Scott Tiffany stepped into his new role as executive director of the Mid-Valley Behavioral Care Network in August with more than 16 years of behavioral care experience in Oregon, Idaho and Arizona – but he says he has big shoes to fill.
Most recently, Tiffany worked as chief executive officer of Boise Behavioral Health Hospital. Prior to that he worked as Idaho’s behavioral health chief, overseeing all mental health, addiction services and developmental disability services for the state. His department had a $40 million budget and ran mental health clinics throughout the state for people without insurance.
Tiffany also worked as clinical operations manager for Lifeways, a private mental health and substance abuse contractor in eastern Oregon’s Malheur County. He holds a master of arts in professional counseling from the University of Ottawa and a master of education in counseling from Northern Arizona University, and is a certified professional counselor in both Oregon and Idaho.
While it’s been several years since he’s counseled clients directly, Tiffany said he’s still passionate about helping patients lead happier and healthier lives.
“I’m passionate about helping people realize the possibility of recovery,” Tiffany said. “Oftentimes it’s sparked as a potential idea. But the ongoing recovery is aided by the system believing in people’s ability to get better.”
Tiffany said he’s still getting settled into his new position at the Salem-based Mid-Valley Behavioral Care Network, a managed behavioral healthcare organization directed by a partnership of consumer advocates and service providers who offer a continuum of mental health and chemical dependency services in Linn, Marion, Polk, and Yamhill Counties. The major difference he sees between working in Idaho and in Oregon is both a challenge and an opportunity: the speed with which healthcare delivery is changing in Oregon.
A key question in the transformation of the Oregon Health Plan has been how healthcare organizations will integrate addiction and mental health services with primary care. The state has been tasked with cutting Medicaid spending by 2 percent over the next five years, and has focused its efforts partly on reducing the use of high-cost services.
Since many “frequent flyers” – those who visit the emergency room often – are insured, but have chronic physical conditions co-occurring with a mental health or addiction problem – coordination efforts so far have focused on making sure Oregon Health Plan members have access to addiction treatment or counseling.
Tiffany said one of his immediate concerns is ensuring the network – which contracts with the Oregon Health Plan to provide mental and behavioral health services to the 74,000 plan members in the five counties it serves – gets the results communities are expecting.
Tiffany took the reins from longtime director Jim Russell, who retired earlier this year. Under Russell’s leadership, the organization began using the Early Assessment and Support Alliance, a therapeutic tool for young people experiencing psychosis, which emphasizes using family and community support and is now the standard of care.
“I know I have big shoes to fill here,” Tiffany said, adding he hopes to continue the organization’s level of involvement in the planning and design of the mental health system. “They’ve done so many good things here.”