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077 - Scott Kelley

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

“I think we’re doing ok but I think we should talk to someone to make sure.” Scott Kelley joins us from Regard Recovery to talk about a lifetime of work in the recovery industry. His first experience with therapy was after the loss of his father at the age of 18, where he caught the bug and went on to get a degree in Psychology. He talks about motivational interviewing, “coopetition” in treatment, and using evidence-based practices to manage a recovery center. Enjoy.

The Illuminate Recovery Podcast is about Mental Health, Mental Illness, and Addiction Recovery. Shining light on ways to cope, manage, and inspire. Beyond the self care we discuss, you may need the help of a licensed professional. Curt Neider and Shelley Mangum are a part of Illuminate Billing Advocates ( They are committed to helping better the industry and adding value to the lives of listeners by sharing tools, insights, and success stories of those who are working on their mental health. #illuminaterecoverypodcast

Transcript (no grammar):

i think we're doing okay but i think we should talk to someone to make sure scott kelly joins us from regard recovery to talk about a lifetime of work in the recovery industry his first experience with therapy was after the loss of his father at the age of 18 where he caught the bug and went on to get a degree in psychology he talks about motivational interviewing coopetation in treatment and using evidence-based practices to manage a recovery center enjoy welcome to the illuminate recovery podcast we shed light on mental health issues mental illness and addiction recovery ways to cope manage and inspire beyond self-care we will discuss you may need the help of a licensed professional my name is kurt neider i'm a husband father entrepreneur a handyman and a student of life i avoid conflict i deflect with humor and i'm fascinated by the human experience and i am shelley mangum i am a clinical mental health counselor and my favorite role of all times is grandma i am a seeker of truth and i feel like life should be approached with tremendous curiosity i ask the dumb questions i fill in the gaps the illuminate recovery podcast is brought to you by illuminate billing advocates make billing and collection simple with leader in substance abuse and mental health billing services verification and analysis of benefits pre-authorizations utilization management accurate claim submission and management denial and appeal management and industry-leading reporting improve your practices cash flow and your ability to help your clients with eliminate billing advocates curt and i have the privilege and honor to talk with scott kelly today on the podcast scott is a director of business development at regard recovery he specializes in relationship building and management marketing branding contract acquisition contract rates and negotiations regulatory compliance and collaboration and event planning um scott thanks so much for being on with us today thank you so much for having me i appreciate it um it's apparent that you've been in the industry for a long time and i've been able to try on a lot of different roles as you've gone through and i can tell we talked a little pre-show about even getting into utilization reviews and and everything that goes along with that maybe talk about a little bit share with our listeners how you ended up in the industry and why you stayed sure well um i had my own i guess counseling story at the very beginning of my career where i lost my father when i was 18. and um probably about six months and it was very sudden it was a heart attack so it was you know not something we had prepared for necessarily although when you have a death are you ever really prepared uh you know no matter if it's been a long term illness or sudden death but i remember probably about six months post um that event my mom said you know i i think we're doing okay but we i think we should talk to somebody just to make sure and i remember going into treatment you know outpatient counseling and i remember the counselor just being able to help me focus my thoughts to verbalize what was going on and to come up with some strategies for for my grief and um i just remember being impressed at how much i enjoyed that process and i thought this this might be something along the lines of what i wanted to do um got into college and i had also worked at the y for many years with kids so i'd gotten into college wanted to go into psychology got into that got my degree in psychology and when i got out then i started work at a treatment facility for children as a tech and um and we we talked a little bit about that but just you know having an appreciation at the direct care level of what what goes on and then um further in my career as i move through different positions i actually moved into uh substance abuse co-occurring but more on the adult side of things and have my not while i don't have my own recovery story i have family members that have had to go into treatment that i've had to get into treatment uh friends as well and then some that are still in active addiction so i can appreciate it from the family side of things quite well uh and you know when i received that call i know exactly what that family member's going through and it's um your story is a little bit different than some in the sense that you don't have that recovery story yourself although you can definitely relate to some of the challenges that come you know come with that with family members do you ever feel like you get rejected by some of the people you work with because it's like yeah you don't get me you don't know what's going on here oh absolutely there is i think an addiction culture that people kind of put a hierarchy on people that maybe don't have their own story not from everybody but i also try to tell folks as well and i use this analogy does your oncologist have had to have had cancer in order to treat you does your uh your doctor need to have experienced