Tomasz Jankowski, DPT, MHA, MBA; is the president & CEO of Northeast Kingdom Human Services (NKHS), which offers a comprehensive array of services to residents of the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont. These services are provided for individuals with needs relating to mental health, substance abuse, and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Jankowski sat down with us in on a crisp fall day to discuss the value that OneCare Vermont brings to system-wide health care reform in Vermont. Jankowski has been a strong voice of support for OneCare. He has written that OneCare “… has significantly influenced and increased care coordination between primary care providers, hospitals, and NKHS. This has further allowed NKHS’ clinicians timely access to information about patients reporting to the emergency departments, information to which the organization would, otherwise, have no access.”
Various facets of OneCare were pointed out, including how OneCare is simultaneously a movement, a vision, and a new system of care; how the cost of managing OneCare compares to the value it provides to Vermont; and how it brings together health care organizations and providers and strives to reduce duplication of efforts.
Jankowski also discussed how NKHS benefited from joining OneCare – how not joining it would have been “a mistake.” He said by becoming part of a greater collaborative network focused on improving quality of care, this has improved the continuum of care, allowed for greater integration of services, and has created greater security and safety in NKHS’ abilities to keep people from “falling through the cracks.”
When asked “what analogy can you share about the [massive] systems change OneCare is bringing to Vermont?” Jankowski brought up the analogy of climate change and the impact on future generations. He said, “As with any investment, we need time, we need the resources, we need patience. These ingredients must work together to generate the future that we are all expecting … we need to stay on the path, like we did with COVID, and give it a chance. As long as our vision is aligned, I think we can really see this become a very successful and exemplary movement that others are going to emulate.”
On OneCare as a long-term investment for the future:
I view this also as an investment in the future. OneCare Vermont is not, in my judgment, a company. It is investment in movement, it is investment in movement that may not produce results in a year, or two years, or three years. I view it as a future that we can offer to Vermonters. We may not benefit from that future today, we may not benefit from it in five years. But I think we are doing it for our children and for our children’s children.
On OneCare as a movement of consequential importance:
This is a movement of consequential importance; nothing should stop us and prevent us from continuously investing in it. I see nothing but a bright future for OneCare Vermont as a network, and as the success story for our communities and the people that we serve. OneCare Vermont’s budget is actually the value of the services that we provide for the community today. With every investment, as with anything, there is a cost to managing it, and the budget of what it takes to manage the system [OneCare] is minuscule compared to the value that the network provides to our communities.
On OneCare’s management of costs:
Being on the board of managers I know very well, how thoughtful this organization is, how thoughtful their management is about cutting costs, cutting administrative costs, and transferring those dollars into the care provision. What it costs to administer our system of care pales in comparison to what other investments require.
On OneCare bringing together organizations more efficiently:
OneCare Vermont is also a magnet that brings together multiple community organizations. And it’s also a glue that holds those organizations together. Because we do not want to duplicate efforts, certainly not triplicate, we want to make sure our coordination, which requires patience, and an investment of time, really works toward creating a greater linkage between providers.
On OneCare: “We can only get better.”
OneCare Vermont, we can only get better, we can only get more sophisticated in our ability to treat and provide care to our communities across the entire state. NKHS, as a designated agency provides yet another link into building this comprehensive system of care. When I think about OneCare Vermont, this network, I think of this as continuously building the net, the net for safety. And for us, not joining it would be a disservice to the system.
About Tomasz Jankowski
Tomasz Jankowski, DPT, MHA, MBA is the president and CEO of Northeast Kingdom Human Services. Read this article from VTDigger.com about Jankowski’s career.
About Northeast Kingdom Human Services (NKHS)
To empower individuals, families, and communities by promoting hope, healing, and support
NKHS provides the best possible service to friends and neighbors in the NEK region, and helps them face mental health challenges, recover from addiction, and live fulfilling lives. NKHS is involved in every aspect of our communities and providing the necessary support services to truly enhance the lives of all individuals. Some of these services include:
- Adult Mental Health Services
- Addiction Services
- Suicide Prevention
- Emergency and Enhanced Emergency Services
- Community Rehabilitation Therapy (CRT)
- Intellectual and Developmental Services (IDDS)
- Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS)
- Consultation and Education