Keeping Up With the “People Side of Change”

35 MHVC partners certified as change management practitioners.

It was clear that DSRIP would bring change to the MHVC network. MHVC recognized that how change is implemented can make the difference between short-term success and long-term sustainability. As Dr. Damara Gutnick, MHVC Medical Director, explained, “It’s easy to say, ‘don’t resist change, embrace it.’ We want to provide our partners with the tools to help them achieve positive, long-lasting results.”

Dr. Gutnick and Joan Chaya, MHVC Director of Workforce Development and Management, have developed MHVC’s change management curriculum, “Managing the People Side of Change,” asking the fundamental question, “How can a person’s reaction to a change impact project success?” One tool is the Prosci® change management training, which offers certification to those attending the multi-day program and completing work on a real-life project.

One of the Prosci® techniques is ADKAR®, the five building blocks of successful change — Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement®. According to Chaya, “We are showing partners that there is a clear path to achieve the change they want.” These change management strategies are especially helpful in planning for behavioral health integration of substance use screening and treatment for both of these provider groups.”We also asked the question, ‘How does your organization prepare for change?’” Using a Prosci® tool, participants looked at their change characteristics and organizational attributes, and plotted the results on a grid to reveal their score. “We asked partners to think about the implications of change. For each specific change, is the risk high, medium, or low? What is the impact on people, funding, and IT?” explained Chaya. “The proven effectiveness of using change management tools will influence our MHVC engagement strategy going forward,” she said.

MHVC Partners Embrace Change Management
There are 35 certified change management practitioners in the MHVC network, including Katherine Brieger, Chief, Patient Experience and Staff Development for HRHCare. “When we moved our project teams through ADKAR® we saw why our Lean plans weren’t working. ADKAR® shows us how to incorporate a communications plan to foster long-lasting change.” Brieger had two major takeaways. “Unless you have a formal process to make change happen you will not achieve permanent change.” The other area of great interest was how to address interdepartmental change. “This was a big challenge for most participants; they realized that If they had a formal change management plan they would be able to move forward more successfully,” Brieger said.

Change management is inextricably connected to business results, and good results always include an understanding of the impact of the change on people. “The MHVC change management training was perfect for the productivity and revenue enhancement project I brought to the program,” said Mark Sasvary, LCSW, Director of Clinical Services, Hudson Valley Mental Health, Inc. (HVMH), Poughkeepsie. “We operate eight adult outpatient mental health clinics and are dealing with very high no-show rates, which affects our productivity, morale, and bottom line. We are using these change management techniques to figure out strategies to solve this problem.”

HVMH started their project in November and will conclude at the end of 2018. ADKAR surveys were designed for specific teams — management, senior leadership, directors, clinical staff, etc. — to identify barriers at each level, for each sector. “We learned that the areas with the greatest need for improvement are around ability and reinforcement; that we had good awareness, and our staff desired knowledge. We saw that our ‘barrier points’ — challenges — started at knowledge, so we could focus there as a starting point,” said Sasvary.

Adapting change management to HVMH’s clinical work accelerated buy-in. “As a clinician, I was most familiar with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is about teaching and changing behaviors based on evidence, practices, and advances over time. Prosci® is also based on changing behaviors and thinking to get different results, so I could use ‘CBT language’ with our clinicians to explain Prosci®, which is based on what they do every day in their clinics. It was very powerful.”

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