everything that you've experienced in order to be the expert on medically on what to do for you so uh you know i've i i've known a thing or two because i've seen a thing or two i think there's a commercial about that somewhere but uh that didn't mean to plagiarize whoever that was but i i think again it's just having an appreciation for the different criteria diagnostics therapeutic interventions evidence-based practices that are tried and true that work and then just being able to identify from a family member's perspective on that desperation to get folks into treatment and then say hey we've got the know-how we've got state-of-the-art facilities we've got evidence-based practices that when you utilize those you can find recovery and you can get well i love your explanation of you know how you explain that you don't have to necessarily go through what somebody else went through in order to be able to help them and get them into treatment and and connect with them which it's true that's totally true because if everybody had a recovery story i mean that's a little unrealistic to expect that as well but then you know there's the idea that you really need that peer support you need those people that you do feel like you can relate to and that you get your your particular story and so those are both important pieces um do you have you spent a lot of time doing interventions or have any experience with the intervention part of the industry i jokingly say i'm not an interventionist but i play one on tv no i don't do that and i'm not trained in that per se so if there's a formal intervention that needs to be done we do contract that out or we would look to an expert if somebody's looking for that um i use a little bit of a technique and i've trained my admission staff on this and post in previous positions but uh i use a little bit of motivational interviewing when i'm actually talking to a client that's talked and called in and is looking for treatment you know again just bringing it back to the original reason why they keep calling or why they've called because initially they're calling for that help but then they start to talk themselves out of it and find reasons why well i can't do it this week because of a b or c and again just bringing it back to well now let's talk about again why you you called you know you said you wanted to get your driver's license back you said you you know your wife was leaving you if if you didn't get treatment and that you wouldn't be able to see your kids again so again tell me what that looks like i like it yeah and then i let them sit in that for a little bit and then they start talk until finally you get to a point and while it's not a therapy session but finally you get to a point where they've talked themselves back into treatment and they're saying i'm coming in you know today at four or whatever so i think that you know it's definitely an effective tool but um you know much needed again not an interventionist and for those that do it do it well i mean kudos to them and there is a time and a place for that especially if you have all efforts on higher end on the front end just speaking to a client on the phone have failed then i'll suggest to the family hey look it doesn't sound like you know your loved one is ready might i suggest utilization of a an interventionist very good um scott you've been um you know in a lot of different places you've been associated with quite a few different treatment facilities um how many of those have you kind of been part of from the ground up of establishing and creating well i opened one and it was um where we had purchased a property we had gone through um the renovations of that that property picked out the finishes you know what we wanted to look like functionally space-wise so that it was more conducive to therapy and treatment and different levels of care to the writing of policies and procedure although i had a lot of help there you know but you know if you know the administrative code of 65 d30 you kind of write from that um and then you know we've i i hired all the staff put together an orientation went through licensure got it up and running that type of thing so i think that um and it's a lot of hard work you know i i think and and as that should be you know you don't want anybody just hanging out a shingle you want to make sure that people are going through their paces and that they really are doing it for the right reasons um but it was it was a challenge for sure but one you know it's still up and running to this day and and providing great care for for people so uh you know i'm very proud of the work that we did on that and what would you say that um are the some of the most important concepts or or pieces when you're building a a program like that a treatment program where you want to help um you know a lot of people and and specialize maybe specialize what are some of the key components when you're putting a program together like that i think surrounding yourself with people that are experts in the business that can lend them themselves to you that could give you advice or provide some some guidance i had a lot of help in that arena a lot of people that i leaned on for their advice and i think you know also hiring the right people you know having the right people in the right seats on the bus we always you know joke about that but i think that that cohesive um team that you would have uh you you know creating a culture that you want to be a place where first of all staff members want to work and they want to tell their friends you know hey you got to get a job here they're they're doing some amazing things here and then a culture where patients would say you know if you know if you want to recover you need to go here and i think that starts from the top down and how you set that tone but um you know team team player definitely um never having the attitude and that's not my job you know even as the ceo there was something in the hallway that needed to be cleaned or a toilet that needed to be plunged there wasn't you know hey let's go get so and so