Compass one of many providers

I am writing in response to the Tuesday letter, “State should open to more therapists,” in which Compass Health was mentioned.

Compass Health is one of nine contractor providers in the North sound region (Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties), and one of more than 50 licensed community mental health agencies state-wide. In our region, individuals on Medicaid who need mental health services contact the Access to Care line (888-693-7200) which is managed by Volunteers of America. Individuals are given a choice of mental health providers. We are gratified when clients choose us, but they are given a choice.

We do not believe that individuals with mental illness should be stigmatized by entering a mental health facility more than someone entering a medical facility. A person’s choice to receive services at either a mental health or medical facility should simply be viewed as their choice, not as an invasion of their privacy.

The letter stated that Compass Health “only keeps enough Masters-level therapists to satisfy insurance company regulations” which is an inaccurate statement. Compass Health employs 59 staff with Bachelor’s and 150 staff with Master’s degrees. We also have individuals with Doctoral degrees along with RNs, ARNPs and MDs. We have a strong supervision and training structure for all of our employees to ensure clients receive the best care possible.

Compass Health continues to provide a place for individuals with mental health disorders to socialize and build relationships. Since October, 2011, our Peer Recovery Center has provided more than 1,700 individuals a place to socialize, take classes, receive peer support and get a hot meal. The center is staffed with peer counselors who are able to relate to individuals who are working on their mental health recovery.

Compass Health partners with other behavioral health providers in our region and state to ensure our clients get their needs met. We partner with agencies such as Bridgeways and Catholic Community Services, who provide their speciality services on-site such as employment support and chemical dependency services at select Compass locations.

We are proud of what we do for the community and the thousands of individuals we have helped over our 110-year history.

Tom Sebastian, MS, MPA

President and CEO

Compass Health