 7
Heather Macbeth – 7
Henry Woodfork – 7
Irene Omboga – 7
John Miller – 7
Karen Bischoff – 7
Kelly Foster – 7
Lacesha Jeffers – 7
Linda Powers – 7
Maureen Zink – 7
Pamela Parker – 7
Rachael Nelson – 7
Rebecca Mays – 7
Sharon Wilkins – 7
Steven Bright – 7
Suzanne Caudill – 7
Tatiana Johnson – 7
Tedwick Theodore – 7
Vanessa Coleman – 7
Cesar Mendoza Aguilar – 8
Christina Briggs – 8
Darryl Harmon – 8
David Herrmann Sedano – 8
Deaundra Lewis – 8
Dennis Stroup – 8
Douglas Beebe – 8
Jackulynn Hightire – 8
Jamal Cooper – 8
Jason Crowder – 8
Jeremy Joyner – 8
Jerry Mote – 8
Lateachca Carswell – 8
Peter Bishop – 8
Rose Ochoa – 8
Shaunna Turner – 8
Stacie Fitzgerald – 8
William Exner – 8
Yvonne Kreigh – 8
Angela Resovsky – 9
Cawanna Wadley – 9
Claudia Springer – 9
Dajuan Quilling – 9
Dawn Stump – 9
Edward Mowen – 9
Herbert Sheftal – 9
Jonathan Rushton – 9
Joseph Gootee – 9
Kathleen Manegre – 9
Keith Miller – 9
Laurie Heckman – 9
Melissa Shaw – 9
Michael Dow – 9
Modester Nnona – 9
Mohamed Koroma – 9
Nikki Cotterman – 9
Ragna Urberg – 9
Renee Broughton – 9
Ruth Chege – 9
Shaun Jasper – 9
Tara Froelich – 9
Tondaleah Eversole – 9
Zora Artis – 9
Alicia Warren – 10
Belinda Christensen – 10
Calma Harris – 10
Dedria Handerson – 10
Erika Moore – 10
Frances Cline – 10
Jeremy Wimbley – 10
Karen Evans – 10

Katherine Zmeskal – 10
Kimberly Leal – 10
Latasha Green – 10
Lori Blanco – 10
Orlando Wash – 10
Pamela Weston – 10
Rosita Stewart – 10
Ruth Bates – 10
Sycilla Smith – 10
Tammy Carroll – 10
Alocia Robertson – 11
Angela Jeffrey – 11
Anthony Bryant – 11
Benjamin Harrison – 11
Debra Williams – 11
Dorothy Robbins – 11
Julie Heiges – 11
Rasheda Patterson – 11
Susan Brown – 11
Timothy Fitzgibbons – 11
Andrew Baden – 12
Amy Miller – 12
Casey Lolmaugh – 12
Douglas Houser – 12
Jeffrey Cross – 12
Laine Muston – 12
Stacy Christopher – 12
Ann Williams – 13
Eva Jacobson – 13
Harold Eagleson – 13
Kristy Stemen – 13
Lucy Phiri – 13
Shirley Morgan – 13
Souleymane Adamou – 13
Theresa Prentice – 13
Beth Barger – 14
Donna Kuntz – 14
Jill Tatalovich – 14
Rhonda McAuley – 14
Rosalind Winston – 14
Shawn Fields – 14
Isiah Harris – 15
Jennifer Smith – 15
Justin Tucker – 15
Kim Stephens – 15
Linda Riecke – 15
Theophilus Kungang – 15
Tyaan Winn – 15
Yared Belew – 15
Paige DeCook – 16
Kathy Thorson – 16
Kimberly Larson – 16
Nathan Heimann – 16
Barbara Grote – 17
George Sewell – 17
Glenn Heath – 17
Julius Kerkula – 17
Amy Spears – 18
Ava Churchman – 18
Clara Chibweya – 18
Sherri Morris – 18
Courtney Heiser – 19
Jean Kambela – 19
Kelly Stahl – 19
Lubasi Kekelwa – 19
Melissa Bushong – 19
Timothy Cline – 19
Deborah Hanan – 20
June VanTilburg – 20
Gary Brabson – 23
Joyce Wright – 23
Paula Elward – 26
Todd Staszak – 26
Curlie Young – 32


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