A Community-Minded Approach Shapes Care in Clallam
Reflections Counseling Services Group in Port Angeles makes a difference one patient at a time.
The Olympic Community of Health (OCH) region is geographically large, but its communities are tightly knit. Since the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas are rural and many of its towns remote, healthcare providers that are in tune with the needs of the local population are critical to ensuring the region’s health.
Across the region, providers pair local knowledge with treatment expertise to provide high quality care to an otherwise underserved part of Washington state. Reflections Counseling Services Group in Port Angeles is one such provider. “My mom is from Port Townsend and my dad is from Chimacum. To me, this is home,” says Reflections Administrator G’Nell Ashley. “Providing services to my community is an investment back into it.”
Ashley is actively involved in the region’s healthcare community, including OCH, where she chairs the 3-County Coordinated Opioid Response Project Treatment Workgroup, attends Natural Community of Care (NCC) convenings as an Implementation Partner, and serves as a member of the Community and Tribal Advisory Committee. Such involvement helps Ashley stay connected, building new relationships with other providers in the region while strengthen existing ones.
One set of crucial relationships are those Ashley has built with Medication Assisted Treatment, or MAT, prescribers. “Strengthening relationships with MAT prescribers has been a focal point for Reflections in providing the treatment side of MAT services,” says Ashley. “AWe have established a relationship with the three primary prescribers in our community—Jamestown Family Health Clinic, North Olympic Healthcare Network, and Olympic Medical Physicians—to include changes in our curriculum and service delivery as the needs of the different prescribers have been presented to us.”
In addition to MAT prescribers, the connections Ashley has made through NCCs facilitate “communication and collaboration with community-based organizations, primary care, mental health, and other substance use disorder providers.” These connections, paired with Ashley’s tireless efforts, mean that community members and other healthcare providers “are aware of Reflections and its services,” she says, enabling the agency’s staff to better serve the community.
Staff at Reflections are heartened by the positive changes they see. “When the day comes that a client gets to graduate, it serves as a strong assurance that we are truly making a difference in the community, one client at a time,” says Reflections employee, Jim Lind. Ashley explains “people often say ‘you never see change in healthcare,’ but in a small community change is quicker.” Thanks to the dedication and community-minded approach of Reflections Counseling Group and other agencies like them, positive change has indeed occurred in Clallam County. As Reflections founder, Gayle McCormick, who is also Ashley’s mother, notes the results of this work—increased health—can be seen throughout the community, often in unexpected ways. “Due to the size of our community, we frequently witness positive changes when we have chance encounters at the grocery store, the college, the doctor’s office, and elsewhere.” Reflections staff member Sharla Lind adds that the work happening at Reflections succeeds in “creating a beautiful tapestry of hope” in Clallam County.
Reflections Counseling Services Group is a nonprofit outpatient substance use disorder treatment provider whose mission “is to provide prevention, intervention, treatment, and reco