Benchmark Blog

Exemplar – July, 2024

Jul 08, 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].

Message from the CEO, Doug Beebe

Photo of Doug Beebe, CEO“The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” – Ralph G. Nichols

Benchmark has experienced exciting growth for many years, which continues today. A significant part of that success is truly listening to understand. Sometimes, that means listening to stakeholders to hear how the systems created to support them do not always fulfill their goals. Often, it means listening to a team debrief an intervention that was not as successful as envisioned. When working with those we serve, listening is a sign of respect and a pathway to better understanding, which leads to better supports.

As Benchmark launches mobile crisis services in Idaho, we must listen to as many stakeholders as possible to best shape our responses to their needs. I was fortunate to join two other Benchmark leaders, Brian Gill, Vice President of Crisis and Behavioral Health Services, and Joe Bickford, Crisis Supervisor, Oklahoma, for a week of meetings as we began to understand the true drivers of systemic crisis needs in Idaho. We met with members of law enforcement, service providers, peers, and others who share a focus and determination to improve the system. Similarly, in Indiana, Chad Minier, OBHP Crisis Supervisor, and his team have been listening to and working with people across their area to better shape their responses, and the result has been growth in that system and the beginning of a truly integrated system of care.

When we recently met with Benchmark’s National Advisory Committee, systems were one of the focal areas. The Committee represents decades of expertise, innovation, and a deep passion for doing things well and for the right reasons. The resonance with our mission is inspiring, and the insights we gained are invaluable. We discussed service trends and data management, and listened as the Committee impressed upon us the importance of deliberate growth. The name Icarus is remembered in ways we want to avoid!

What we do not want to miss is opportunities to serve people in innovative, efficient, and effective ways. As individual needs grow in complexity, many support systems struggle to keep up, and the impact on individual lives is staggering. As behavioral health and substance use issues increase, the need for innovation across all ages and diagnoses continues to grow. Benchmark will continue to listen to understand and create solutions to support all people.

Very few corporations produce a more important service or product. We deal with things that make life worth living. – Benchmark Corporate Principles

Launching Mobile Crisis Services in Idaho

On July 1, 2024, Benchmark began providing mobile crisis response services in several counties throughout Idaho. When community members call 988, and a mobile response team (MRT) is dispatched, Benchmark’s staff provide face-to-face home and community-based interventions to support individuals experiencing a mental illness or substance use-related crisis.

With nearly 20 years of experience in crisis services, Benchmark is ready to make a positive impact on Idahoans. Jaime Garza, PhD, National Certified Addiction Counselor Level II (NCAC II), and Sarah Gordon, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), will lead this effort.

Photos of Jaime Garza, PhD, NCAC II and Sarah Gordon, LCSW

“It is crucial to ensure everyone has access to mental health services in times of need,” says Benchmark’s Idaho Project Director Dr. Garza. He has developed several nationally acclaimed programs for substance use treatment and behavioral health, helping countless individuals achieve and sustain their personal recovery goals. Most recently, Dr. Garza led the Hope Pointe Behavioral Health Crisis Care Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Having spent the first 27 years of his life in California, Dr. Garza is thrilled to return to the West.

“Our staff will be trained to provide high-quality care for individuals from various populations, including rural and indigenous populations,” says Gordon, Benchmark’s Idaho Clinical Director. Gordon has worked as a substance abuse counselor, an inpatient social worker, and an outpatient clinician and is a certified designated examiner on Idaho’s Region 4 mobile crisis team. She also helped develop the L.E.A.D. program (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) that aimed to address the opioid epidemic in Idaho by diverting people to treatment instead of jail when they are newly involved in the criminal justice system.

Under contract with Magellan Health, Benchmark will provide mobile crisis response services in Idaho’s regions 1 and 2, including ten counties. Benchmark is collaborating with Community Bridges, Inc. (CBI) to serve regions 3 and 4 as well, including another ten counties and Boise, ID.

