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Temporary Relocation of White Bird Medical Clinic

We have officially moved our clinic for the remodel that is being done at 1400 Mill Street. Our new location is 450 W. 5th Avenue. Our temporary space has one medical exam room and one behavioral health room for seeing patients. There are no walk-up appointments being offered at this time. While our capacity to see patients in person have been somewhat reduced, we continue to offer tele-med and tele-psych appointments in addition to in-person care and we have resumed accepting new patients who wish to establish care with a primary care provider.

We are looking forward to returning to the remodeled clinic! Post-remodel, the medical clinic will give us the opportunity to serve a lot more patients with the addition of a walk-in clinic. There are so many new possibilities for increased patient care on the horizon. We also have welcomed some new faces to the medical clinic staff, and are always looking to hire more!

White Bird Medical Clinic is not handling the scheduling or administering COVID vaccination shots. White Bird vaccination clinic is a separate team, operating at the WOW Hall. Please do not direct calls or questions about vaccination to the medical clinic, as it ties up our phones and interferes with patient care. Please refer those who wish to register for vaccination or have questions regarding vaccination, click here or call the vaccination scheduling line at (541) 246-2341. Thank you!

White Bird Medical Clinic provides compassionate health care to people who might not otherwise get care, treating all with dignity and respect. We offer quality health care to everyone on a sliding fee scale. 

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff Visits White Bird Clinic’s Vaccine Site

Emhoff Highlights White Bird’s Vaccination Equity Efforts

Download Press Release

EUGENE, OREGON – Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, Governor Kate Brown, and Representative Peter DeFazio visited White Bird’s vaccination clinic to learn about the agency’s work advancing COVID-19 vaccination equity by forming innovative partnerships with community-based organizations.

With strong support from the Biden-Harris administration’s Health Center Vaccine Program and funding from the American Rescue Act, federally qualified health centers such as White Bird Clinic are on the front lines of promoting vaccine equity. Oregon’s 34 FQHC’s care for almost half a million patients and serve as the cornerstone of the regional healthcare system, providing care for underserved communities, including communities of color. White Bird has vaccinated more than 2,500 people, approximately 40% of whom identify as non-white, in a state that is 75% white. In partnership with organizations serving communities of color, White Bird will operate mobile vaccination clinics that meet people where they are at, in order to reduce disparities in health and healthcare.

The community organizations will develop culturally appropriate messaging and implement outreach strategies that best reach their constituents, then sponsor easily accessible vaccination clinics. White Bird will bring its mobile medical unit to each site and provide vaccine and the clinical staff that will administer it and then monitor recipients post-inoculation.

The federal Health Center Vaccine Program provides White Bird with a direct supply of all three vaccines and the American Rescue Act’s allocation of $7.6B to Health Centers includes funding for vaccination initiatives such as White Bird’s. “The Biden-Harris administration’s philosophical and financial support for vaccination equity is the wind behind our sails in our effort to ensure that no one misses the opportunity to be vaccinated,” said Chris Hecht, Executive Coordinator.

Nationally, the vaccination rate of BIPOC individuals is roughly half that of whites. The Biden-Harris administration’s priority to reduce disparities in the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines will mitigate the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color and reduce health and healthcare disparities. Achieving high vaccination rates across individuals and communities is essential to achieving broader population immunity.

The entire community is working together to make this project a success. Nurses, doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other medically-trained community members volunteer to administer vaccines. Project partners including Centro Latino Americano, Downtown Languages, St. Mark CME church, Huerto de la Familia, and 8:46 Justice Today are mobilizing their constituents and promoting vaccination. The Community Center for the Performing Arts/WOW Hall provides their music venue as a facility. Support for the project is provided by PeaceHealth, Pacific Source, and the Lane Community Health Council.

Health Center Administrator

The aim of this position is to provide leadership and direction to improve existing systems and resources at the medical clinic and other health center programs at White Bird Clinic; to represent the FQHC in the local professional and planning communities; to develop closer coordination between the Medical Clinic and other White Bird FQHC programs; and to seek additional backing in order to sustain and expand White Bird’s capacity to deliver medical services to underserved populations in our community.

Responsibilities:

  • Health Center Management and Coordination- Coordinate ongoing functions required for White Bird Clinic to maintain the Federally Qualified Health Center and in compliance with our grants and accepted physical and behavioral health practices.
  • Strategic Planning – Oversee FQHC development and future planning with focus on the Medical Clinic.
  • Project Compliance and Reporting Management – Project Management (PM) and train others in PM skills for complex projects at Medical and other FQHC funded programs (i.e.: PCPCH Recognition, Meaningful Use Certification, etc.)
  • Finance – Track and predict Program financial status, including P&L and balance sheet.
    Work with program staff and agency administrative groups and individuals to maximize efficiency of program resources.
  • Grant Applications – Grants: Research opportunities, write proposals, review Admin drafts, and make sure Program is in compliance with requirements.
  • Revenue Generation – Provide oversight and direction of revenue streams, insurance billing, and maintenance of EPM patient records.
  • QI Oversight – Medical Program’s Quality Assurance Officer (PCPCH). Providing oversight, and prioritization of quality initiatives for the Medical Program. Support FQHC programs in QAQI efforts.
  • FQHC: Keep up to date on requirements for maintaining White Bird Clinic’s FQHC status.
  • White Bird Collective – Liaison with other White Bird Programs.
  • Local Politics – Represent the Program and the Clinic in CCO/Coordinated Care Meetings both in the Clinic and in the Community.
  • HIPAA – Medical Program HIPAA Security Officer (MU)
  • FQHC Management – Coordinate Medical Administrative meeting and FQHC related meetings to steer program development and population-based healthcare management (PCPCH)

Requirements:

  1. Five (5) years of experience in progressively more responsible human service, FQHC, or medical administrative positions.
  2. Three (3) years of experience in a primary care medical care clinic.
  3. Extensive knowledge of Federally Qualified Health Center management
  4. Working knowledge of PCPCH, Meaningful Use, Population Based Healthcare, PDSA Quality Assurance Framework, and Metrics based management techniques.
  5. Extensive knowledge of EHR/EPM systems.
  6. Strong project management, attention to detail, written and oral communication skills
  7. Proven leadership and relationship management skills
  8. Ability to work independently and to a deadline
  9. Patience, intelligence, communication skills and a sense of humor
  10. Complete new employee orientation employee must complete NBT orientation.

Preferred:

  1. Experience in working in a consensus environment
  2. Bi-lingual English and Spanish

This position is being hired for 40 hours a week at $30.00/hr to $40.00/hr DOE and will report to the Medical Director and Clinic Coordinators. Six-month probation period.

