By Mary McPhail Gray
“Everything changes,” declared Angela Sisneros in describing the impact she has seen Comprehensive Community Support Service (CCSS) has on clients at Taos Behavior Health. “They come in with a smile on their face, they are much more apt to talk to others in the waiting room, and they readily make additional appointments. It is so different than when they first come in feeling negative and worried.”
Taos Behavioral Health now has four employees who are fully certified in CCSS, and six others in the process of being certified. The CCSS provides clients who are eligible for full Medicaid benefits with a path to self-sufficiency and more successful participation in the community.
Sisneros has been certified for a number of years through her education and participation in various behavioral health positions in Taos. From a multi-generation Taos family, Sisneros was a single parent who knew she wanted to help others—initially with a goal of being an educator. Her work at UNM-Taos began to emphasize alcohol and substance abuse treatment and intervention in abusive situations. She found those topics compelling and following her completion of an associate degree she took a position at Taos Detox.
Sisneros describes her work at the Detox Center as deeply rewarding. “I loved helping people.” Over ten years, she moved from an attendant position, to an administrative assistant, to a team leader and then the Supervisor of daily operations. In that position she was responsible for overseeing the clinical process and services, ensuring quality of care and required testing and reporting protocols. Admissions and discharge plans were made with the CCSS model for which she received annual re-certification.
When the Detox Center closed, Sisneros moved to Tri-County Community Services as the case manager for the Intensive Outpatient Service Program (IOP). Her clients were involved in the legal system, in community corrections and Children Youth and Family Services. Again, her knowledge of CCSS enabled her to oversee drug screens, communicate with referral sources, and create appropriate care plans for clients.
After the closing of Tri-County Services, Sisneros was recruited to TBH to help initiate our CCSS. Responsible for intake and client referrals to clinicians for assessments, Sisneros is the positive smiling figure in the TBH main office. She prides herself in being able to “break the ice” with new clients who often feel so reluctant to ask for help. After an assessment, each client is assigned an appropriate treatment plan, and those who qualify for CCSS make an agreement with the professional who guides their journey. Clients make decisions about goals they have for their current challenges and the professionals guide them to access appropriate community services.
Sisneros emphasizes that she does not “do for” clients but rather provides them with caring support and information about how to access services that are available to them. Her deep knowledge of the Taos community and her commitment to facilitating growth is clearly evident in her work with clients. She comments that even if one or two clients at the Detox Center was able to stabilize and become clean and sober, she felt proud.
We are fortunate to have her skills now available to TBH clients. Call 575-758-4297 to make an appointment. We welcome you to create a path to fulfill your goals.
TBH has the largest behavioral health staff in Northern New Mexico. Access us at 575-758-4297 or www.taosbehavioralhealth.org
Mary McPhail Gray is the board chair of TBH and can be reached at 575-779-3126 or firstname.lastname@example.org