Rogers Behavioral Health hiring for hundreds of positions, adopts telehealth amid COVID-19

Outpatient programs convert to telehealth

Rogers Behavioral Health in Oconomowoc.

Last updated on April 28th, 2020 at 02:45 pm

Rogers Behavioral Health is seeking to fill hundreds of open positions as it continues to build out its mental health and addiction treatment programs.

The Oconomowoc-based behavioral health system is hiring across its network of locations, with positions ranging from housekeepers to cooks to behavioral health assistants to registered nurses.

“Overall, Rogers is in growth mode,” said Brad Riemann, chief clinical officer.

Rogers has been on a growth trajectory in recent years, having opened several new outpatient locations and added capacity to its inpatient facilities — including its Oconomowoc and West Allis hospitals. Last year, it completed expansion projects at both hospitals, adding capacity to serve 62 more patients through its residential programs. In January, it announced plans to build a new treatment center in Sheboygan.

The system recently added 15 behavioral health assistant positions across its West Allis, Oconomowoc and Brown Deer locations.

“We’re in a unique position where we’re growing and also open,” Riemann said. “There are many who have lost jobs because of (the COVID-19 coronavirus) who may be able to find a new home here at Rogers.”

Rogers has seen an increase in people seeking its services in recent days.

“Patients continue to seek admission to our programs at all levels of care,” Riemann said. “I find that very inspiring. We’re all very aware of what’s happening and the stress and strain that’s putting on everyone, but people are still recognizing they’re in need of behavioral health services.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t slowed the system’s growth, it has significantly affected its delivery of care. All Rogers’ outpatient programs, which serve about 500 patients across its 17 locations, have converted to telehealth. Therapy groups meet via video conference, though small teams of employees remain at each of its outpatient locations to serve patients who don’t have access to technology or aren’t best served by telehealth, Riemann said.

“Outpatient has really dramatically changed,” he said. “And we’ve really initiated this all in about the past nine or 10 days.”

Its residential facilities, which serve acute patients in need of hospitalization, continue to operate as usual with the integration of some telehealth. For example, the system recently teleconferenced an inpatient therapy group from one location to two of its other groups.

“We got tremendous feedback …. (the patients) enjoyed some of the diversity of having the larger group that they may not have gotten on their own,” Riemann said.

The health system has temporarily banned visitors at its inpatient facilities out of COVID-19 concerns, and it is preparing for a potential scenario in which the system is affected by cases of the virus.

“We’re modeling out every scenario that you could imagine,” Riemann said, “Including scenarios where, if there were a spike in cases here that affected staffing, we would have staff doing sessions at home with an inpatient unit.”

Rogers has also bolstered its employee benefits in response to the coronavirus, including offering 14 days of additional paid time off for COVID-19 related needs, offering free and discounted meals from area restaurants and enhancing child care benefits for employees while their children are out of school.

Meanwhile, Riemann said, the system has seen many employees show a willingness to help in the midst of the crisis. More than 200 people who are in administrative or other non-patient-facing positions have volunteered to step back into patient-serving roles, if needed, he said.

“That’s inspiring,” Riemann said.

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.