Apply Now

White Bird Clinic Supports the Right to Rest Act

On Thursday, March 4th, White Bird Clinic committed to endorsing the Oregon Right To Rest Act (HB 2367). We know from experience that the criminalization of homelessness harms our entire community: public funds drained by punitive measures and “clean-up” initiatives only deepen poverty by creating legal barriers to exiting homelessness.

Penalizing people for living in public when no other options are available is not a deterrent, it is cruel and unusual punishment. Saddling people living in extraordinarily difficult circumstances with fines they can not pay and criminal records that create additional barriers to housing and employment has not prevented homelessness in Lane County, it has created chronic homelessness on a scale unseen in other communities across the United States.

Our municipalities have invested enormous resources in the enforcement of anti-homeless laws (including policing, court processing costs, and incarceration). These policies are often enforced in a discriminatory manner and force people living unsheltered into unsafe and unsanitary situations where the risk of being attacked is increased. Sleep is essential to everyone’s health, well-being, and ability to function. The lack of rest resulting from constant harassment exacerbates and causes physical and mental health issues.

Federal research confirms what many homeless community members already know: the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness has clearly stated that successful responses to homelessness must include an end to criminalization practices, as well as the provision of housing and supportive services. It is not enough to create housing, we must also prevent harm.

This bill does NOT give people the right to leave trash about, urinate in public, aggressively panhandle, block a doorway or passageway, or engage in destructive activities. This bill simply makes it legal for people to move freely, rest, sleep, protect themselves from the elements, eat and share food, and other basic acts necessary for human survival.

The Right To Rest Act (HB 2367) is critical life-saving legislation for our houseless community. It has been called the bill that cannot be killed because of the amount of overwhelming public support it has received in all of the states it has been heard.

But despite HB 2367 receiving an overwhelming amount of public support, the March 9th committee hearing for Right to Rest was suddenly and unexpectedly canceled by the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bynum, the day before the hearing. This came as a shock to endorsers of the bill, all those who had submitted written testimony (80+ people), those who were planning to submit written testimony, and/or those who signed up to speak at the hearing.

The public was outraged! Thanks to everyone who contacted Chair Bynum asking her to reschedule the hearing for the Right to Rest Act. Due to overwhelming public pressure, HB 2367 was rescheduled for a public hearing and work session on April 13th at 1pm, and all of the written testimony that was previously removed is back online!

White Bird Clinic has joined in submitting joint testimony with Western Regional Advocacy Project, Rural Organizing Project, and others to add our voices to demand that the City offer emergency shelter, affordable housing, resources, and legal places to rest. We need to decriminalize homelessness and help support and stabilize our clients so they can access the resources they need, including first and foremost, the right to sleep. Please join us in supporting the Oregon Right To Rest Act (HB 2367) by submitting your written testimony before the hearing before legislators on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 1:00 PM PST. You can also register to testify remotely by phone at 833-588-4500.

White Bird and CAHOOTS are excited to submit the following joint testimony in support of the Right to Rest Act (HB 2367).

House Committee on Judiciary Chair Rep. Janelle Bynum
Vice-Chairs Reps Ron Noble and Karin Power
Committee Members Reps Ken Helm, Jason Kropf, Rick Lewis, Lily Morgan, Kim Wallan, Maxine Dexter and Marty Wilde
CC: Reps Wlnsvy Campos (sponsor), Khanh Pham, Dacia Grayber and Maxine Dexter (co-sponsors)

Re: Support Right To Rest Act HB 2367

Date: April 5, 2021

Dear Chair Bynum,

We are submitting this testimony on behalf of undersigned individuals and organizations, all of whom wholeheartedly support the Right to Rest Act, HB 2367. We acknowledge the abject failure of municipal laws that criminalize poverty and homelessness, and we recognize that passage of this legislation will result in more humane and effective responses to homelessness. At a time when Oregon is failing to fulfill our shared value that everyone deserves a safe, decent place to call home, we must stop criminalizing homelessness and redouble our efforts to ensure that we are addressing the root cause of homelessness and not the symptoms. People experiencing homelessness in our community are literally dying because they are prevented from protecting themselves from the elements and are continually pushed into hidden, unsafe areas.

Criminalization is violent, unjust, counterproductive, and creates insurmountable physical and mental barriers that prevent people from getting off the streets. Efforts to address poverty in Oregon using targeted policing strategies have increased dramatically in recent years, and yet the number of people living unsheltered continues to increase. Criminalization further entrenches people into poverty because, in addition to causing a lack of sleep that exacerbates existing physical and mental health conditions, it directly blocks pathways to stability. As people accrue “quality of life” violations, it becomes virtually impossible for them to access essential resources designated to help them: “Even minor crimes can lead to serious consequences, including the loss of a job or the denial of employment, housing, government benefits, and treatment and services” (ACLU Oregon, “Why the Right to Rest is the High Road for Oregon,” pg. 19).

Homeless people are overwhelmingly charged with crimes of survival, and the Right to Rest Act ensures that all Oregonians, regardless of housing status, are able to stand, rest and share food in public spaces. This bill does not give people the right to leave trash about, urinate in public, aggressively panhandle, block a doorway or passageway, or engage in destructive activities. It also does not alter local governments’ ability to enforce laws prohibiting trash, drug use, or public sex. The Right to Rest Act does not grant homeless people special rights, but rather protects their shared right to exist in public spaces without threat of discrimination or harassment.

When there is no public space in which homeless people are legally allowed to conduct activities that everyone must do, they will always be targets for law enforcement or private security forces. This discriminatory pattern – in which laws that will inevitably be broken are created and then brutally enforced – is as American as apple pie: the United States has a long, well-documented history of local governments using their authority to implement local time, place and manner restrictions to target “undesirable” populations and remove them from public spaces, be it Sundown Towns, anti-Okie laws, or Ugly Laws (which criminalized people with disabilities). In extreme cases, the underlying idea that the targets of such laws are disgusting or immoral means that people like James Plymell are allowed to be killed with little to no consequence. Initiatives that infringe on the most basic human and civil rights are, in fact, a dangerous and destructive attack on the only thing that very poor people have to call their own — their humanity.

The solution to homelessness is permanent housing. We must work together to ensure that truly affordable, accessible and adequate housing is available to all who need it. As long as policing remains the first, and in many cases the only response to homeless people who are experiencing mental health crises, using drugs, or simply existing in public spaces as James Plymell was, we will not be seeing the “end of homelessness” anytime soon.

In solidarity,
Right to Survive
Sisters of the Road
Portland-Metro People’s Coalition (PMPC)
Rural Organizing Project (ROP)
Rise and Resist Southern Oregon
Siskiyou Street News
Western Regional Advocacy Project
White Bird Clinic

Chrysalis Behavioral Health Substance Use Treatment Counselor

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Two (2) years experience in drug-abuse treatment and CADC (or the ability and willingness to obtain same within 12 months of beginning employment)
  • Competence in drug abuse treatment, including evaluation skills and individual, family, and group counseling expertise.
  • Individuals who are recovering from drug abuse, drug dependence, or alcoholism must have continuous sobriety for the past two years.

