Archived News & Events - April 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016

NHS Human Services Foundation Donor Appreciation Breakfast

The Reverend Dr. Herbert Lusk, II, former Philadelphia Eagles running back and Pastor of the Greater Exodus Baptist Church in Philadelphia, delivered an inspirational message of thanks and gratitude during breakfast to more than 100 guests on Friday, April 29, 2016 at the Foundation’s Donor Appreciation Breakfast. Held at the Philadelphia Country Club in Gladwyne, PA, the organization recognized its donors who have contributed more than $1,000 during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. Michael Mitchell, NHS Human Services Foundation Board Chairman and Joseph Martz, Chairman/CEO of NHS presented the 2016 awards.

The Foundation Award was presented to Emerald Advisers, Inc., Higher Information Group, and Todd and Karen Markle. These companies and individuals have contributed $1,000 or more annually over the past 10 years.   

The Beacon of Hope Award
was presented to Ruth Thomas Boss, Joe and Ginny Leonard, Barry and Marsha Rothman, and Frank and Rae Unger.  This group of parents successfully sued the commonwealth of Pennsylvania on behalf of their adult children who are autistic to live independently.  In addition, Michael Barton, NHS Executive Vice-President of Behavioral Health Services, was presented with this award for his dedication and commitment to NHS Human Services Foundation over the past 18 years. The Beacon of Hope Award is presented annually to individuals who have served as a beacon of light for those seeking a ray of hope.

The I Am NHS Award
was presented to John Givnish, Givnish Family Funeral Homes for their dedication in celebrating the lives of our consumers with the dignity they deserve.  This award is presented annually to individuals who have given unselfishly of themselves in raising awareness and providing resources to ensure all citizens are treated as equal partners in our communities.

The Above and Beyond Award
was presented to 11 year old Zachary Rink. Zachary donated $250 to Fresh Start Veteran’s Program in honor of his friend, mentor and neighbor who was a veteran of WWII. This first time award is presented to an individual who exemplifies characteristics synonymous with the military phrase “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty.”

The NHS Human Services Foundation thanks all of its donors for making a difference in the lives of the 40,000 individuals who are served by NHS. Without you, our mission would be impossible to achieve.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

NHS and NHS/AVS Present at Eighth International Conference on eHealth in Venice, Italy

International Academy, Research, and Industry Association

Vice President of Administrative and Professional Services in the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Division, Sherri Portnoy, and Administrator for the IDD Division, Shaleea Shields, presented at The Eighth International Conference on eHealth, Telemedicine, and Social Medicine’ in Venice, Italy on April 24-28, 2016. Their presentation and paper, called “Planning for Sustainability: Multiple Technologies for Different Care Models” was co-authored by Sherri, Shaleea and Rene Burke, consultant for the IDD Division. The paper, a scientific document that was accepted into a refereed journal, is a comprehensive summary of all of the progress that NHS and NHS/AVS have made in the last three years introducing Assistive Technology into the IDD care model. The paper and presentations discussed the impact that integration of eHealth (Electronic Health) into the routine delivery of care is an important element in the maintenance of health care costs, and how these technologies aid in the provision of care to individuals with IDD or Severe and Persistent Mental Illness.

The conference, managed by the International Academy, Research and Industry Association (IARIA), is one of numerous conferences held worldwide relating to the advancements of digital technology and the impact in our communities. With support from a consultant at Drexel University, Dr. Anthony Glascock, the paper was accepted to be presented and the co-authors were asked to participate in panel discussions at the conference. Sherri presented on the panel “Telemedicine Health Living, Patient Role in Mobile Adaptable Healthcare: Awareness and Accessibility”, and Shaleea presented on the panel “Digital Healthy Living: How to Design for Healthy Living?”

Great job to the co-authors of this paper, and especially to all staff who work in the IDD Division who support our individuals with the use of these technological advancements.

Monday, April 25, 2016

NHS Center for Hope in New York Revitalizes the City of Newburgh

Congratulations to NHS Center for Hope in Newburgh, NY, for being recognized by the City Council of Newburgh and Mayor Judy Kennedy for all their efforts in making the city more beautiful for residents and visitors. Upon receiving their award, they were also congratulated on their garden that the youth care for, and on the new center that recently opened.

NHS Center for Hope in New York Revitalizes the City of Newburgh
NHS Center for Hope in New York Revitalizes the City of Newburgh

Pictured: Carl Jack, program director and Lakiesha Hill, assistant program director

Monday, April 25, 2016

Spectrum Makes Headlines in Allegheny Center

Spectrum Makes Headlines in Allegheny CenterJustin moved into his new home on August 17, 2015, in Allegheny Center, after residing in the NHS Long Term Structured Residence in Russellton, PA. With the support of his team, Justin continues to make a successful transition towards his goal of independent living. He is very involved in his community, and currently plays in a band named Spectrum. The three person band formed last year, and have opened for a local band - Nied's Hotel Band on multiple occasions. Justin plays guitar and also sings for the band. The band was recognized in the local newspaper for their success and many talents. The three members of the band are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, as the article states, the band has "seized opportunities for true integration into the community to show how great and talented people are, despite their diagnosis." Great job to Justin, and to his band mates for continuing to make a difference in their community!

