The comeback is always better than the setback
1987, PA Governor Casey announced the closing of Philadelphia State Hospital (Byberry). The shift from institutional to community placements impacted hundreds of individuals.
CST was established in October of 1990 to track approximately 500 individuals who were affected by the closing of Philadelphia State Hospital to ascertain their satisfaction with community-based services. With the full support of the local mental health authority at that time, which was the Office of Mental Health (OMH)., CST established relationships with OMH to monitor this paradigm in care and to ensure the individual’s satisfaction. Accountability meetings were established to address concerns/issues voiced by individuals and family members regarding MH services.
CST staff became comprised of individuals and family members of individuals that use the MH services. In the spring of 1991, the Board of Directors was established, and the by-laws and Mission Statement were created.
When Health Choices was implemented in SE PA, the City of Philadelphia contracted with CST, OMH, Community Behavioral Health (CBH), and the Coordinating Office of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Programs (CODAAP) to ascertain satisfaction with behavioral health services provided to children/adolescents and adults receiving mental health and/or substance use disorders services funded through Medicaid.
DBHIDS also contracts with CST to provide fiscal and personnel responsibility for the Behavioral Health Training and Education Network or BHTEN, a city-wide initiative established to support the Philadelphia DBHIDS and other human services systems by planning, coordinating, and providing quality learning experiences for the entire behavioral health system.
Philadelphia was the first city in the country to have a consumer satisfaction team. CST is an integral part of Pennsylvania’s Mental Health Plan, which resulted in Appendix L, part of the contract CBH has with the State of Pennsylvania.
CST actively participates in various community outings to bring awareness and further the mission of the behavioral health system’s transformation. Over the years, CST has sparked national and international interest and has visited and/or had visits with delegates from the states of Maryland, Alaska, Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin and the countries of Israel, Japan, and the United Kingdom to provide consultation.
CST has written and been featured in numerous publications, including the NAMI Advocate, MidAtlantic Regional Information Exchange, and Behavioral Health Tomorrow.