PREFERRED:

  • Has CADC I or above
  • Knowledge of Opiate addiction and treatment methodologies
  • Bilingual in English and Spanish
  • Experience in working in a consensus environment
  • Experience working with Electronic Health Records
  • Ability to work late afternoon, evenings, and/or Saturdays
  • Experience with online platforms to provide treatment and attend meetings

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Perform admission interviews, including necessary histories and referrals.
  • Determine eligibility, evaluate clients, perform case management and develop treatment plans.
  • Serve as primary counselor to several clients, proportionate to hours worked, possibly including couples and family counseling.
  • Participate in staff meetings and required clinic meetings and activities.  Complete required training.
  • Conduct urine surveillance activities, and if necessary, do the paperwork associated with the collected samples.
  • Assist in general office duties to back up the office staff as needed.
  • Participate in education and training for the staff and the public
  • Help organize and lead counseling groups and support groups.
  • Provide outreach to sites within the community, as requested.
  • Reports to the Program Coordinator

Must be able to successfully pass a criminal background check prior to work start date

6-month probation period

This job and its training will be a mixture of in office and online until we move fully back to in person business

Hours per week:  40; flexible schedule

Wages: $18-22/hr dependent on certification level

Apply Now

Chrysalis Behavioral Health Scribe Staff

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Ability to deal positively with the public
  • Exercises sound judgment and discretion
  • Maintains and protects confidential information as outlined in 42CFR Part 2
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills with solid knowledge of grammar, punctuation, with proofreading and paraphrasing skills
  • Computer literate with word processing skills
  • Detail oriented and ability to prioritize work
  • Well-organized and great attention to details
  • If in recovery or have a history of substance abuse, applicant must be abstinent from all psychoactive substances for at least two years
  • Ability to prioritize, adapt, and be able to problem solve
  • Be able to accept and give feedback in a positive manner
  • Ability to type at least 45 words per minute with minimal errors
  • This specific position must work their hours in the office and be available to provide accommodations to the Counselor. Examples would be acquiring lunch or beverages at meals and breaks. This time would be paid and not interfere with your scheduled break.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Ability to enter data as dictated by Counselor on paper or in the agency’s EHR
  • Scan documents to be uploaded into the agency’s EHR
  • Complete the next available New Volunteer Training
  • Reports to the Program Coordinator

Work schedule is Monday – Thursday, roughly 10am-3pm and is an in-person position

Must be able to successfully pass a criminal background check prior to work start date

  • Minimum probation period of 6 months
  • 20 hours a week
  • $15-$18/hr

Apply Now

Crisis Team Clinical Supervisor

Compensation:

30 hours per week at $22/hour. Benefits include insurance, vacation, sick, and paid holidays

Job Description:

White Bird Clinic is a consensus-based, collectively run Human Service Agency in Lane County with a strong emphasis on community participation and group process. White Bird offers a unique work environment with aspects of self-governing not often found in traditional work places.

This position will provide Clinical Supervision to the White Bird Crisis Team, a 24/7 countywide Crisis Intervention program offering both phone and walk-in services.

  • Provide at least 1 hour of clinical supervision to each Crisis Counselor 1:1 monthly related to the development, implementation, and outcome of services.
  • Attend and participate in weekly program meetings.
  • Attend and participate in program wide debriefings.
  • On-call contact as needed. On call availability is negotiable.
  • Maintain appropriate staff records to document supervision as well as compliance w agency agreements, contractual obligations, and state regulations:
  • Assist program staff to increase skills and improve quality of service.

Requirements:

  • QMHP eligible with a minimum 2 years work experience in a mental health related field.
  • Experience in clinical supervision/counseling of groups and individuals.
  • Strong foundation in ethical concepts of psychological services.
  • Strong language skills
  • Patience and humor.

Must be able to successfully pass a criminal background check prior to hire date. Probation period of 3 months.

Apply Now

Human Resources Assistant

In coordination with the Human Resources Coordinator, Quality Management Team and Administrative Team, this position will maintain accurate personnel records, assist with agency hiring, and keep agency staff aware of changing compliance issues in areas related to Human Resources, recruiting, and hiring agency staff. Position reports to the Core Administrative Team.

1.0 FTE (40 hours per week)

Pay and Benefits:  $18/hour

Requirements

  1. Ability to establish and maintain systems for accurate records and reporting
  2. Knowledge and experience in Human Resource law and personnel management
  3. Ability to learn OSHA, BOLI regulations and labor laws
  4. Training in HR and HIPAA compliance
  5. Computer competence in Microsoft Office programs
  6. Electronic recordkeeping

Responsibilities

  1. Establish systems for accurate and secure personnel files for all agency staff
  2. Help staff understand and utilize agency benefits
  3. Lead the process of new hiring, orientation and training of agency staff
  4. Ensure programs and staff are aware of and follow agency policies and state and federal regulations governing recruiting, screening, hiring, probation, orientation, training, and termination of staff
  5. Assist HIPAA Compliance Officers in creating, maintaining and following HIPAA guidelines and documentation
  6. Provide additional Administrative operational support as needed
  7. As a member of the Admin Team: attend internal meetings, program hiring, AdCo and Community meetings as needed; support fundraising efforts, monitor and keep agency vibes clean, troubleshooting; backup the work of the other Administrative positions
  8. As a member of the Admin Team: hold the White Bird perspective, share in program development and planning and in identifying and focusing attention on emergent issues/problems, assist the Community Collective in its response
  9. Attend Employee Orientation

WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR

  1. Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for jobs if they don’t meet every one of the qualifications listed. We are interested in finding the best candidate for the job, and that candidate may be one who comes from a less traditional background. If you meet key qualifications for the job, and believe you would be the best fit, we encourage you to apply.

Please use your cover letter to explain how you will accomplish parts of the job for which you have less experience. If you are unsure whether you meet the qualifications of this position, please feel free to contact us at HR@whitebirdclinic.org or 541-342-8255.

Apply Now

White Bird Clinic is one of Nine Oregon Health Centers to Join Federal Vaccine Program

Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said today that clinics in Portland, Oregon City, Grants Pass, Eugene, Tillamook, Prineville and Medford will be invited to join the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program over the next six weeks. The nine clinics join Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, the Neighborhood Health Center in Portland, Multnomah, and Lane counties in the program.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched this vaccine program to directly allocate COVID-19 vaccine to HRSA-supported health centers to ensure underserved communities and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19 are equitably vaccinated.

