Loreen Thompson’s Avalon Story.
Thank You, Avalon Hills
Seven years ago I received a call from a former co-worker who was currently employed at Avalon Hills.He let me know one of the partners at Avalon was selling her portion of the company and it would leave Avalon Hills without anyoneto do their insurance negotiations and billings.I thanked him for thinking of me, and let him know I was not interested as I was currently employed at psychiatric eating disorder hospital where I had worked for over eleven years.I was 61 years old, and planned to retire with this company.He begged me to at least go to Logan, which was a two hour drive from where I was residing,and at least speak with the owners.He said he knew I would love working with Avalon Hills, as it was a small residential eating disorder company, was privately owned andsaid Avalon Hills really cared about their patient’s recovery, and they treated their employees like family.
My friend knew I was not happy with my current employment, as it had recently been sold to a large corporation.My job became very stressful, as the new company was primarily interested in census and profit, and discharged their patients when insurance denied.I let him know I was flattered he would think of me, however, I had invested 11 ½ years with this employer, and most likely would be retiring in several years and it was not a good time for me to make a change in my employment.
He would not take “No” for an answer and was determined to have me meet with the owners and explore Avalon Hills’ treatment program, as he knew I would be happy working there, because I could advocate for the patients.
My daughter, Angela, called me one night and told me my friend had contacted her and requested she try to convince me to at least go to Logan andmeet with the owners of Avalon Hills and look into my options of working for another company.I finally agreed I would go, but it was only to appease my friend so he would quit calling me.
My friend and I drove to Logan on a Saturday morning, my day off, and met with Benita Quakenbush-Roberts for lunch.She started to tell me about their “Treat to Outcome” program,and how they fight insurance companies when treatment was denied.Avalon did everything possible to make certain their patients were allowed to remain in treatment until they had recovered.I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!I was very passionate about exploring various ways to help patients to be able to stay in treatment until they had completed the program.However, when my employer sold to a large corporation was more focused on“heads in beds” than “treat to outcome”.
The longer I talked to Benita, the more excited I became aware she had the same passion I did to help these women remain in treatment.I only spent a couple of hours with her, and at the end of our meeting,my hope was she would call me and want me to join Avalon Hills.
I am honored, and proud to say I have been employed with Avalon Hills for seven years.I have been able to assist the admission department by making arrangements with our patients insurance to obtain the best possible coverage of treatment, andhelp our UR Department find ways to fight insurance, and to advocate and assist parents in various ways financially so they can keep their daughters in treatment.
Avalon Hills has allowed me be involved with the Eating Disorder Coalitionto lobby twice a year in Washington DC to help our Senators and Congressman understand the need for better laws to help the mentally ill, and especially eating disorders, which has the highest mortality rate of all mental illness.
I do not consider my work at Avalon Hills a job.I consider myself and advocate for women, and am constantly trying to figure out a way how I can help patients and parents, to fight their insurance companies, work with their employers, or to brainstorm on ways to fund their treatment.I have seen miracles happen at Avalon Hills because we are willing to take risks.Women are recovering from this dreadful disorder.
Thank you Benita, and my family at Avalon Hills.You have allowed me to “think outside the box” and present ideas, which some have been successful and some have not.My wish would be for all treatment centers to stand up to insurance companies who dictate treatment and label these women chronic, and not allow them to stay in treatment.If we all had the same vision, and truly cared about our profession, and not just think about becoming wealthy, every person would recover!I love what I do, and thank Benita for continuing to improve treatment and to take a risk!!!