Gina Thorne: Hello everyone, this is Gina Thorne and welcome to the Lakeview Podcast Series. It’s my pleasure today that I’m joined with Jamie Bogenshutz who is the Executive Director for the YES Community Counseling Center in Massapequa, New York and Levittown, New York as well. Ok, well it’s a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for joining us today. So before we get started, I’m interested in learning more about you and your background. How did you get into the field of addiction?
Jamie Bogenshutz: Well, I’ve been a social worker, I graduated many years ago with my MSW, and quite frankly, just working in a population of adolescence, and it really just kind of drove us to a place where, when working with adolescence, you have to be mindful of all the issues they confront and certainly substance abuse was one of those major issues that we had no choice but to really embrace and learn how to treat so we can make a difference.
Gina: That’s wonderful. And you’re currently the Executive Director of the YES Community Counseling Center. It’s based in southeastern Nassau County in New York and you’ve been around since 1977, if I understand correctly, but it went through a name change. So initially it started out as the Youth Environmental Services? Is that right?
Jamie: Yes, when we first opened the doors, the agency was really entrenched in the world of adolescence and originally the founding fathers and mothers of the community wanted to do something and use the acronym of YES. So they really believe strongly that our mission was to really look at youth and their environment to see how we can improve their lives, their quality of life and address the issues that they face. So Youth Environmental Services was a very appropriate name for us when we first began, but as years moved on and our scope of service expanded beyond young people we knew that we had to change the name and we tried to change our name to something bigger than the YES acronym; it didn’t work because we had been YES for so long so we really just embraced the YES, we lost the Youth Environmental part, and now we treat anyone from children up through adulthood. So the YES Community Counseling Center is much more reflective of what we do.
Gina: I think that’s positive. It’s a really positive approach and I love the brand for that, which is great. So you currently work with families. Can you describe the importance of the family and the work that you all do when it comes to doing the patient therapy?
Jamie: Because we started as an organization that, really, again, embraced adolescence and young children, we really knew that in order to effect any change with kids, we would really be remised if we didn’t include family members in part of the treatment process. So from the very, very beginning we’ve always embraced working with families and parents, engaging them in the counseling process so that we can effect some real change because without having the family members; the parents, the siblings, grandparents (when necessary), we knew that change would just be very short-term.
Gina: And you work with families and patients from all walks of life. So adolescents all the way up through older adults, from my understanding.
Jamie: And children as well.
Gina: And children, yes. And so part of it, I remember we talked about it last night, you also work with folks from the court systems. So you obviously have an ability to really navigate working with folks who are coming from jail, so that’s important for the people in the audience to hear is that you can help them with some of that early exposure to life outside of jail and what they need to do to kind of get back on their feet.
Jamie: Absolutely. You know, being a community-based agency that’s been entrenched in the neighborhood for close to 40 years, it’s very important that we be a part of the culture of the community. Whether that be probation, whether it be the school district, whether it just be parents and families, whether it be the parent-teachers organization, we needed to network and collaborate with all the players in the community because that’s the only way that we’re going to be able to respond to all the challenges and issues that emerge.
Gina: It’s the “It takes a village” approach, which is awesome. That’s great. So you have two primary locations, but you also have a third location. Can you tell us a little about each one of those?
Jamie: Sure. I mean, over the past years our main headquarters have been in Massapequa historically. Within the past five years or so, we took over another site in the Levittown community which is a neighboring community. And then more recently, a year ago, we took over another site in another community, Bethpage, which is close to us. We’ve been working really hard to try and make sure that within each one of those buildings and each one of those sites that we can replicate services as best as possible so that regardless of what building you’re in, those services are available to you. Sometimes that’s not always possible and when it’s not, we certainly try to provide an opportunity for clients to be able to avail themselves for all the services. So they may actually be seen in one building for one service and then perhaps for a specific group, whether it is a wellness group or something like that, they may have to go to another facility. But all the sites are within five miles of each other so it’s really very close.
Gina: That’s great. And in regards to payment, do you all work with insurance, are you a sliding scale facility, how does that work?
Jamie: We are a sliding scale facility and because we are multi-funded we have different criteria for the different programs, but by and large, everyone who comes into the office who receives services, our hope is that we are going to work with them regardless of their ability to pay. So we accept insurance, we have a sliding scale; we don’t turn anyone away based on their inability to pay. We really feel strongly that everyone is entitled to treatment on any level so we work very closely with families and insurance companies to do whatever we can to make sure they have service.
Gina: That’s fantastic, especially in light of that there’s always a need and access is such a big issue when you’re talking about accessing treatment so it’s nice that you take that barrier away.
Jamie: And accessing good treatment, because you know, our staff are amazingly, extraordinarily competent and qualified people. So the service that someone pays for in our organization is no different than the private practitioner that they may be paying four and five times more. We really are very, very blessed in that regard.
Gina: That’s great. So this is your first time here at Lakeview, your first time visiting with us here in Jacksonville, what can you tell us about your thoughts and impressions regarding the program?
Jamie: I think it’s very safe to say that we’ve been very impressed with the facility, only wishing that perhaps you were closer so that we can have you in our backyard, but certainly our takeaway has just been that the staff have been extraordinary. You can see the level of commitment and belief in the work that you do here, so for us it’s wonderful to know that there are resources like this that we can use for those clients that can benefit from this kind of facility. So we’ve been very, very impressed and very grateful for this opportunity because it has been very eye-opening for all of us.
Gina: That’s wonderful. Well thank you for taking the time to come down and visit with us. We appreciate that. We’re excited about building a partnership with YES Counseling Center as well. If someone needed to access services at your organization, how can they get in touch with you?
Jamie: Well, really three ways. Certainly they can just call us at 516-799-3203. They can get to us, if they wanted to learn about the program before they actually found us, they can get to us on our website which is www.yesccc.org or they can even email us as well at [email protected].
Gina: Good. Excellent. Well, thank you Jamie, for taking the time to visit with us today and for those of you that are interested in learning more about Lakeview Health, we invite you to visit us at LakeviewHealth.com or if you know someone who needs inpatient treatment, feel free to give us a call at 866.704.7692 .
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