“Getting as many Oregonians vaccinated as soon as possible saves lives and gets our state and country that much closer to emerging from this public health and economic crisis,” said Wyden, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “A painful lesson after one year of battling coronavirus is how the virus lands especially hard on low-income Oregonians in communities of color, tribal communities and rural communities. Today’s news is a real shot in the arm to help all those communities.”

“We know that getting as many vaccines into arms as quickly as possible is key to save lives and end this pandemic,” said Merkley. “We need to do everything we can to make that happen, including ensuring that our rural, tribal, and low-income communities—who have faced unique challenges and in many ways felt the brunt of the coronavirus crisis—aren’t left out. I’m grateful that these health centers are joining this powerful vaccine program, and will continue to work to bring vaccines to underserved Oregonians in every corner of our state.”

HRSA-funded health centers are community-based and patient-centered organizations that deliver affordable, accessible, quality, and cost-effective primary health care. Nationwide, nearly 1,400 centers operate about 13,000 sites, providing primary and preventive care on a sliding fee scale to nearly 30 million patients each year. More than 91 percent of health center patients are individuals or families living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines and nearly 63 percent are racial/ethnic minorities. Health centers across the nation are playing vital roles in supporting local community responses to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Prior to today, 250 health centers were invited to this program, and include those that serve a large volume of the following: disproportionately affected populations: individuals experiencing homelessness, public housing residents, migrant/seasonal agricultural workers, or patients with limited English proficiency.

Today, an additional 700 health centers were invited to participate in the next phase of the program and include those that serve high proportions of patients living with low income and from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, provide services to rural/frontier populations, operate Tribal/Urban Indian Health Programs, and/or use mobile vans to deliver services.

  • A list of the health centers participating in or invited to join the program is here.
  • Read the full press release is here.

 

Electronic Health Records Project Manager

Pay and Benefits:
This position is being hired for up to 40 hours per week. The hourly wage starts at $26/hr, increases to $27/hr after a six-month probationary period, and tops out at $28/hr after one year of employment.

Position Overview:
The Electronic Health Records (EHR) Project Manager will work with internal and external stakeholders to analyze requirements, create specifications, build, test, and implement data and reporting solutions that are needed to support NextGen, a 3rd party vendor product. The project manager will also have specific responsibilities such as setting deadlines, assigning responsibilities, and monitoring the project’s progress. Project management responsibilities require the individual in this role to be familiar with the fiscal aspects of the project and to be able to make sure the project is also aligned with the White Bird Clinic budget.

The EHR Project Manager’s primary responsibility is EHR systems implementations.  Relevant to most implementation projects are the following:

  1. Required interfaces;
  2. Approved add on systems and clinical/application tools;
  3. Integration of various disparate workflows; and
  4. Regulatory requirements and data capture for reporting purposes.

The expectations of the EHR Project Manager include, but are not limited to:

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  1. Understand, align, and communicate project goals with key stakeholders.
  2. Communicate the project vision to stakeholders involved in the project.
  3. Utilize organizational and critical thinking skills.
  4. Provide project management leadership and support for EHR projects, and related projects (by interface or shared workflows).
  5. Gain and apply knowledge of the organization’s clinical and operational goal, processes, and challenges.
  6. Ability to create and communicate EHR budget to a variety of stakeholders.
  7. Understand and communicate the fiscal impact of the project over the short and long-term.
  8. Ability to work through conflicts.

Position Requirements:

  1. Detailed understanding of workflows along with EHR system configuration and implementation in healthcare and business operations.
  2. Demonstrated specialized knowledge of, and expertise in relational databases.
  3. Demonstrated skills working with a team to establish requirements and develop detailed report specifications.
  4. Ability to leverage interpersonal communication skills to collaborate and work cooperatively with team members and external clients to provide support and user customer needs.
  5. Assist in maintaining current documentation to ensure a high-quality result.
  6. Anticipate user needs, manage expectations, provide escalation pathways, and document resolution of any issues that may arise during support sessions.
  7. Assist the team with data validation and testing, and demonstrations as needed.
  8. Apply administrative skills to manage multiple projects.
  9. Create, manage, and implement the master EHR project plan.

Desired Qualifications:

  1. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience with 4-7 years’ experience working with an EHR, and project management or implementation preferably in the healthcare related industries including Non-Profit collaborative organizations.
  2. PMP preferred.
  3. Basic understanding of the non-profit Community Healthcare Services Collaborative, U.S. healthcare market and/or healthcare technologies preferred.
  4. Excellent organizational, communication, and writing skills
  5. Able to manage multiple priorities in a dynamic environment while maintaining a high-level of customer service in a customer-focused manner.
  6. Demonstrated commitment to social service work related to White Bird’s mission and values.
  7. Experience working in a consensus environment preferrable.

Execution:

  1. Plan and deploy reporting solutions per approved requirements.
  2. Collaborate with 3rd Party Consultants, internal IT team and other White Bird Clinic staff to ensure that reporting requirements are satisfied.
  3. Communicate effectively with internal and external stakeholders to provide training and ongoing support of reporting solutions.

Communication:

  1. Demonstrate excellent consulting skills with external clients and product vendor.
  2. Consistently apply written and verbal communication and interpersonal skills to establish working relationships that foster a collaborative team environment.

Project Management Tools:

  1. Knowledge using Project Management tools: Microsoft products (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Teams), Visio, Zoom/WebEx and Analytic tools.
  2. Familiar with Database and reporting software (MS Database, Tableau, Crystal Reports, etc.).
  3. Familiar with centralized shared documents tools (SharePoint, MS Teams for example).

Accountability

Note: This position has a 6-month probation period and reports to the Core Team.

Apply Now

White Bird Partners with the WOW Hall for COVID-19 Vaccination Program

EUGENE, OREGON – White Bird Clinic is partnering with the Community Center for the Performing Arts/WOW Hall to offer COVID-19 vaccinations. A team of volunteers will allow White Bird to vaccinate up to 800 people each week.

White Bird has opened a vaccination clinic at the WOW Hall in order to scale up vaccinations and offer an accessible indoor space in downtown Eugene. Nurses, doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other medically-trained community members have volunteered to administer vaccines, and volunteer clerical staff keep the operation running smoothly. White Bird staff coordinate the effort. The CCPA is providing the facility below cost because its new board agreed unanimously that this was the best possible use of the facility during this time of crisis.

A month ago White Bird began vaccinating health care professionals. In support of Lane County Public Health, White Bird is now vaccinating all individuals who are eligible according to the CDC. As a vital resource for Eugene and Springfield for more than fifty years, White Bird demonstrates how Community Health Centers are the cornerstone of the regional healthcare system.

To learn more and register for vaccination visit https://whitebirdclinic.org/vaccine or call 541-246-2341.

This crucial effort is only possible because volunteers are willing to give their time and expertise to help fellow community members. In addition to medical staff, the project needs greeters and all sorts of other help. Folks who would like to volunteer can visit http://bit.ly/wbc-volunteer to sign up.

