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Hargrove Selected for NADD Certification Committee

Crystal Hargrove, a Clinical Consultation Specialist for IDD Care Coordination, recently earned Dual Diagnosis Specialist Certification from the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed (NADD) and was invited by the NADD board to become an examiner for future applicants for certification.

“As a professional, I am always looking for ways to fine tune my skills, and add to my toolkit," she said. NADD is a not-for-profit membership association established for professionals, care providers and families to promote understanding of and services for individuals who have developmental disabilities and mental health needs. The association offers three certification options: one for direct support professionals, a specialist version and a clinician version. 

Applicants that demonstrate average competency in each area are recommended for certification. Those that demonstrate above average competency may be asked to serve as an examiner for future applicants for certification. Hargrove was asked to serve on the NADD Dual Diagnosis Specialist Certification Committee, which meets monthly via the phone to discuss the need for additional trainings and resources to contribute to the learning community. 

“I am contributing to the development of trainings for direct support professionals who work with our members directly," she said.  

Hargrove was also included in a Leadership in Action feature on the Clinical Support Team in February 2017. The team was asked to present at the N.C. Guardianship Annual Conference last spring following their successful efforts to improve the outcomes for individuals who had difficulty getting the care they needed.  

Hargrove joined Cardinal Innovations in 2011 and works directly with Barbara Agnello, Clinical Director for IDD Care Coordination. “Our department was born out of the recommendations from Grant Thorton, who determined a few years back, that our care coordinators could better serve our members with enhanced clinical skills. The thought behind this was simple – a stronger clinical foundation for the care coordinator would result in more proactive interventions, decreasing crisis situations for our members and improving their quality of life."

Hargrove said she thinks of IDD Clinical Consultation team like a clinical hotline and calls it Cardinal Innovations' secret weapon. 

“I say that because we are the only department of its kind operating at the MCO (Managed Care Organization) level," she said. “Have a member in crisis? Need to talk through a strategy for someone on your caseload? Clinical Consultation to the rescue."

Hargrove works directly with IDD care coordinators and supervisors to strengthen their clinical awareness through a process called Technical Assistance, which introduces them to Behavior Skills Training (BST). The four elements of BST are instruction, modeling, rehearsing and feedback. These elements are broken down into 24 sessions, and include observations and interactions. The topics vary from review of tools and resources (for example, Person Centered Thinking Tools, Technical Assistance Tools) to Positive Behavior Guidelines. 

“So my day can range anywhere from helping a care coordinator prep for staffing or rounds, to an on- site observation of a member with challenging behavior," Hargrove said. “I get asked all the time, 'What are you looking for during an observation with a care coordinator?' " 

That varies, she said. “If there are challenges or disconnects, I look to see if the care coordinator is noticing the same thing I am, and what tools or recommendations they may offer to address the issue," she said.   

Hargrove's husband and son are her inspiration for continuing to work in behavioral healthcare. Her son has speech apraxia and ADHD. Her husband is diagnosed with narcolepsy. 

“Over the years, I've been blown away with how siloed our industry is," Hargrove said. “I can recall one experience when my husband was looking for a therapist to help him cope with having narcolepsy, and we found that very few clinicians actually understood what it was. Sure, they knew it was a diagnosis in the DSM IV at the time, but had no idea how his medical condition impacted his life."

What keeps her work so interesting, Hargrove said, is the people. “Our biological, psychological and social influences all overlap and interplay," she said. “It's like trying to put together a puzzle without any knowledge of the picture on the box."
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