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Forces and Trends Research - the Valley Hope Association

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This paper goes over forces and trends for Strategic planning

Running head: FORCES AND TRENDS RESEARCH

Forces and Trends Research

Learning Team C

Mark Mc Clintock

Forces and Trends Research

Insert Introduction

Laurie Cliff - Valley Hope Association

Economic Factors

The Valley Hope Association has been treating alcoholics and addicts in Norton, Kansas for over 43 years. They have struggled through or thrived in many different economic conditions. Many people who may have been abusers of alcohol or drugs can see a marked increase in their use leading to dependency during difficult economic times. Adam Brickner, prior Denver, Colorado Drug Czar wrote "After a decade of consistent declines in drug and alcohol abuse...the 2009 Partnership/Metlife Foundation Attitude Tracking Survey (PATS) have found that the declines [in drug and alcohol abuse] have reversed" (Greenvilleonline.com, 2010, para. 3).

While a poor economy can increase trends of alcohol and drug addiction; fewer people have the resources to access chemical dependency treatment. When the economy is booming, people have health insurance, savings or family assistance to pay for the costs of treatment. When an alcoholic or addict has lost their job, their home and depleted their savings, there are little to no resources available to pay for treatment. In Illinois, "increases in demand [for drug treatment] "increased demand for services during the economic recession had caused the [Department of Human Services] budget deficit" (Wurth, 2011, p. 1). Illinois has chosen to stop all funding for their state funded drug and alcohol treatment centers (Wurth, 2011). According to a survey conducted by the National Institutes of Health, "30 percent of all adults between the ages of 20 and 29 have no health insurance" (Narcanon, 2011, p.1). Unfortunately, many of these people who are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction are unable to afford effective treatment. Decreases in bed availability at state funded drug programs cause indigent patients to seek treatment programs that were designed to treat the middle and upper classes.

Current economic conditions force treatment centers like the Valley Hope Association to revise not only their budgets but the strategic plans for keeping their census up while still remaining viable. With no economic improvement in the near-term future on the horizon, defining the strategic plan changes remains a challenge.

Political Influences

Political influences in the health care area abound during the 21st century. Whether Health Care Reform (HCR), which will allow previously uninsured to be insured, whether or not this will allow private drug and alcohol treatment centers to remain viable remains to be seen. Proponents of Heath Care Reform believe treatment will be more accessible. "On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed legislation to reform health care, allowing guaranteed access to health insurance for millions of people" (Narcanon, 2011. p. 1). Deni Carise discusses how treatment works at facilities similar to Valley Hope. "Currently, clients come into treatment via an extensive intake process and enter a highly structured, abstinence-oriented program. These procedures may not be effective or tolerable for a client who is not severely dependent, a person who is not yet ready to become abstinent, or someone in recovery seeking support during a particularly stressful time" (Carise, 2010, p.1). Ms. Carise goes on to share her opinions that Health Care Reform will require treatment facilities to adopt programs that are regulated by government ideas and protocols designed to assist those who may not yet be ready to be abstinent or enter into a highly structured treatment program.

There are many who believe that an unregulated substance abuse/chemical dependency treatment field allows individuals the opportunity to choose what works for them. Living in America has always allowed individuals choices. Americans can choose holistic medicine or a "Western" approach to medicine. Presently, it is difficult to know how Health Care Reform will shape the Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse treatment fields. However, if the government begins regulating the treatment philosophies and approaches that facilities can use, this will greatly limit the opportunities private organizations can use to treat individuals with addiction problems.

Substitute availability

During its growing years, Valley Hope Association opened at least 14 residential and 22 outpatient locations (Pogue, 2008). Today, only 9 residential and 9 outpatient facilities are still operating. Norton Valley Hope (NVH), at one time, treated an average of 75 patients per day each year. Today, the facility is licensed for 70, however, average patients per day for the last fiscal year was a dismal 28 (Norton Valley Hope, 2011). One of the primary reasons for the decline in census is the fact that VHA built three other residential treatment facilities within a 400 mile radius of Norton Valley Hope, namely, Atchison Valley Hope, Atchison, KS; Moundridge Valley Hope, Moundridge, KS and Parker Valley Hope, Parker, CO. Without recognizing it, VHA set its pioneer facility up to compete with its sister facilities. Today, in order to remain viable, the executive leadership of VHA and the leadership team of Norton Valley Hope must find a way to increase census and dramatically reduce the annual financial deficit or face extinction.

In many way's VHA has hurt its first treatment center by building other sister facilities near large cities all around us. Other nationally known treatment centers are available, some at lower cost, many at much higher cost. We pride ourselves on treating the middle classes. If substitutes start up near us or drop their pricing structure, we could be hurt by this.

John Dunbar - Fantastic Toys and Games

Economic Factors

In the toy industry costs are rising on all fronts. Since costs are going up for toy makers, costs are going up for retail sales. "Toys are more expensive. The costs of everything involved in their creation continues to go up and up and up" (The Toys, They are A-Changin' - Alarming Trends in the Toy Industry, para. 3). For Fantastic Toys and Games this means

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