The WOW Hall, located at 291 W. 8th Ave., is operated by the Community Center for the Performing Arts, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to providing cultural arts and educational opportunities for all ages and income levels and maintaining a supportive environment for local artists and their new creative efforts.

Staff at the WOW Hall and White Bird’s main offices and medical clinic do not have information on the vaccination project, and White Bird asks folks to kindly not interrupt their ongoing work providing care for our community.

In 1969, a group of student activists and concerned practitioners came together to provide crisis services and free medical care for counter-culture youth in Eugene, OR. Having grown continuously since then, today White Bird Clinic has 10 programs, 220 staff members, and more than 400 volunteers each year.

Download Press Release

birder-smiling-with-mask

White Bird is Vaccinating the Community

White Bird is taking action to advance vaccination equity in Lane County. We are operating vaccination clinics by appointment at the following locations:

  • WOW Hall: Monday and Friday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, Wednesday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM at 291 W 8th Ave, Eugene across from the Dining Room, Eugene
  • White Bird Dental Clinic is vaccinating at 1415 Pearl. Please click here or call 541-344-8302 for more infomation.

Please note that staff at the WOW Hall, White Bird’s main offices, and medical clinic do not have information on the vaccination project, and White Bird asks folks to kindly not interrupt their ongoing work caring for our community’s low-income and unhoused individuals.

Información en Español

Who is eligible for the vaccine?

As of April 19, 2021 everyone 18 and older will be eligible to be vaccinated at White Bird.

Accessibility

For folks with mobility challenges, our dental clinic location, 1415 Pearl St., is easily accessible.

Sign up to get vaccinated

Note: Our system uses text messaging to confirm that an appointment has been made. If you don’t immediately get a text confirmation, you don’t have an appointment. If necessary, you can redo the scheduling process in order to create an appointment.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR VACCINATION

Please call 541-246-2341 to register by phone or learn more about vaccination. You can also email Emily Lowery at ELowery@whitebirdclinic.org with any questions.

Standby List for Expedited Vaccination

White Bird uses a standby list to ensure that no vaccine doses ever go unused. The first step is to register above. Joining the standby list may expedite your vaccination. In order to join the standby list, you need to be able to make it to the WOW Hall in 30 min or less, and be available at one or more of the following times:

Mondays between 10AM-2PM

Wednesdays between 1PM-5PM

Fridays between 10AM-2PM

When there are extra doses available, clinic staff start calling individuals on the standby list, in order. If there is no answer, they don’t leave a voicemail. Individuals remain on the list until they are reached.

If you’d like to join the standby list, please click the button below.

SIGN UP FOR STANDBY LIST

How can I volunteer to help?

This crucial effort is only possible because volunteers are willing to give their time and expertise to help fellow community members. In addition to medical staff, the project needs greeters and all sorts of other help.

Click here to sign up to volunteer

More Information / Información en Español

Crisis 101

Responding to someone in crisis can be difficult, and knowing someone is suicidal can be scary, especially when we’re not sure how to respond. For many of us, our natural reactions to crisis can quickly escalate a situation and make things worse. That’s why professional crisis workers seek out training and practice crisis intervention strategies so that they’re prepared to navigate a crisis situation and offer support. When we develop a plan for offering support in crisis situations, it is more likely we will not go into crisis ourselves when assisting someone.

Often, for those experiencing suicidal thoughts, help can be as simple as having someone to talk to. For many, social isolation, history of trauma, mental health issues, or belonging to historically oppressed groups can lead to periods of suicidal ideation. But how do you know if someone is experiencing suicidal ideation? Often there may be signs of suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Some warning signs of suicidal ideation can include:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself
  • Seeking access to means to hurt or kill oneself
  • Talking, thinking or writing about death, dying or suicide
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Withdrawing from family, friends or society
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge, appearing agitated or angry
  • Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live, or being a burden to others
  • Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
  • Talking about great guilt or shame
  • Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
  • Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
  • Giving away important possessions

If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently. Suicidal ideation is complex and there is no single cause, people of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk. In fact, many different factors contribute to someone making a suicide attempt. But people most at risk tend to share certain characteristics known as risk factors.

Often, family and friends are the first to recognize the warning signs of suicidal ideation and can be the first to assist in reaching out and getting help. Showing someone who may be experiencing a crisis that you care can make a world of difference in their life. Know how to start the conversation. Know how to ask, “Are you suicidal?” Know how to say, “I’m here for you,” and really mean it. Be aware of resources available in your community like the White Bird Crisis Line, CAHOOTS Mobile Crisis Services or the Help Book.

Risk Factors vs. Protective Factors

Characteristic and attribute that reduce the likelihood of attempting or completing suicide are known as Protective Factors. They are skills, strengths, or resources that help people deal more adequately with stressful events. Protective Factors enhance resilience and help to counterbalance Risk Factors.

Protective Factors:

  • Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders
  • Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support for help seeking
  • Family and community support (connectedness)
  • Support from ongoing medical and mental health care relationships
  • Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes
  • Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support instincts for self-preservation

Risk factors impact our ability to manage high stress situations. Being aware of these factors can assist if you are in crisis or helping someone in crisis.

Risk Factors:

  • Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as that of family members, peers, or celebrities
  • Depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorder
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Chronic pain
  • A prior suicide attempt
  • Family history of a mental disorder or substance abuse
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Having guns or other firearms in the home
  • Having recently been released from prison or jail

Suicidal thoughts can come on at any time like a tidal wave. Like a tidal wave, suicidal thoughts can leave a wake of destruction in their path.  It is important for someone experiencing these strong thoughts and emotions to have an anchor during one these episodes. Suicidal ideation can make it seem like death is the only way out in that moment. Our rational mind may not be able to see any other solution when amid suicidal ideation. If we can help someone ride out the wave until they receive professional help, the likelihood of suicide is greatly reduced. Below are 10 steps to assist you in helping someone in crisis.

Ten Steps to Help a Person in Crisis

Step 1. Encourage the person to communicate with you.

Step 2. Be respectful and acknowledge the person’s feelings.

Step 3. Don’t be patronizing or judgmental.

Step 4. Never promise to keep someone’s suicidal feelings a secret.

Step 5. Offer reassurance that things can get better.

Step 6. Encourage the person to avoid alcohol and drug use.

Step 7. Remove potentially dangerous items from the person’s home, if possible.

Step 8. Encourage the person to call a suicide hotline number. You as the helper can also call.

Step 9. Encourage the person to seek professional help.

Step 10. Offer to help the person take steps to get assistance and support.

For our 24/7 CAHOOTS mobile crisis services, call the police non-emergency numbers 541-726-3714 (Springfield) and 541-682-5111 (Eugene). For our 24/7 crisis hotline, call 541-687-4000 or toll free at 1-800-422-7558.

