Education event

Behavioral Health Care Symposium
Mindful change—improving behavioral health care through reform

December 6 – 7, 2010
Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa
La Jolla, CA




Health care reform is probably the most significant legislation of our lifetime. Reform is vast and complex, and implementation will likely take decades. But behavioral providers are entering the process from a position of strength. 

Major tenents of reform call for integrated services and patient-centered care—something that behavioral providers have been stressing for years. The time for change is right, but we need to be thoughtful about what our community needs and how to go about securing our place in the continuum of care.

This year’s program assembles a host of industry experts to challenge and enlighten your thinking. The symposium opens with keynote Michael Schofield, father of Jani, an 8-year-old with childhood-onset schizophrenia profiled in ABC News’ 20/20, Los Angeles Times and online in “Jani’s Journey.” Schofield’s compelling story will take you from the wonder of parenthood, to confusion, denial and finally acceptance of his daughter’s serious illness.

General sessions and clinical and operational tracks provide many topics to choose from. You’ll hear about reform’s opportunities and challenges, and how to move reform from paper to practice. Plus sessions on suicide assessment and prevention, survey management and models for managing medically-complex psychiatric patients provide practical guidance and tools you can use right away.

Who should attend? All providers of behavioral health care in freestanding or distinct part units including: CEOs and administrators; CNOs and nurse managers; clinical directors; psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers; risk managers; and hospital emergency department staff who manage behavioral patients in the ED.

Take a few minutes to review this year’s agenda and make plans to join us now in La Jolla.


Monday, December 6

8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Registration/Check-in

8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Center for Behavioral Health Board Meeting
Symposium attendees welcome.

1:00 – 2:15 p.m. Opening and Keynote
Jani’s Journey

Michael Schofield, Parent and Behavioral Health Care Advocate, Jani’s Journey
On March 9, 2008, Michael Schofield felt as though his world had ended. He and his wife had just placed their six-year-old daughter in a psychiatric facility. She’d never been away from home. It was the beginning of many hospitalizations—11 in the last year alone. Jani is a bright, beautiful child with a terrifying illness—childhood-onset schizophrenia. Schofield will share his story beginning with the hospitalization of Jani and work his way forward through their exhaustive efforts to diagnose and treat their daughter’s illness. Schofield will also offer his perspective on our health care system and how to foster parent and provider partnerships to improve patient treatment and progress.

2:15 – 3:15 p.m. General Session
Health Care Reform—Challenge, Yes. Opportunity, Yes!

Howard Gershon, Principal, New Heights Group
No one said it would be easy. But health care reform legislation presents behavioral providers with an opportunity to redefine our role as part of the integrated health care movement. Soon, physical and behavioral health disciplines will need to blend to coordinate care, improve early identification and treatment, and reduce readmissions. And new opportunities abound—consider new technology that improves monitoring, treatment and diagnosis, or new markets to serve. Join us for an exploration of where we are going and what we can be under health care reform.

3:45 – 4:45 p.m. Breakout Sessions (Choose One)
Managing the Medically-Complex Psychiatric Patient (Clinical Focus)
Cindy Bolter, RN, FNP, PsychNP, John Muir Medical Center
Many patients with psychiatric illnesses also have serious medical conditions. And whether presenting at the ED, or already placed in a psychiatric unit, the patient’s medical and psychiatric treatments must be coordinated and complementary. One hospital has developed two clinical models to address these issues. Learn how in the ED psychiatric RNs are trained to recognize co-morbidities, manage behaviors and provide care plans and in the psychiatric unit, nurse practitioners assess and manage complex medical conditions while monitoring psychiatric progress.

Getting Our Arms Around Medical Necessity (Operational Focus)
Brenda Klutz, Senior Consultant, Health Management Associates
State law defines medical necessity in Title IX, but county-to-county, there is wide variation in interpretation—and denials. Uncertainty abounds as hospitals strive to make sense of what services will be approved or what levels of documentation may be required. This session will offer an overview of the complex issues surrounding medical necessity, and provide an open forum for exchange between participants. Bring your experiences to share and help shape an action plan to gain clarity and consistency around medical necessity.

5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Reception
Treatment Time Disparity in ED Behavioral Patients—Study Presentation and Discussion

Ashley Stone, MPH
In 2010, a research study was conducted to learn about treatment times for patients presenting to EDs with behavioral issues. Specifically, the study gathered data on two situations relative to time: 1) from the patients’ arrival to psychiatric evaluation and 2) from the patients’ arrival to decision to admit or transfer. Not surprisingly, the study revealed that behavioral patients wait longer for services than patients with physical illness or injury. Disparity is now clear, but where do we go from here? Join us for a brief overview of the study and to develop ideas on how to assist EDs in expediting appropriate care for our patients.

