At Sanford Behavioral Health, our goal is to make the administrative aspects of going to treatment as seamless as possible. We work with everyone who contacts us to determine their best options. Today, we sat down with Kelly Stone, who spearheads the admissions process, to get an update. Whether you are privately paying or utilizing regular insurance benefits, Kelly’s team is dedicated to finding affordable treatment solutions and working with most insurance providers, both in-network and out-of-network, to determine what your policy covers. If you want information about our programs or admission, please call 616.202.3326.
“The best Christmas gift you can give your family and friends is your sobriety. In addition, your family is concerned and worried about your safety and health. This year, give them peace of mind.” Director of Admissions, Kelly Stone, MS, MBA, Director of Admissions, Kelly Stone, MS, MBA
Sanford Admissions – an Inside Look with Kelly Stone, MS, MBA
SBH – What makes Sanford Behavioral Health unique?
Kelly Stone – What I love about Sanford, what ties me to the organization, is our innovation. We have a psychiatrist who excels with those who have tried multiple avenues to recovery without success. If you have done a 12-step program or been through a 30-day model and it is not working, we are very good at demonstrating diverse ways to broaden the approach. Chief Medical Officer Doctor Masterson is at the forefront of what is available in treatment, and it means a lot to people who have struggled for years with addiction.
SBH – What is the admissions specialist’s role when someone calls?
Kelly Stone – Empathy. First, nobody chooses the lifestyle of addiction. And I think a lot of people who call don’t realize they are in a mindset of depression – a dark, scary place. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. There’s an inability even to see that tunnel anymore. We help people understand that they didn’t “choose” to start drinking or using like one might choose to go to college. We hear people say that addiction is their fault, but that’s not true.
SBH – What is the biggest excuse you get from those who don’t want to start treatment immediately?
Kelly Stone – There are a lot of high-functioning alcoholics and drug-addicted individuals out there. They say they’re doing their job, bringing home money, and maintaining relationships. A lot of avoidance is based on fear of approaching their HR departments, even when they know HR is supposed to be confidential. Alcohol is also the norm at work. Drinking is socially acceptable. Not only that, in some work environments, meetings are held in bars, and it is the only opportunity to socialize with colleagues or get one-on-one time with the boss. That can become an excuse to drink and continue to drink.
We hear people say, “I feel better completing work on my computer at home if I have a drink.” They don’t even realize it is a cultural problem at work. We respond that it doesn’t matter that you haven’t crashed and burned yet; it is in the works. If you or a loved one is calling us, it is a sign that alcohol and drugs are impacting every aspect of your life.
SBH – How do you address the fear of going to HR?
Kelly Stone – Many people don’t know what the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) is or what their disability benefits are through their insurance plan. So, for instance, we worked with a guy who is a supervisor for a large organization. He was in the hospital in detox for a week with multiple seizures. He went home and stayed there for a few weeks on medical leave from work. When he tried to return to work, the company said, “You need to do a 30-day program as part of our policies.” In that case, we worked with the company to admit him to our day program with supportive housing. In fact, he should have come from the hospital straight into residential treatment, but it didn’t happen that way. So, we had to be flexible to meet criteria.
The number one thing I tell people is it’s better that the company’s HR department knows and that you’re doing something about it. You are protected under FMLA if you’re requesting leave to better yourself. I’m more worried about an individual continuing to function while under the influence. In that case, you are not protected.
SBH – It’s the season for excuses: what else do you tell reluctant callers?
Kelly Stone – I say, “What is your family update on your Christmas card this year? Let’s talk about what that is. How about somebody who’s needed mental health services (the entire family has been talking about for ten years), got help, and is better for it? Let’s make that part of your Christmas card this year!” And that is how we look at recovery. My Christmas card recap is that I’m good. I’m sober. I’m clean. Enough said – that is all people need to know about me. We try to address whatever makes an individual anxious to get into treatment.
SBH – Thanks, Kelly. Happy holidays!
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, eating disorders, or co-occurring mental health conditions, don’t wait to change your life – click the link below and get in touch today.