Benchmark Blog

Exemplar – January, 2024

Jan 16, 2024
Benchmark Blog

Welcome to Exemplar, the Benchmark Human Services (Benchmark) company newsletter. Enjoy, and please contact our Development team with any questions: [email protected].

Active Consulting

Benchmark’s history is rooted in serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Now, Benchmark is offering an Active Consulting service, working with states, providers, and caregivers to improve the systems that support vulnerable populations with complex needs, including individuals with a dual diagnosis of IDD and behavioral health conditions.

Active Consulting includes hands-on training and walk-alongside support provided by an interdisciplinary team of professionals. Benchmark’s approach produces better outcomes for individuals and can reduce costs and stressors to the overall system.

Learn more in the video below.

Benchmark Works to Bring People Home

In two states, Benchmark is working to bring individuals closer to home. When local service providers are unable to meet an individual’s needs, individuals may be relocated to providers several hours away from home or even moved out of state—disconnecting them from their families and communities.

In Allen County, Ohio, Benchmark was part of a multi-organization initiative to bring three teenagers closer to home. Benchmark partnered with LODDI Inc., Allen County Children Services, the Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, local schools, and the Ohio Department of Medicaid through a state program called Multi-System Youth (MSY). Through this program, these teenage boys can receive services in their home county instead of staying in residential centers several hours away.

“We are thankful for the boys to be able to come home into their community where they might recognize their parks, schools, and restaurants, and their library,” says Ryan Knodel, Benchmark Human Services Ohio state director.

Notably, this is the first time children have been served through Independent Options Waiver residential services in Ohio. LODDI Inc. purchased a home in October 2023 and currently serves as the landlord. The boys moved in, and Benchmark provides services in their home.

In New Hampshire, Benchmark is working to open intensive treatment homes for individuals with complex needs, including dual diagnosis. In addition to bringing individuals currently served out-of-state closer to home, we aim to move individuals out of institutions and into the community.

Anne Titus, a vice president with significant experience spearheading major deinstutionalization projects, is leading this initiative. Throughout her more than three decades with Benchmark, she has moved 32 individuals with extensive medical needs from Holy Cross Living Center and helped move the last residents out of Indiana’s Muscatatuck and Fort Wayne State Developmental Centers into the community. In addition, Titus led the transition for 16 individuals to move out of Montana State Developmental Center’s Assessment Stabilization Unit (MDC ASU).

“The New Hampshire intensive treatment homes are another chapter in our Company’s long history of returning folks to their communities,” says Titus. “We are eager to continue this work.”

Benchmark’s New Hampshire intensive treatment homes are slated to open in late spring.

Contact our team for more information. Sarah Chestnut, National Director of Business Development, and John Lovett, National Director of Clinical Development, Email for more information.

Specialized Residential Supports in Delaware 

Benchmark believes everyone deserves the opportunity to live in the community, and that this is possible with the right support.

In Kent County, Delaware, Benchmark is working to open two specialized, enhanced supports group homes for individuals with complex behavioral needs. This is part of a pilot program with the state of Delaware, with the goal of eventually including this program in Delaware’s Medicaid waiver.

The team includes a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), a Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical (LCSW-C), a Registered Nurse (RN), a consulting nurse practitioner of psychiatry, multiple group home managers, Registered Behavioral Technicians (RBTs), and several Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). An RBT is in each group home, working alongside DSPs daily. Staff collaborate to create and implement Behavior Support Plans (BSPs) for each individual.

“Building relationships between staff and individuals served is the key to success,” says Dorian Riddick, Benchmark’s state director for Delaware. “Our goal is to help folks have the support they need to achieve their goals and live with greater independence.”

Two individuals are currently being served in this program, and each individual has very complex behavioral needs and extensive histories of challenges when served by other providers. One of Benchmark’s main goals is to stabilize individuals in the community while reducing hospitalizations. Benchmark is working with the state to quantify the cost savings this creates for states while improving the lives of the individuals served.

Chris Diehl is Benchmark’s vice president, overseeing services in Maryland, Delaware, Ohio, and New Jersey. Diehl has more than 25 years of experience in the intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) field, and he led the opening and implementation of five homes in Maryland for individuals with forensic backgrounds. Currently, 18 individuals have been served, including individuals with forensic backgrounds and histories of serious criminal charges.

“We have a lot of experience working with individuals who have complex behavioral health needs,” says Diehl. “I’m confident that our team will support these individuals effectively.”

Upon initiation of services at an enhanced supports group home, Benchmark develops a discharge or graduation plan for every individual served. This plan helps determine when an individual is ready to be discharged to another placement with fewer restrictions and less need for intense supports.

Currently, one of the two homes is operational. The second home is ready for licensure and will open soon.

Success in Arkansas

In Arkansas, Benchmark is providing integrated solutions for individuals with dual diagnoses of IDD and behavioral health needs, including individuals in transition (e.g., beginning services with a new provider, moving into an apartment on their own, going into less restrictive service environments, etc.).

Led by Benchmark’s Arkansas State Director, Charles Burd, the interdisciplinary team is made up of licensed clinicians, including Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), Qualified Behavioral Health Professionals (QBHPs), Qualified Developmental Disability Professionals (QDDPs), and master’s-level mental health professionals.

“We want to support everyone we can. We work with just about anybody—individuals with autism, profound IDD, and/or dual diagnoses,” says Burd. “We’ve seen a lot of success.”

From May 2023 to September 2023, the team produced the following results:

35.7% projected decrease in behavioral health admissions for Acute and PRTF. Prior 12 months shows 140, compared to 30 since referral to Benchmark. 35.2% projected decrease in emergency room admissions. Prior 12 months shows 125, compared to 27 since referral to Benchmark.

In one case, the Arkansas team worked with an individual who was placed in Department of Child and Family Services (DFCS) custody after her mother’s suicide attempt. Prior to Benchmark’s involvement, the individual had six acute hospitalizations and spent 45 days in acute placement.

Since Benchmark started working with this individual in May 2023, she has not needed acute placement or hospitalization. In fact, she is thriving. This individual placed second in a bowling competition, she participated in a pageant, and she is currently attending full-day school in a general education classroom.

The services Benchmark provided to this individual include family therapy, individual therapy, caregiver coaching, real-time crisis support, and QBHP interventions.

“We’ve seen substantial improvements for numerous individuals,” says Burd.  The Arkansas team is focused on stabilizing individuals, building up their providers and families, and maintaining or improving placements for individuals.

To learn more about Benchmark’s previous work in Arkansas, please click here.

Join us at the 2024 Open Minds Performance Management Institute. Session Title: Using the Net Promoter Score to Transform the Consumer Experience to Lasting Consumer Success. Doug Beebe, Chief Executive Officer of Benchmark Human Services. Wednesday, February 14, 2024 from 9:45 am to 11:15 am Eastern Time. Presenting with Jeanne Marshall of Easterseals Midwest and Paul Duck of Open Minds.

© Benchmark Human Services   |   Privacy Policy