Treating the Body and the Mind: New Behavioral Health Director Elevates the Level of Integrated Care

The following article appears in the spring 2018 issue of the Joseph’s Journey newsletter.

Holistic. It’s a word that can have different meanings to different people. For Joseph’s Home new Behavioral Health Director Michael Biscaro, PsyD, holistic has just one meaning: treating both the body and mind to address issues that may have led to homelessness in the first place. Holistic care has always been the goal of Joseph’s Home, but with the addition of Dr. Biscaro, consistently taking a holistic, integrated approach to the men served has become more feasible.

Dr. Biscaro has more than 15 years of experience providing direct clinical psychology service and consultation. As behavioral health director, Dr. Biscaro is at Joseph’s Home weekly to help identify and address mental health and substance abuse issues and connect residents with ongoing intensive care. He also helps train and oversee staff on evidence-based practices (such as trauma-informed care) and motivational approaches to care, as well as developing clinically efficient processes that lead to positive health outcomes. His position and that of the new medical director were made possible through a $150,000 grant.

“I am responsible for developing and maintaining an integrated model of care where an individual’s whole health needs are addressed. It’s my role to work with staff to identify behavioral health concerns that might be impacting an individual’s recovery in our medical respite care setting,” said Dr. Biscaro.

With Dr. Biscaro on staff, Joseph’s Home can better meet the complex physical, mental and social challenges residents face. Prior to having a clinical presence in house, staff relied on external providers for mental, emotional and substance abuse issues. Now that care is more integrated, clinical issues can be addressed in house and plans can be developed more seamlessly to address resident needs. Dr. Biscaro said an additional benefit is that he and other staff members can now discuss creating a more outcome-driven model of care, and creating more data-driven strategies to assist residents over time.

“By developing more efficient processes, training staff in more evidence-based practices and establishing a system of quality, we will be more effective in the long-run with the goal of having better health outcomes and maintaining wellness long after each man leaves Joseph’s Home,” added Dr. Biscaro.

An additional duty Dr. Biscaro has is to supervise the peer recovery support staff and build capacity. A peer recovery supporter is someone who has similar lived experiences to Joseph’s Home residents and will use their shared experiences to help residents and alumni attain their goals.

“With a behavioral health director on site, we continue to improve and strengthen our medical respite programming. Already, we are seeing tremendous progress in ramping up the level of integrated care we can provide the men we serve, both residents and alumni,” said Executive Director Christine Horne.