it's i got this and i think that that you know when you have i've always had more of a servant leadership approach so you know when you come in it from that perspective i think people are willing to come alongside your shoulder shoulder and say all right we're going to do this as a team so i don't know maybe if that answered your question or not i hope um great perspective of of kind of building that culture and creating a space where people want to work and where people want to get get better i'm also i was curious um i see that regard recovery center has three locations now and it always it always it's a question that i think about often but i don't know that i've ever asked it but how do you decide you've got one in florida pennsylvania and west virginia how do you decide what state to put a facility in well and the ones in pennsylvania in west virginia um more are outpatient locations they do more they're more like ctcs or community treatment centers for here in florida and i think you look at regulatory compliance and and how difficult it's going to be uh in each state to you know what is it that they're going to require is it going to be so many hoops that you you just can't do it um and again like i said it should be hard it should be hard to open something but you know it shouldn't be impossible so i think first of all you look at at need population where people might be willing to travel if they want to go out of state that type of thing which is probably why florida and california are so popular uh because they're destination states you know so i think that there's a lot that goes into it and then you look at um population around the uh whether or not you're targeting a higher end or middle income or you know insurance dependent versus you want to be all out of network or private pay so there's a lot that goes into it depending on what you want your outcome to be or who your audience and and uh population that you serve will be so that that kind of helps guide you but i guess there's a lot that goes into it i just knew that i wanted to be in florida because that's where i live that's a good reason is it um is it difficult to open up a new branch in a different state do you have to spend a lot of time there do you have other people that you know that you hire to make that happen what does that look like well i think through many many organizations like you'll see some of your larger ones that build through acquisition like where they will acquire properties or facilities or programs that are already in existence which is what regard recovery um is pretty much in the business of doing that's how they they expand you know starting from the ground up is a little more difficult and usually those are more independent programs like ours was when i opened ours but with regard through acquisition it's a little bit easier because somebody else has done the legwork in the beginning for you to open the facility and then you know basically you're expanding and then improving processes as you see them when you go in and you do your kind of your swot analysis of each program and then decide you know kind of if you want to grow it or if that's something you want to streamline to just specific levels of care or what you want it to look like what population you want to want to serve so i think the the acquisition is probably the easiest way to go for sure um building from the ground up you just have to be more aware of what what they're going to require in each county in that state you know so there's a lot of different uh reasons why somebody might want to do it from the ground up versus acquisition but most of the places i see that are growing are growing through acquisition that makes sense um i'm also curious um about the different the different treatment levels so it looks like you have a full continuum of treatment at your facilities i mean granted outpatient for pennsylvania and west virginia um and some some inpatient uh do you do medical detox at the florida location yes so we have two florida locations where we do medical detox we have journey pure emerald coast in panama city and then destination hope in fort lauderdale so we're able to provide every level of care in those two locations journey pure emerald coast is in network with many commercial insurances most con we have contracts with most of the major uh players and then destination hope down in fort lauderdale is all out of network so any ppo policies will work there and so with um with you guys doing uh both a medical detox where they're impatient and then the mat or the outpatient detox i'm curious what do you see like i can't i mean i'm sure that not everybody is stable enough or appropriate for an outpatient detox um but it's a very different approach and and i know a lot of insurances really like it when you do outpatient detox i'm just curious about that industry and and how you make those decisions of whether somebody goes inpatient or outpatient for that detox and how that affects their you know their treatment plan well outpatient detox you know definitely usually utilizes matte in in that sense of trying to bring someone down off of whatever they're on um i can't tell you what goes into that decision i can tell you that just in an inpatient or medical detox that where they're going inside they're monitored they have nursing around the clock and the reason that they typically do that is well you've got somebody that might be coming off of you know high levels of alcohol usage or benzodiazepines or things like that that could create some emergent event if they're not monitored you know you could have anything from seizures to aneurysms to heart attacks to strokes those types of things um so for me i just feel like being in somewhere is uh going to provide better monitoring overall care i'm not saying that there's not an argument for outpatient medical detox i will say that i'm sure insurance companies do like that because it's probably going to be less expensive you know you're not gonna have to to pay a higher per diem rate because you don't have as much supervision