Tuesday, December 7

7:00 – 8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Keynote
Moving from Paper to Practice—Implementing Health Care Reform and Parity

Mark Covall, Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems
California has had parity for a decade on paper, but not always in practice. With the advent of federal parity, behavioral health is now in a strong position, though gaps still remain. Find out how the behavioral community can address these issues and keep parity on track. Explore how we can put behavioral and physical health care disciplines on the same level to integrate care, improve quality and patient outcomes.

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. General Session
Balancing Patient and Staff Safety in Therapeutic Environments

Jim Hunt, AIA, NCARB, Behavioral Health Facility Consulting
Quick—which is the most risky room in the behavioral setting—and to whom? This session will take you on a walk through the corridors and rooms of your own facility and help you understand what you can do to minimize risk while improving the healing nature of your environment. You’ll learn about common layout dilemmas and ways to reduce the institutional appearance of your facility without compromising staff or patient safety. Explore cost-effective, environmental changes you can to make to reduce patient violence against self, other patients or staff.

10:15 – 11:15 a.m. Breakout Sessions (Choose One)
Utilization Management for Behavioral Providers (Clinical Focus)
Suresh Bangara, MD, President, Chief Executive Officer, Hippocrates Gate, LLC
With the advent of health care reform, pressure will increase to provide quality care that is cost effective. Utilization management tools that help practitioners make sound treatment decisions have long been available on the medical side, but not so in behavioral. This session will offer ways that behavioral providers can retool their processes and operations to ramp up to the challenge. It begins with getting the diagnostics correct from the start and investing in IT to minimize redundancy and collect outcomes-based data to measure progress.

Managing Plans and Psychiatric Emergency Patients with AB 235 (Operational Focus)
Jana DuBois, JD, RN, Legal Counsel, California Hospital Association
Do your payers require prior authorization before you can admit patients with emergency psychiatric conditions? They shouldn’t be. Under AB 235, “notification only” is required. Yet in spite of having the full force of the law behind them, many providers continue to acquiesce to payers insistence on prior authorization to admit or transfer patients in the midst of an emergency psychiatric condition. The result is delayed treatment and placement for patients who desperately need emergency psychiatric intervention and care. Learn about the law and how to educate staff and physicians to ensure compliance.

11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Hosted Luncheon
Simanek Distinguished Service Award
Legislative and Regulatory Overview—What to Expect from the New Administration

C. Duane Dauner, President/CEO, California Hospital Association

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions (Choose One)
Keeping Patients Safe—A Model for Suicide Assessment and Prevention (Clinical Focus)
Vanessa Kurzon, RN, Nurse Manager, Sharp Mesa Vista
It all began with a common goal—keeping patients safe. Listen to one facility’s experience as they set about changing the way they assessed and managed patients with psychiatric illnesses. Learn how they brought together an interdisciplinary team of “champions” to develop a common language, reduce department fragmentation and use clinical and numeric data to help evaluate at-risk patients.

The Surveyors are Here to Investigate—What Now? (Operational Focus)
Liz Plott-Tyler, Partner, Tyler & Wilson, LLP
A team of CDPH surveyors has just arrived—and they’re heading your way. This session will help you learn the strategies and techniques to constructively manage the survey process from entry to exit. Find out what surveyors will ask for and are entitled to, how to appropriately challenge surveyor assertions and what to do when things go bad. Learn the most common mistakes hospitals make when dealing with surveyors and how to avoid them.

2:15 – 3:15 p.m. General Session
Plugging Behavioral Health into Electronic Medical Records

Cheryl Odell, RN, Chief Nursing Officer; Fadi Nicolas, MD, Medical Director of Intensive Treatment, Dual Diagnosis, Opiate Dependent Intensive Outpatient Programs; and Mary Kay Shibley, RN, Clinical Informaticist, Sharp Mesa Vista
The transition from paper to electronic medical records has been slow—especially for behavioral health care. Why? Cost aside, most EMRs are developed to meet acute med/surg care needs and a one-size-fits-all approach does not work well for behavioral services. Discover how one facility developed and transitioned to a behavioral EMR that resolves confidentiality access issues, creates readily accessible tools, and provides patient snapshots to keep pertinent information at “the top of the chart.”


Register by November 12 and save.

$425 Member
$550 Nonmember

Registrations received after November 12, add $100.
Tuition includes reception, luncheon, program materials and CEUs.