CAHOOTS Communications Specialist 

Qualifications: 

  • 1-2 years experience in a communications, outreach, or advocacy position
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Highly organized, able to coordinate multiple projects on tight deadlines.
  • Ability to maintain relationships and work within a consensus-based organization.
  • Able to write and edit materials quickly, concisely, and persuasively.
  • Grounded in the intersections between anti-racism, housing, mental health, and public safety.
  • Excited to create narrative strategy with consistent input and feedback from CAHOOTS team.
  • Experience running social media campaigns  

Also Desired:  

  • Bilingual, ability to create written and verbal communication material in English and Spanish
  • Experience with field-based social services.
  • Experience with social justice organizing or policy work particularly around housing justice, mental health, harm reduction, and public safety.
  • Knowledgeable of local service providers and public safety and communications agencies.
  • Willingness to ride on CAHOOTS van (12hr/month) to gain understanding of operations 

Responsibilities: 

  1. Coordinate with the CAHOOTS team and get input from CAHOOTS team members to create messaging for the public. Design narrative strategy to support the CAHOOTS’ model being adopted in other cities and to achieve better services for our clients locally.
  2.  Represent CAHOOTS and facilitate media requests or delegate to appropriate team members.
  3.  Coordinate with White Bird Communications Team and Consulting Department regarding external communication and public representation. 
  4. Update CAHOOTS content on the website, 211 resources, and any other directories where such information needs to be kept.
  5. Provide some presentations on the CAHOOTS program to outside agencies.
  6. Run CAHOOTS social media platforms including messaging and graphics.
  7. Participation in program and clinic responsibilities including CAHOOTS program meeting and White Bird Community Meeting 
  8. Management of other routine business.
  9. Other tasks as assigned.
  10. Reports to CAHOOTS coordinators and CAHOOTS team.
  11. Complete New Staff Orientation/New Volunteer Training and 6-month probation.

Hours: 24-32/wk, medical and dental benefits at 30 hours a week. 

Term Duration: position is for one year. 

Wage: $18/hr 

Apply Now

Senators Propose Funding to Improve Public Safety with Mobile Crisis Response Teams

Press Release from Jeff Merkley, US Senator for Oregon

After Down Payment on the Policy Included in Reconciliation Relief Legislation, CAHOOTS Act Builds on Proven Models to Help Americans with Mental Illness and Enhances Medicaid Funding to States

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and six senators today proposed a bill to help states adopt mobile crisis response teams that can be dispatched when a person is experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder (SUD) crisis instead of immediately involving law enforcement. The funding is provided through an enhanced federal match rate for state Medicaid programs.

“I’m proud there is a down payment on CAHOOTS in the emergency relief package moving through Congress now,” Wyden said. “Every day there are stories across the country of Americans in mental distress getting killed or mistreated because they did not receive the emergency mental health services they needed. White Bird Clinic in Eugene, Oregon has been a pioneer for years in this area, and it’s high time the CAHOOTS model is made available to states and local governments across the country. I am eager to get the down payment signed into law and continue working to get further investments in mobile crisis services made under the bill across the finish line.”

“Individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis deserve to be treated with compassion and care by health care and social workers,”Cortez Masto said. “These professionals are extensively trained in deescalating situations and addressing mental health crises, and this legislation would help more states across the country fund mobile crisis teams. I’m hopeful that these investments in community-based crisis intervention services will be included in the final version of the current coronavirus relief package, and I’ll continue to advocate for effective, trauma-informed care for those in need.”

Earlier this month, the House Energy and Commerce Committee included a provision in its budget reconciliation language for COIVD-19 relief that makes an investment in these services by funding state Medicaid programs at an enhanced 85 percent federal match if they choose to provide qualifying community-based crisis intervention services and funding state planning grants to apply for the option. The pandemic has taken a serious toll on the mental health and wellbeing of Americans with studies showing a four-fold increase in the rates of anxiety and depressive disorders since the beginning of the pandemic.


The bill, the Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS) Act, grants states further enhanced federal Medicaid funding for three years to provide community-based mobile crisis services to individuals experiencing a mental health or SUD crisis. It also provides $25 million for planning grants to states and evaluations to help establish or build out mobile crisis programs and evaluate them.

Senators Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., are co-sponsors of the CAHOOTS Act.

 

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A one-page summary of the bill can be found here. Legislative text can be found here.

Crisis De-escalation Training

At White Bird, we follow a client-centered model and believe that each person deserves respect for his or her process. Our role is to be available to help out where we can, with the least intervention necessary to facilitate a healthy and safe process for everyone. Our de-escalation training is $300 for a group of 25 individuals and provides an overview of assessment and intervention skills so that a lay-person can maintain personal safety and recognize when someone might need help.

We have offered this training throughout Lane County and Oregon. Groups that have benefited from our presentations include local schools, churches, social service agencies, local businesses, police departments, EMS and first responder groups, and many others.
Training/Speaker Request Form

In addition to custom workshops, we also partner with the Trauma Healing project to offer individual coursework.

Date: March 31, 2021
Location:
This training will be live via Zoom – Invitation to join will be sent after registration.
Time:
2:00-4:00pm PST
Cost:
$35.  Student discounts and reduced fees available for those in need.
Registration link

Limited scholarship support available to attend these trainings, please fill out a Scholarship Request Form before registering.

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe verbal and non-verbal strategies to use in a crisis situation to help keep themselves and others as safe as possible.
  2. Utilize grounding techniques for remaining emotionally regulated during an emotionally charged intervention or conversation
  3. Demonstrate ways of interacting with people in crisis that communicates empathy, validation, and concern.
  4. Summarize helpful tools for assessing a person’s well-being and need for further support or resources.

Trainers: Ben Brubaker works as Administrative Coordinator of White Bird Clinic. He began serving White Bird in September 2006. Ben first started as a full-time Crisis Worker (Qualified Mental Health Associate) on WBC’s 24/7 Crisis Line and Walk-in Center. A few years later he joined the mobile crisis intervention team (CAHOOTS) as a Crisis Worker and presenting internal and external training for the agency.  He has worked in the mental health field for over 18 years, having held positions such as: Crisis Worker, Hurricane Katrina Relief Operational Site Coordinator, Day Counselor for youth, AmeriCorps Team Leader, and Direct Care Provider. Ben has dedicated his life to serving disadvantaged and underserved populations. 

Mental Health/Substance Abuse Counselor

  • Hiring for 40 hours
  • $22 per hour
  • Includes employee benefits at 30+ hours (e.g., medical, dental, vision, health reimbursement funds and athletic membership reimbursement)
  • White Bird is an approved National Health Service Corps (NHSC) site in which eligible applicants may receive up to $50,000 in loan repayment for an initial service commitment for 2 years.