of the client for patients so um you know again that wasn't an argument one for or against the other per se i'm only familiar with inpatient detox because that's all i've ever represented now as a clinician i'm always interested in i you know i look at the the mit the mat or the you know medically assisted treatment or detoxing that goes on outpatient and i've always and i haven't been close enough to that to kind of see um what that you know what that track is like for a person as opposed to that you know really close connection and but i guess it all comes down to how engaged they are still and you know and for some it's not appropriate so they can step up to a higher level of care and and that's still an option for them um but i think it is a a viable treatment so i just thought i would ask and see what your perspective is on that talk a little bit um talk a little bit about regard and and some of the um philosophy or you know when when you're when you're talking to a family and they're looking at you know a loved one coming into treatment what are some of the you know the important aspects that you share with them i think that's a great question because a lot of times families are under the mindset or in the mindset of you know we got to get johnny into treatment he's the one that needs to be fixed and we need to get him him help because once he gets help everything's going to be fine and i kind of chuckle i said okay you know um but what the approach that we take and i know specifically at destination hope we have a fantastic family program where you know the family members actually come in and spend an entire four day weekend so they'll do friday to monday where it's guided by a therapist a family therapist for the entire weekend they will do extremely difficult hard delving into you know family systems type of work they'll do psychodrama they'll do different things different evidence-based practices that will help the family which i call the secondary patient help them heal and learn to how to not trigger how to not enable how to not be a co-dependent how to you know when little johnny comes out of treatment what are we going to do to help support and to help you know what's our part in this kind of like much like the interventionist we use the arise model they go around the room and say what's everybody going to do take a step towards you know this person's recovery it's kind of the same premise what are what are we going to do as family members to help with with johnny when he comes home and so i think that that's that's one approach that we we try to emphasize is that this is a family disease and we want to make sure that everybody's getting what they need so no one's at risk for relapse or breakdown or anything like that the second thing is too is i said you know what i'm not the end-all be-all um and our facilities are not the end-all be-all sometimes maybe a patient can't travel they can't afford or they don't have insurance to cover or that's too far although i always ask them you know far from what your dealers your enablers your co-defendants you know um you know what i try to make sure that they understand is that you're gonna do treatment in four walls somewhere so let's make sure it's the best clinical fit for you even if that's outside of my family of facilities we want to make sure that you're going to get the help that you need we often joke in the industry that the phone weighs 500 pounds when somebody's actually looking for treatment you want to make sure that you reward them with treatment so we will not let that person fall we try to get them to somewhere that is going to meet their needs and that's why we you know in the business development role we develop so many networking relationships because of that very thing you know we have to have some provider that maybe does what we do but in another location because if you know susie he doesn't want to leave jacksonville well we need a place in jacksonville that susie can go um and we rely on our partners uh out you know i i i say this i don't really think there's anything such as competition in this because i said you know yes while we all have our roles and we have we do need to make our numbers uh because we all have to pay the bills and our clinicals you know it's it's i believe it's what we call competition like cooperative competition because again you know maybe this facility does something that i can't do this facility takes a an insurance that i can't take so you have to know all about so so again you know emphasizing the difference that we treat folks clinically the whole family as well as we're going to make sure that you get help somewhere um you know that's that's kind of our commitment to that that person that's on the other end of the phone and what an incredibly important piece to address is that systemic that family dynamic and we've talked about that on the show before of you know if if you just treat the client you haven't changed anything they're going to go back into an unhealthy environment they're going to go back somewhere and and they're going to be expected to behave in the same way that they did when they left and so you know there's triggers all over the place if you don't have that family buy-in um so i love that you guys addressed that piece i'm uh i know that you talked about kind of that and this is a two-fold question that um network of people in recovery right that goes for the person that's in recovery you know that network of people that they can connect with their peers um you know after treatment to where they can stay connected and in recovery and and could keep doing their program but you also have this network of facilities and other business development people that you work with to like you said to try and get people placed in the proper in the right place um in the place that's going to work the best for them which is um you know which is so important because everybody brings a little bit different um specialty to to the industry