Friday, April 22, 2016

NHS Lehigh Valley Sanctuary "Kick" Off

In recognition of the Sanctuary Model, NHS Lehigh Valley Center hosts monthly teambuilding activities throughout the different programs. The Extended Acute Care (EAC) program hosted a kickball social hour, on April 22, for programs to enjoy a lunch social and a friendly game of kickball. Residents participated in making signs and lunch, including sandwiches, summer salad, fruit/veggies, and snacks. They also created tie-dyed t-shirts and decorative pens to sell at the event for their resident business. Staff from NHS Lehigh Valley Center Administration, Dual Diagnosis Treatment Team (DDTT), and Family Based Therapy joined in the event. The pastor from the church across the street also joined us! Everyone enjoyed lunch and then split into two teams to play- EAC (staff, residents, and church) versus DDTT and Family Based. After a rousing game, the DDTT and Family Based team won, but everyone enjoyed the friendly competition and teambuilding event.

NHS Lehigh Valley Sanctuary Kick Off
NHS Lehigh Valley Sanctuary Kick Off
NHS Lehigh Valley Sanctuary Kick Off
NHS Lehigh Valley Sanctuary Kick Off
NHS Lehigh Valley Sanctuary Kick Off
Friday, April 22, 2016

Giant Gives back at the NHS Stevens Center

In celebration of Earth Day, Tara Taylor and Cindy Bowermaster, staff at NHS Stevens Center, are proudly sitting on a bench donated to the NHS office by GIANT/MARTIN's. For over a decade, GIANT/MARTIN'S has donated recycled benches to local communities. Customers are encouraged to recycle their plastic bags at their stores. More than 10,000 plastic bags are then manufactured into a single bench! Throughout the years, GIANT/MARTIN’S has donated over 1,500 benches to various community organizations. Tara submitted a proposal, last year, to receive one of their benches and NHS Stevens Center was selected as a recipient, just in time for Earth Day 2016!

Giant Gives back at the NHS Stevens Center

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Fresh Start Recognized for Supporting our Veterans

Fresh Start participated in the annual “Veterans Helping Veterans” event on Saturday, April 16 at Delaware County Community College. The event, sponsored by PA Link To Aging and Disability Resources, gave Fresh Start the opportunity to provide outreach and assist veterans to find housing, obtain benefits, and to provide information about VA and other community-based resources. Congressman Pat Meehan, who attended the event, personally thanked Fresh Start for their work with veterans. Fresh Start will also participate in the annual Philadelphia Veterans fair held outside of the Municipal Services building on April 20, 2016. Please come out and join us! Special thanks to Tracy Halliday, Delaware County’s Director of Mental Health for inviting us to Saturday’s event.

Fresh Start Recognized for Supporting our Veterans
Fresh Start Recognized for Supporting our Veterans
Friday, April 15, 2016

NHS Twin Lakes Office Consumer Advisory Board Collects Donations for Local Animal Shelter

The Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) at NHS Twin Lakes donated blankets, toys, food, treats, shampoo, collars, and pet coupons to a local animal shelter. The CAB decorated collection boxes to be posted at residential facilities and administrative offices. Great job, CAB at NHS Twin Lakes, for your efforts and contributions!

NHS Twin Lakes Office Consumer Advisory Board Collects Donations for Local Animal Shelter

Pictured L-R (back row): Bethany (shelter staff), David G., Richard L., Marilyn S. | L-R (front row): Joy W., Ann S.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

NHS DDTT Staff Present at Statewide Positive Practices Meeting

PA DHS logoNHS DDTT Lead Clinical Specialists, Molly Brown-Steranko and Kristin Cline presented at the Statewide Positive Practices meeting in Mechanicsburg, PA on April 7. This meeting was jointly hosted by the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse and the Office of Developmental Programs where more than 200 stakeholders attended to hear about services for individuals living with both a mental health challenge and intellectual or developmental disability. NHS presented outcomes, boasting a 63.4% success rate for individuals in service, attaining their highest prioritized treatment goals at the end of services.

Thank you to all DDTT teams for providing high quality, person-centered and holistic treatment services for the individuals we serve!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

NHS Selected to Participate in GPNP Behavioral Health Cohort

Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership (GPNP)The Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership (GPNP) has convened a Behavioral Health Public Policy Cohort sponsored by Dollar Bank and Staunton Farm Foundation. NHS’ Behavioral Health Division in Southwestern PA, under the leadership of Tinnesia Snyder, applied for and was accepted to the cohort which began its meetings this month.

