Case Study

This study was conducted by Paul J. Strawhecker Inc.

Building Better Tomorrows

The need for competent, professional mental health and addiction treatment services is well-documented in central South Dakota.

According to a May 2016 study by Avera St. Mary’s Hospital, “The Health of Central South Dakota, A Community Needs Assessment,” one of the most important community needs identified in the assessment’s  interviews, surveys and focus group is the need for increased psychiatric services.

Data from the 2015 South Dakota Health Study by the Helmsley Charitable Trust shows that on average, in CACS’ nine-county service area in central South Dakota, 45 percent of those responding stated that some or all of their mental health needs are going unmet. This figure was greater than 83 percent of those responding in  Hughes County.

Integrated, Holistic Care for Clients and Families

CACS clinical staff employ a “strengths-based” approach with clients. This approach focuses on the individual’s strengths, which are then optimized to mitigate the struggles they are having. Every new person receiving services is screened for addiction and mental health issues, as the research suggests, regardless of their presenting problem. Appropriate clinical services are then delivered through one of our three Integrated Clinical Teams (ICT).

Nationally, studies have shown that “integrated care” for clients and their families is best practice. The way CACS has embraced this concept is by developing Integrated Clinical Teams. Each team has a blend of clinical expertise including social workers, addition counselors, clinical specialists and nurses. Clients also have the
option to include supportive family and friends as part of their personal treatment Team.

Facility Challenges

Although CACS is an innovator in mental health and addiction treatment and provides state-of-the-art care, its facilities present challenges for staff and clients alike.

Throughout its history, CACS has provided services in multiple office locations. CACS has been renting office space in Pierre and Fort Pierre for more than 20 years, always watching the rental and sales market in hopes of being able to consolidate into one space. Rental stock or buildings for sale of the size CACS needs to accommodate 50 to 75 employees, plus parking for staff and clients, simply do not exist in the area.

Currently, the majority of the 60 mental health and addiction treatment staff are located in three separate buildings in the Pierre community:

CACS Outpatient therapy, Adult addiction treatment, Psychiatric and Corporate offices are on the 3rd floor of the old Avera St. Mary’s Hospital at 803 E. Dakota Avenue. This space was originally designed and built in the early 1960’s as the OB/GYN floor.

The Psychiatric Rehabilitation offices, serving adults with serious mental illnesses, is located at 115 S. Huron Street. The front part if this building is a turn-of-the-century, stucco house. The back area was built on by CACS in 1995.

Adolescent addictions treatment, Family-based services, and Therapeutic Foster Care offices are located in an old building at 2510 E. Franklin Street on the east side of town.

Click here to see photos of the current facilities.

This arrangement frequently causes confusion for clients and family members in knowing where to go for services. In addition, it is extremely inconvenient for many CACS clients, including adults with the most severe disabilities who must regularly go to two different buildings, in separate parts of town, to get the services they require.

The CACS clinical staff is also affected by working in multiple locations. Although each Integrated Clinical Team meets weekly, bringing staff together from different office buildings, they often need to consult with one another regarding clients between meetings. Unfortunately, because staff are at different sites, it is challenging for them to quickly consult about meeting client needs and coordinate treatment.

In addition, the buildings are old, difficult to maintain, and do not lend CACS the opportunity to integrate cutting edge technology to expand its telepsychiatry services. With the growing need for psychiatric services, the shortage of available psychiatrists and the cost of providing that service, CACS must have the ability to utilize efficient, creative delivery mechanisms now and in the future.