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Steve Burton, CEO Sheila Moran, Director of Development Who are we? First Choice Health Systems, Inc, established in 1995 as a statewide network of behavioral health providers, manages various state contracts

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steve burton ceo sheila moran director of development
Steve Burton, CEO

Sheila Moran, Director of Development

who are we
Who are we?
  • First Choice Health Systems, Inc, established in 1995 as a statewide network of behavioral health providers, manages various state contracts
  • Answered RFP in December 1999 to design and implement a statewide gamblers help program
  • We have received the contract to provide services to problem gamblers for almost 10 years
west virginia facts
West Virginia Facts
  • YES Virginia, there is a WEST by God!
  • 75 % of our state is covered by forest
  • We are the most mountainous state east of the Mississippi
west virginia facts4
West Virginia Facts
  • We have the 5th highest poverty rate in the country
  • If you define ‘rural’ by living outside in a place with less than 50K people, 94% of our population is considered rural
  • Our population is 1.8 million
transportation in wv
Transportation in WV
  • Subway? That’s a restaurant, right?
  • Very few people in WV’s rural counties have access to public transportation
gambling in wv
Gambling in WV
  • 1984-Lottery legalized (over 20 years after NH!)
  • 1994-Slot machines allowed at racetracks (about 12,000 now in operation)
  • 2001-9,000 video poker machines installed in WV bars and restaurants
  • 2007-Table games legalized at WV racetracks
  • All four WV racetracks are now full blown casinos
understanding rural gambling
Understanding Rural Gambling
  • Case Study: Logan County
    • 37,000 people
    • 24% of population below poverty line
    • 37 mini-casinos operating in the county, each with 5-10 slot machines
gambling treatment funds in wv
Gambling Treatment Funds in WV
  • Program originally funded at 225K in 2000
  • As gambling expanded and our data demonstrated the need for more treatment, our funding increased
  • Program now funded at 1.6 mil=4th highest per capita gambling treatment funding in US
what does all that mean
What does all that mean ?
  • We faced many big challenges
    • Spreading the word about the help that is available….and getting people to call us
    • Remaining gaming neutral in a politically sensitive environment
    • Finding and training lots of counselors
    • Structuring an effective treatment program
    • Demonstrating to decision makers that our program was essential in the midst of budget cuts for other agencies
many state gambling treatment programs
Many State Gambling Treatment Programs:
  • Mail information or give caller name and phone number of a nearby counselor or give GA information
  • Have an estimated rate of callers who are actually seen face-to-face by trained professional of 5% to 10%.
  • Are not able to pay for treatment or advertising
what about west virginia
What About West Virginia?
  • First helpline in the nation to offer such aggressive, proactive interventions and track comprehensive data
  • High show-up rates
  • Asked to present at many local, state and national conference s
  • Viewed by many as model help-line program
  • Over 90 trained counselors
    • Currently 22 network counselors + our helpline staff have national certification
wv counselor training
WV Counselor Training
  • Counselors, social workers and psychologists
  • Minimum of 30 hours specialized training-most have much more
  • Quarterly Clinical Supervisions around the state
  • Advanced/Continuing Education
24 hour helpline 1 800 gambler
24-hour Helpline1-800-GAMBLER
  • Telephone answered by trained clinician
    • Most are Masters level professionals with national gambling certification
  • Initial therapeutic intake session completed
  • Crisis intervention
all callers offered free two hour consult
All Callers offered free two-hour consult
  • Includes loved ones!
  • Scheduled while on the line
  • Goal is within 30 miles of residence
  • Within 72 hours of call
  • Referred to other support services and information mailed
during the consult
During the Consult
  • Clinician does thorough diagnostic assessment
  • Develops treatment plan
  • Refers to other support services
  • Sends us all the assessment data
  • We offer state funded treatment to any WV resident who cannot pay because:
    • They don’t have insurance
    • They have a large deductible
    • Our trained clinician is not in their “network”
  • Covers 20 session for gambler; 10 sessions for significant other
    • Competitive pay rates are essential
back in our office
Back in Our Office
  • Pre-appt courtesy call
  • Post-assessment follow-up
  • Treatment pre-certification
  • Treatment reimbursement for


  • 6-month follow-up
  • 1-year and 2-year outcomes
  • Compile data
when our help line rings
When our Help-line Rings
  • We race to the phone
  • Our HL clients won’t receive voice mail, busy signal, or answering service
when we answer help line
When We Answer Help-Line
  • Always control the conversation
  • Never answer questions passively
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions
  • “Sell” appointment
our results
Our Results
  • We get good grades from our clients!
  • How many organizations even ask for regular feedback?
our results24
Our Results
  • High appointment acceptance rate (up to 80%)
  • High show up rate (up to 80%)
our results25
Our Results
  • “Recovery” defined as not gambling or significantly decreased gambling
  • Up to 80% of clients report success at long term follow up
  • We collect HUNDREDS of pieces of data
  • We do this without sounding like a telemarketer
why is data important
Why Is Data Important?
  • Use to evaluate:
  • New program services/treatment modes
  • Treatment techniques
  • Clinicians
  • Marketing efforts
  • Trends
why data matters tracking trends
Why Data Matters-Tracking Trends
  • Geographic trends
  • Type of gambling trends
  • Demographic trends
  • Clinical trends
  • Rise and fall of call volume
  • Day and time of most call volume
  • Tracking repeat callers