The background for the formation of the cohort came from understanding that legislators at the state and local level have accelerated their thinking on how behavioral health services should be funded, and how those services should be delivered. There will be many changes over the next decade that will reshape the field including insurance company consolidations, Medicaid expansion, application of treatment outcomes data, state and local fiscal challenges, and increasing accountability requirements. Getting ahead of the trends is critically important for any organization that intersects with these issues; however, service providers are often the last to know of emergent trends and how they will be rolled out. Consequently providers often need to be reactive rather than proactive in shaping the future of the field. For this reason, GPNP/Forbes Fund, in partnership with AHCI, Dollar Bank and Staunton Farm sought applications for and is hosting the Public Policy Cohort in Behavioral Health.

Over the coming months, Tinnesia and 16 of her colleagues from other provider organizations throughout the region will be meeting to discuss trends. Through their discussions and meetings with legislators and others, they will make sure that providers, on behalf of their consumers, have input toward shaping the industry’s future so those who need behavioral health supports will be well served by strong and stable organizations. Watch for additional information about this exciting and important initiative and how you can help to make a difference!

About GPNP: GPNP engages and connects nonprofits across missions to build partnerships that strengthen the effectiveness and sustainability of services provided to the community. For more information about GPNP, visit

Monday, April 4, 2016

Congratulations to NHS Delaware County for Being Selected as Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Model!

NHS Delaware County, in Sharon Hill, PA, has been selected by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services as one of the 16 behavioral health clinic sites to participate in the State’s Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) planning grant. NHS Delaware County, and the other selected clinics, will work with the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) over the next six months to develop the State’s application for a two year CCBHC pilot implementation grant from SAMHSA and will become the implementation sites for the CCBHC model if Pennsylvania is awarded a two year CCBHC pilot grant.

The nine CCBHC core services that the selected clinics will provide include:

  • Crisis Services,
  • Targeted case management,
  • Outpatient mental health and substance abuse services,
  • Patient-centered treatment planning,
  • Screening, assessment, and diagnosis,
  • Psychiatric rehabilitation services,
  • Peer and family support,
  • Care for veterans and members of the military,
  • Outpatient primary care screening and monitoring.

The federal Excellence in Mental Health Act established the CCBHCs as a way to improve the quality and effectiveness of behavioral health care. Further, the payment mechanism for services will shift from fee-for-service to a prospective payment system. Participation in this grant process will transform the delivery of care and will place NHS at the forefront of change in behavioral health care.

The State’s application for the two year grant for implementation of CCBHCs will be submitted in October 2016, and the federal notice of awards, to a total of eight states, will occur in January 2017. If Pennsylvania is one of the grantees, the implementation will begin on July 1, 2017 and continue to June 30, 2019. The pilot CCBHCs will be monitored over that two year period, and at the end of the two years, there will be an evaluation to determine whether the model improved the quality of care, the effectiveness of care, and the cost of care. If the model accomplishes those goals, it could become the national standard for the delivery of community behavioral health services.

Congratulations to Don Thompson, Bill DiGeorge, and the staff at NHS Delaware County for leading the way in this exciting opportunity!

PA DHS logoRead the complete press release distributed by the PA Department of Human Services.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Goals for Giving 2016 Exceeds Expectations

Imagine hearing the shouts of “GOAL!!!” That was the intensity of emotion at NHS Human Services Foundation’s 12th Annual Goals for Giving Hockey benefit on Sunday, April 3, 2016 at the Flyers Skate Zone in Northeast Philadelphia. The NHS Blues hosted the Flyers Alumni Team for their annual face-off geared at raising funds and awareness for NHS. With humble beginnings raising just $1,700 in the first year, this year exceeded all expectations raising $145,000, surpassing the goal of $125,000.

Until this year, the NHS Blues were completely comprised of amateur hockey enthusiasts, several who have skated with them for many years. This year, the NHS Blues were able to recruit former Philadelphia Flyers Ray Allison, Todd Fedoruk, Larry Goodenough, Brian Propp and Kjell Samuelsson to boost their confidence and skill level.

The 2016 edition of the Flyers Alumni team welcomed for the first time to this event Danny Briere and Brad Marsh. Other players included Frank Bialowas, Terry Carkner, Doug Crossman, Len Ellis, Jordan Grant, Bob Kelly, Mitch Lamoureux, Rob MacInnis, Dave MacIsaac, Brett Watson, Chase Watson and Joe Watson.

History was made when both the game and the meet & greet reception at Chickie’s & Pete’s were sold out, but as always the Blues lost the game 4-2. Special recognition to our MVP, Matt “it’s gotta be the pants” Baldino and the Blues first year coach, Mike Hummel.

A huge thank you to all who supported Goals for Giving, especially our event sponsors American Heritage Federal Credit Union, Lintons Managed Services and Sweenscape. We look forward to next year!

Monday, April 04, 2016

NHS Lights it up Blue for Autism Awareness