Confirmations: A confirmation will be sent to all registrants who register at least one week in advance. Directions and parking information will be included.

Cancellation Policy/Late Payment: A $75 non-refundable processing fee will be retained for each cancellation. Cancellations must be made in writing seven or more business days prior to the scheduled session and faxed to (916) 552-7506. No refunds will be made after these dates. Substitutions are encouraged. Please note: payment is due one day prior to the program. Payments not received by the seminar date will be subject to an additional 10% late fee.

Continuing Education

Full attendance at the educational sessions is a prerequisite for receiving continuing education units. Attendees must sign in at the conference and include their professional license number, if required. Certificates of attendance will be e-mailed after the conference.

Compliance—This program has been approved for 9.6 Compliance Certification Board (CCB) Continuing Education Units in Compliance Training and Education, and Auditing and Monitoring for Compliance. Granting of prior approval in no way constitutes endorsement by CCB of the program content or the program sponsor. CCB program code CAHA #026.

Health Care Executives—CHA is authorized to award 8 hours of pre-approved Category II (non-ACHE) continuing education credit for this program toward advancement, recertification, or reappointment in the American College of Healthcare Executives. (Program co-sponsored by the California Association of Health Care Leaders–An independent chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives)

Nursing—Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, C.E.P. 11924, for 9.6 contact hours.

Social Work—This course meets the qualifications for 8 hours of continuing education for MFTs and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, P.C.E. 1735.

Forms Share

As part of CHA’s 5th Annual Behavioral Health Symposium, being held December 6 & 7 in La Jolla, we will be featuring a forms sharing event. CHA recognizes that, within the behavioral health community, we have a wealth of knowledge and expertise to share. Members frequently contact CHA to request sample forms. And, while we often provide sample forms within our educational manuals, a truly central repository of useful forms has not yet been assembled. To meet this need and begin building a clearinghouse of information, we are asking our hospitals to generously share their forms with us on numerous topics.

How to submit forms: If you would like to include your hospital’s forms, please submit them – along with any accompanying policies and procedures – in MS Word format (PDF is acceptable if Word format is unavailable). Please redact any information you would prefer not to share (such as your hospital name), if you so choose. Due date for submissions is Wednesday, November 17. Submissions should be made to Vincent Wales at

Topics to be showcased and shared:

  • Restraint/Seclusion
  • ECT
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Treatment Planning
  • Risk Assessment
  • Fall Assessment
  • Self-Harm/Violence Assessment in ERs
  • Suicide Assessment (both inpatient and outpatient)
  • Aftercare Discharge Instructions
  • Biopsychosocial Assessment
  • Crisis Intake
  • Psychiatric Advance Directive
  • Anger/Aggression Patient Self-Assessment
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Visitor Guidelines
  • Contraband Policies
  • Psychiatric Medication Consent
  • Discharge Assessment/Home Care Instructions
  • Initial Triage
  • 1799.111 – 23-hour Hold

The forms will be on display throughout the symposium. Attendees wishing to have a copy of a particular form will need only download it from the Symposium’s webpage or access it from the CD-ROM provided as part of their registration materials. 


Discount sleeping room deadline is November 12.

The Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa is the site of this year’s event. The hotel features elegantly appointed guest rooms set among courtyards, patios and native gardens. A full service spa is on site providing treatments to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit. For guests who prefer more active pursuits plan time for a round of golf at renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course, hiking in the state park or a walk on the beach. The village of La Jolla is also close by for shopping and fine dining.

Discounted sleeping rooms are available at the rate of $149, single or double occupancy. For reservations, call (877) 437-8262 and mention the “Behavioral Health Care Symposium.” Don’t delay, room availability is limited and the sleeping room deadline is November 12.

Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa
9700 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037
(877) 437-8262

Driving Directions



On behalf of the California Hospital Association, we would like to thank our corporate sponsors for their support of the 5th Annual Behavioral Health Care Symposium.

2010 Silver Sponsors:



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Click here for more information.

Contact Lisa Sbragia Hartzell at (916) 552-7502 or

Other Resources

Mental Health Law Manual

CHAMentHlthCOV-09F_0.gifAll state and federal laws governing mental health treatment and privacy are addressed in this manual written to help hospitals understand the laws as well as the rights and protections of the patients they serve. New to this edition is a chapter covering restraint and seclusion. Each manual also includes a CD containing forms and appendixes. (518 pages, 2009) 
Learn more

Free Resources

Download free posters and forms, including the Model Notice of Privacy Practices (for Mental Health Information Subject to the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act), at


Click here to view the attendees.