Benchmark and CBI work together to provide mobile crisis services throughout Oklahoma. Additionally, Benchmark provides mobile crisis response services in regions 1 and 4 of Georgia, covering 56 counties.

NLC and Benchmark Collaborate to Offer Virtual Workshops

Logos for National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities and Benchmark Human ServicesThroughout June 2024, the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities (NLC) and Benchmark offered four virtual workshops in a series titled “Enhancing Organizational Capacity to Serve People with Challenging Reputations, Significant Behavioral Challenges, or Forensic Backgrounds.” These workshops were designed to assist providers in developing the skills, competencies, confidence, and organizational culture to serve people with unique needs. Additionally, the workshops provided an opportunity for government agencies to learn about creative strategies used in other states to support people with complex needs.

Each workshop focused on a different topic and featured unique presenters from Benchmark’s team. Topics included leadership principles and foundational pillars of supports for people with intensive behavioral needs, the practical application of principles needed to assure safety and provide quality lives for people with potentially dangerous behaviors, tools and strategies to navigate the complexities of individual assessments and treatment planning, and strategies for securing buy-in, navigating financial feasibility, and fostering a culture of support.

“We’re excited to have partnered with the NLC on this,” says Doug Beebe, Benchmark’s CEO. “Our team is passionate about supporting people with complex needs. These workshops were a great opportunity to share what we’ve learned with other providers who want to do the same, as well as government agencies seeking service and funding models that have worked in other states.”

Fifty-six people registered for this workshop series, representing 24 different provider organizations or state agencies, 11 US states and Washington, D.C., and two Canadian provinces.

To learn more about this workshop series, click here.

Benchmark’s National Advisory Committee

As part of our commitment to innovation and quality, Benchmark regularly seeks advice and feedback from industry experts. Our Advisory Committee includes these thought leaders in the human services space:


Mary Bea Eaton

Val Bradley

Pat Frawley, PhD

Ron Manderscheid, PhD

Mike Nardone

John O’Brien

Marc Tassé, PhD


We’re honored to work with these esteemed individuals. Click here to learn more about their backgrounds.

Photo of Mike Nardone“Finding ways to better support and serve individuals with the most complex needs continues to be a challenge for Medicaid and other human services programs,” says Mike Nardone, health policy consultant, former CMS Director of Disabled and Elderly Health Programs and Pennsylvania Medicaid Director.

“As part of the Advisory Committee, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience on Medicaid, managed care, and long-term services and supports,” Nardone continues. “I have been impressed by the commitment of Benchmark and its leadership to a person-centered approach to the provision of these services as well as its continuing efforts to stay ahead of policy developments that impact its important work, thus better positioning the organization for the future.”

Hear what other Advisory Committee members have to say:

Photo of Val Bradley with quote that reads, "I know that Benchmark's work fills an important gap in services and supports to people with dual diagnoses. They are willing to take on people with complex needs in a human and person-centered approach." Val Bradley is the President Emerita of the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI).

Photo of Pat Frawley, PhD, with a quote that reads, "I participate in the Benchmark Advisory Committee because I think it is exciting, and somewhat surprising, that such a huge company is consistently striving to improve and refine their supports for individuals in need." Pat Frawley is the Director of the Vermont Crisis Intervention Network.

Photo of Ron Manderscheid, PhD, with a quote that reads, "I am glad to participate in the Benchmark Advisory Committee, because Benchmark is on the cutting edge of excellent quality services." Ron Manderscheid is the Principal of Capstones Solutions Consulting and the Former Executive Director of the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Directors.

Upcoming Conference Exhibitions

National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) Annual Meeting. Held on July 21 - 23. Visit our Development team! Sarah Chestnut and John Lovett. Benchmark Human Services Logo.

Home & Community-Based Services (HCBS) Conference and ADvancing States. Held on August 18 - 22. Visit our Development team! Sarah Chestnut and John Lovett. Benchmark Human Services Logo.


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