are those networks um completely separate you know that network of helping clients get into where they need to get and that network of of of uh of clients where they're in recovery and they're trying to you know stay connected to their peers well so what i'll say a little bit two-fold um you have folks again that are working in the industry that are in recovery so you know some of my peers are actually in recovery and are part of home groups or other groups that can help clients stay connected we have a strong alumni program at all of our facilities so we have an actual alumni coordinator who they follow under some they kind of have a dotted line to me because many times if someone does relapse they're in connect they're they're in contact with them they're constantly reaching out and staying in contact with them and connected so that if something happens they can either get them back in very quickly or help to find another appropriate placement for them so that's why we communicate constantly on the alumni side of things now in the network of facilities or other business development people like counterparts of mine at other facilities i stay in touch with quite often because again i say you know this person just called me um this is what they're struggling with this is what they're looking for this is the insurance they have and gosh i just don't have a bed right now dude can you help and they're like absolutely let me let me get you know get on that for you right now or you know it's gosh i i just this is what he's looking for it's the niche type of thing maybe it's a wilderness program well i don't really have a wilderness program but i'm connected with people who do so that's his approach that this particular client wants let's let's let him try that you know and we'll get him there um you know again i think that just we have a great and wonderful portfolio that i have to offer for clients and i can meet just about any one of their needs because we can do everything from detox all the way down to sober living at destination hope we even have primary mental health that people folks can come into their every level of care including down to transitional housing so um you know so it's almost like sober living but for mental health so like i can just about help everybody but again for those folks that i can't that's why it's so important to stay in constant contact and then network with other treatment facilities i know a lot there used to be that thought process of you know oh you know we've got to play our cards close to the best you can't share anything and you can't you can't work together and you can't tour each other's facilities and you know you might steal this idea i think that was a bunch of hogwash i mean i think that you know and we've started to see a swing towards what i'm i'm referring to now is that i think people are a lot more open to working together because of that very thing it's about the client and i believe that when you help folks that's just going to come back to you people remember that so that's that's our biggest push but i hope that answered you know about the alumni and the network of providers that maybe distinguish it a little bit and so um you've done a lot of roles you've played a lot of roles ceo to you know a tech and you know with youth and and now as business development um tell me tell me why you pick business development as opposed to maybe being a ceo that maybe seems like it's higher on the ladder and and maybe what's in the future for you well and i'm not opposed to being a ceo again there's different aspects of each of those jobs that fit my personality i love kind of the operations side of things and being able to see people in the facility and watch them progress you know from the first day they come into detox to like say day 14 and you're like i know you don't remember me in the first day you got here but we had a full conversation and you look incredible you know to see that transformation but operations and and kind of that um regulatory stuff interests me as well but i'm also a talker and i love i'm a people person so i love being able to be out in the community and talk to other providers or other you know people in business development clinicians because again you get that just to rub elbows with people that are treating the clients on the front lines and and to see how you can partner together and when outpatient does becomes not enough you know saying hey i can partner with you to get this client detox for you get them through residential and get them back to your care um you know and we talked about the intrinsic value of being able to do that now we don't always get a call on the back end that says hey thanks for what you did but you know there's a few of those calls that i can i can recollect where they would get on the phone with me and say scott you saved my life like the fact that you got me the treatment it saved my life so what i love being able to do is connect families and patients with with treatment get them in and maybe that's the beginning of the start of the rest of that person's life in recovery um and and that's the intrinsic value that i have um i don't know that i can stay in a clinical role necessarily treating somebody one-on-one because that can get heavy too like you have to in any role in this industry i think it's always important you know to have a great program of self-care because i think you've got to combat that burnout you know that compassion burnout as well but but i think out of all of them out of all the roles i've held i think business develops been my favorite again just because i get to travel everything's new you're not stuck in an office you you get to uh you know like i said just get out have coffee have lunch and it's not just the social aspect of it i mean you really are meeting for a purpose and you really want to develop those relationships so that because we've said in this industry before clinicians or people don't send to facilities they send people you know if you and i have a relationship and you trust me and said scott i don't care where you are i just know you're going to take care of my clients almost send this client