JOB DESCRIPTION:

Serve as the primary counselor for clients experiencing mental health concerns, substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders. Conduct individual therapy, group therapy and case management; possibly including couples and family counseling. Be able to provide mental health evaluations/assessments and substance use disorder evaluations/assessments or be willing to learn how to evaluate substance use disorders. Be willing to monitor urinalyses and if necessary, do paperwork associated with the collected samples.  Assist in general office duties if needed.  Actively participate in collaborative group meetings that shape policy for both the White Bird collective and the Chrysalis department.

QUALIFICATIONS:

  1. Masters degree in counseling, psychology, or other behavioral science field with the ability to be qualified as a QMHP (Qualified Mental Health Professional).
  2. Competence in mental health care, including assessment, and individual and group counseling. Have a minimum of two years of experience conducting psychotherapy.
  3. Competence in drug abuse treatment, including assessment, and individual and group counseling. Have a minimum of two years of experience in substance use disorder treatment.
  4. CADC (or the ability and willingness to obtain the same within 12 months of beginning employment).
  5. Individuals who are recovering from drug abuse, drug dependence, or alcoholism must have continuous sobriety for the past two years.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  1. Perform admission interviews, including necessary histories and referrals for clients experiencing mental health, substance use and co-occurring disorders.
  2. Determine eligibility, evaluate clients, perform case management and develop treatment plans for clients experiencing mental health and substance use disorders.
  3. Document client interactions appropriately and efficiently.
  4. Serve as the primary counselor to a number of clients based on FTE.
  5. Provide individual and group counseling.
  6. Participate in staff meetings and required clinic meetings and activities. Complete required training and work White Bird desk shifts, per staff requirements.
  7. Conduct urine surveillance activities, and if necessary, do the paperwork associated with the collected samples.
  8. Assist in general office duties to back up the office staff as needed, answering phones, etc.
  9. Participate in education and training for the staff and the public.
  10. Complete White Bird’s New Volunteer Training (NVT) or a modified version of NVT if appropriate.

Preferred Qualifications:

  1. A SENSE OF HUMOR!!!
  2. Ability to independently manage the schedule and work effectively with minimal supervision.
  3. Ability to work later afternoons, some evenings, and Saturdays.
  4. Use a humanistic approach when working with clients.
  5. Experience and desire to work in a collaborative consensus environment.

Notes:

  • This job has a six-month probation period and you must be able to pass a background check prior to employment.
  • This job and its training will be a mixture of in-office and online until we move fully back to in-person business.

Apply Now

 

 

 

 

Protecting One Another: When to Engage Public Safety

“Protecting One Another: When to Engage Public Safety” is an hour and a half interactive and skill-based workshop. It gives context for the current conversation about policing, goes over community caregiver basics, how to access scene safety, and how to determine whether to call for emergency services, non-emergency services/ CAHOOTS, or de-escalate and address the situation directly. There’s an overview of how CAHOOTS is dispatched, a teaser for the de-escalation training, and small group time with scenario assessment. It ends with a discussion of community responses and initiatives to address Eugene’s housing and homelessness crisis.

  • Community members, business owners, neighborhood associations, and other community organizations are encouraged to attend.
  • Parts of the session can be recorded, but not the interactive sections.
  • Fill out the training/ speaker request form and mark the “When to Engage Public Safety” workshop. Mark whether you want to host a training or just attend one. Individuals will be notified of upcoming offerings.
  • The group cost is $125.00 for organizations, businesses, churches, and neighborhood associations, and no one is turned away for lack of funds.
  • The workshop is available upon request.

Trainer/ Speaker Request Form

CAHOOTS: A Model for Prehospital Mental Health Crisis Intervention

By Ben Adam Climer and Brenton Gicker

From the January 2021 edition of Psychiatric Times

Download PDF

CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) is a mobile crisis-intervention program that was created in 1989 as a collaboration between White Bird Clinic and the City of Eugene, Oregon. Its mission is to improve the city’s response to mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness.

CAHOOTS is operated by White Bird Clinic, which was formed in 1969 by members of the 1960s countercultural movement. They were interested in alternative and experimental approaches to addressing societal problems. Today, White Bird Clinic operates more than a dozen programs, primarily serving low-in-come and indigent clientele.

The CAHOOTS model was developed through discussions with the city government, police department, fire department, emergency medical services (EMS), mental health department, and others. The name CAHOOTS is based on the irony of White Bird Clinic’s alternative, countercultural staff collaborating with law enforcement and mainstream agencies for the common good.

cahoots medic

Photo by William “Bill” Holderfield

When it began, CAHOOTS had very limited availability in Eugene. It has grown into a 24-hour service in 2 cities, Eugene and Springfield, with multiple vans running during peak hours in Eugene. The program—which now responds to more than 65 calls per day—has more than quadrupled in size during the past decade due to societal needs and the increasing popularity of the program.

Programs based on the CAHOOTS model are being launched in numerous cities, including Denver, Oakland, Olympia, Portland, and others. Federal legislation could mandate states to create CAHOOTS-style programs in the near future.

Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada have proposed a bill that would give states $25 million to establish or build up existing programs. 

How Does It Work?

When CAHOOTS was formed, the Eugene police and fire departments were a single entity called the Department of Public Safety. CAHOOTS was designed to be a hybrid service capable of handling noncriminal, nonemergency police and medical calls, as well as other requests for service that are not clearly criminal or medical.

Eugene’s police and fire departments eventually split. CAHOOTS was absorbed into the police department’s budget and dispatch system. It continues to respond to requests typically handled by police and EMS with its integrated health care model.

CAHOOTS operates with teams of 2: a crisis intervention worker who is skilled in counseling and deescalation techniques, and a medic who is either an EMT or a nurse. This pairing allows CAHOOTS teams to respond to a broad range of situations. For example, if an individual is feeling suicidal and they cut themselves, is the situation medical or psychiatric? Obviously, it is both, and CAHOOTS teams are equipped to address both issues. Typically, such a call involving an individual who engaged in self-harm would result in a response from police and EMS. This over-response is rarely necessary. It can also be costly and intimidating for the patient. They are not criminals, and their wounds are often not serious enough to require more than basic first aid in the field. These patients are usually seeking help, and a CAHOOTS team is trained to address both the emotional and physical needs of the patient while alleviating the need for police and EMS involvement. If necessary, CAHOOTS can transport patients to facilities such as the emergency department, crisis center, detox center, or shelter free of charge.

CAHOOTS is contacted by police dispatchers. If you call the nonemergency police line or 911 in the cities of Eugene or Springfield, you can request CAHOOTS for a broad range of problems, including mental health crises, intoxication, minor medical needs, and more. Dispatchers also route certain police and EMS calls to CAHOOTS if they determine that is appropriate.