to you so uh yeah so business development i think overall my favorite role so you see yourself probably staying in that role you don't have anything in the future any any plans to change that you uh you really fit in there and love that i do i mean i just i just recently moved into with regard into the director of business development role i like managing teams i also like like i said being able to meet with folks i'm not opposed to it uh you know to moving into another role if i'm asked but you know i'm i'm happy where i'm at i'm not necessarily looking but um but you know again if if something's right and you feel like you can contribute and make it better um and you're needed then certainly i would consider it but i i think i'm in the right seat right now also you talked a little bit about self-care and you know burnout and self-care which has been a hot topic in in our industry with covet and and all of the you know isolating and virtual world that we've lived in here for the last year and a half or two years coming on two years what did self-care look like for you during that and how did that affect you because i heard you talk about the social aspect and it seemed like there was a lot of you know withdrawal from that social aspect and i'm curious what self-care looked like for you and how did that you know how did covet affect you specifically well i think that um for one thing you had to be very strategic with your zoom calls and i think we were very efficient being able to do things across a visual spectrum here like either zoom or or you know teams or whatever type of interactive video that you used that was very wonderful because it gave us at least a connection that we otherwise would not have had if we just had to stay shut down and everybody locked up forever i think that that would have been you know i think everybody would have gone stir crazy in that regard i think that i had to be very cognizant of making sure that i got up and moved around that i didn't stay seated and in front of my desk just like you would if you were in an office anyway i would go outside for probably in between calls uh barefoot in the grass just for some kind of grounding uh you know just to be there and getting some natural vitamin d on my skin um i i would swim i played uh at the time you know once everything started to open back up played volleyball a lot more that's something i do in the evenings on tuesdays and thursdays and then uh you know just like spending some time in the pool and just making sure and going to the gym too like i i believed in focusing on not just putting something here but also making myself healthy um you know by eating right taking vitamins and and making sure that i was working out in the gym and and things like that so it was kind of a multi-pronged approach but it was more for stress relief as well as a way to just um you know get some aggression out or whatever you want to say it just kept me um it kept me sane at the time i guess i should study well and you're not the only one you know that's had to deal with that every all of us have and and it seems so simple right i'm just gonna walk away for a minute and you know go walk in the grass with my bare feet or go stand in the sun for a minute i think that that self-care can be really simple but even even as simple as it is sometimes we forget to do that so i love that you talk about the simplicity of that but that you have to you have to do it right you have to take that time and and take care of yourself because it makes 10 minutes walking away and and turning it off for a second is huge and yet how often do we say yeah that'll wait you know and not take care of ourselves so i love that you talk about that um scott it's been a super super fun to talk with you today and to learn a little bit more about all of these roles that you've played and and kind of what's important to you as well as with regard recovery and what they offer to clients and the continuum of care that they offer maybe in parting um leave with us a little bit of your contact information i'm sure that people may want to reach out and connect with you and your programs leave some contact information and any parting words that you may have absolutely so anybody can reach me at any time my cell phone's always on me um at 813-300-7401 you know like i said you can text or call that's my professional cell you know what i will say is that find find what you like to do in life and just do that i mean it is so short as we're saying these days um find what you like to do because then then it won't seem like work you know um and i think the passion that i have for getting folks help you know i knew i was going to be in a helping profession my parents were both teachers i didn't want to do that but i knew that i was going to be in a helping profession so so this field fills that need but um do what you love and by all means certainly if anybody needs help please reach out like i would hate to think that somebody thought well i don't want to be judged or i don't want this to to happen or that negative consequence and to have you suffer or to have you have some other worst event happen just because you feel like somebody wasn't on the other end of the phone i'm on the other end of the phone call me i could not agree more um i could not agree more in the idea that you know sometimes people suffer in pain and i mean really significant pain and you know is all they want to do is end it when in reality if they could just you know make that phone call or reach out to somebody and get that help you know that's a temporary situation even though it feels like you know like you want to die so i agree with you um you know in any time that we can you know help people understand that there is help out there and there is love out there and there are people out there that really can help and want to help so i appreciate that message too scott it's been fantastic having you on today thank you so much thank you shelly anytime i'd love to come back and spread the word so

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