CAHOOTS, to a large extent, operates as a free, confidential, alternative or auxiliary to police and EMS. Those services are overburdened with psych-social calls that they are often ill-equipped to handle. CAHOOTS staff rely on their persuasion and deescalation skills to manage situations, not force. Only in rare cases do CAHOOTS staff request police or EMS to transport patients against their will.

CAHOOTS Crisis Worker

Photo by William “Bill” Holderfield

A Backup Plan

If a psychiatrist or other mental health provider in the Eugene/Springfield area is concerned about a patient, they can call CAHOOTS for assistance. This usually results in a welfare check.

Let us say, hypothetically, that you are concerned about a patient with bipolar disorder. After a lengthy period of stability, they have been complaining to you that they feel like their prescribed medication is no longer working effectively. You begin receiving phone messages and emails from them consisting of fanatical rantings and incoherent gibberish.

You are concerned, but it is not so severe that you feel compelled to call the police. Perhaps you are reluctant to call law enforcement for a variety of reasons. What do you do? You call CAHOOTS.

Having responded to a similar scenario recently, let me describe what occurred. The patient, although not expecting us, welcomed our response. They explained to us that they felt like their medication was ineffective, and, after days of mania, they were feeling depressed and suicidal.

The patient recognized their own decompensation, and eagerly accepted transport to the hospital. Their mental health care provider was informed that we were transporting them and called the hospital to provide additional information.

We transported the patient to the hospital, and they were admitted to the inpatient psychiatric unit for stabilization. Collaboration between prehospital, hospital, and outpatient services facilitated that incident as smoothly as possible.

Barriers and How to Help

Prehospital mental health crisis response is underdeveloped. Most often, police and EMS are the only options. In some cities, clinicians with masters or doctoral degrees are sent with first responders. Unfortunately, the supply of these clinicians is not enough to meet the demand, but does it need to? Ambulances do not staff medical doctors. Why should prehospital mental health care require masters/doctoral level licensed clinicians? Telepsychiatry services, while important, are no substitute for direct human contact, especially given that some patients will need to be transported to a higher level of care and many do not have the means or ability to participate in telehealth services (because of lack of capacity or lack of resources).

The biggest barrier to CAHOOTS-style mobile crisis expansion is the belief that without licensed clinicians and police, prehospital mental health assistance is ineffective and unsafe. If psychiatrists want a program like this in their area, they can help by using their considerable authority to assure the community that response teams like CAHOOTS can work. Because of their direct lines of communication to the police and familiarity with police procedures, CAHOOTS staff are able to respond to high acuity mental health crisis scenarios in the field beyond what is typically allowed for mental health service providers, which often facilitates positive outcomes and can even prevent deadly outcomes. Their support is vital for program success.

Mr. Climer worked for CAHOOTS as a crisis worker for 5 years and an EMT for 2.5 of those years. He now lives in Pasadena, CA where he helps Southern California cities develop CAHOOTS-style programs. Mr. Gicker is a registered nurse and emergency medical technician who has worked for CAHOOTS since 2008.

Interview with White Bird’s Death Doula

White Bird counselor Amy May talked with KXCR Community Radio Station‘s Larry Bloomfield in Florence, OR about her work as an End-of-Life Counselor and Death Doula. White Bird End of Life Counseling is a compassionate, client-centered service that provides support for psychosocial, emotional, and spiritual issues related to death and dying.

Our goal is to help ease people through the process of dying, especially those who could not otherwise receive support or services. When a person is terminally ill and has few resources, they may wait until their health deteriorates to the point of hospitalization before seeking services. This means not getting the necessary care until it’s unavoidable. Once the person is ill enough to visit the emergency department, they may be hospitalized or transferred to a nursing home. Our End of Life Counseling program seeks to serve clients who may otherwise be at risk of these stressful outcomes.

For more information about accessing these services, please email amymay@whitebirdclinic.org or call 458-215-1170.

Public Benefits Assistance with SSI/SSDI Applications

At White Bird, our SOAR-trained Public Benefits Advocate provides assistance to eligible individuals in completing thorough, quality SSDI/SSI applications. The focus is on individuals who are homeless and at risk of homelessness who experience mental health and/or physical health conditions. These services are offered free of charge.

A screening process helps to determine potential eligibility based on many various factors like work history, income, marital status, and resources. The application itself can take a couple of hours to fill out, and it’s important to have all the information ready prior to applying. Potential clients should anticipate meeting with the Benefits Advocate 3-5 times before actually completing the application.

The Benefits Advocate can assist clients in obtaining information, but it will make things go faster if the client has the following information:

  • List of medical sources that have treated the client, with strong focus on the last two years’ records
    • Sources can include: primary care doctors, hospitals and ERs, behavioral health hospitals, mental health counselors, psychiatrists, corrections facilities, education records, vocational rehab or job training programs, social services agencies
  • A list of tests or procedures ordered (x-rays, MRIs, mental health assessments, etc.)
  • A list of medications prescribed (if applicable)
  • The last 15 years’ work history

What the Public Benefits Advocate Can Do:

  • Acts as a representative on the claim – allows the benefits advocate to speak to the Social Security Administration and Disability Determination Services (SSA and DDS) on the client’s behalf. Also receives copies of all correspondence sent to the claimant; can be a consistent point contact person for SSA/DDS.
  • Requests medical records with the claimant’s permission.
  • Assists the claimant in navigating the disability application process, including help filling out reports and responding to requests from SSA/DDS.
  • Makes referrals for other White Bird programs/services, as well as other community resources
  • Helps claimants file a reconsideration for a denied claim (for clients who have already filed an initial claim with the benefits advocate)
  • Make referrals to disability attorneys when appropriate (reconsiderations and Administrative Law Judge hearings).

What the Benefits Advocate Can’t Do:

  • Cannot do it without the client! It is vital that the client stays involved in the process and maintains communication with the Benefits Advocate. MANY disability claims get denied simply because the claimant does not maintain contact or respond to requests from SSA/DDS
  • Cannot guarantee approval on a claim. We screen clients for various eligibility factors and work with people who have a strong chance of being approved, but it is SSA/DDS that makes a determination of disability status.
  • Cannot “expedite” or otherwise speed up the process. We can help the claimant put together a complete application and proactively fill out reports in advance of them being requested, but the agencies that make the decisions are often dealing with a backlog of applications and sometimes things move slowly.
  • Cannot see into SSA’s or DDS’s systems or files. The benefits advocate does not work for SSA or other governmental agencies; the benefits advocate can communicate SSA/DDS and confirm that these agencies have what they need, but does not have direct access to the records.

*SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is a national program designed to increase access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligible adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder.

For more information and to set up an appointment, please contact us at 541-816-2793 between 10am and 4pm.