Process improvement for behavioral health

Publicize Your New and Improved Services


People don’t know about the services you offer.


Publicize your new and improved services, including your waiting time and continuation rates.

Featured Stories

Daybreak Youth Services in Spokane, Washington increased private bed days from just under 6 bed days/month to over 12 bed days/month between July and November of 2008 by publicizing and marketing their services, including information about their program on a website, which had a downloadable intake/admission packet and information request form. They also visit probation offices throughout Washington to put human faces on Daybreak admissions and clinical staff, to highlight what they do well through inquiry and conversation, and to find out what referrers like about what they do (so they can do those things more) and how they might assist the referrers and their clients further. They also send referrers a newsletter that includes success with NIATx Aims, thank you letters, and gifts (e.g., appointment books with the Daybreak logo).

Central New York Services in Syracuse, New York increased admissions by 52 percent and increased assessment appointments by mailing and faxing a one-page flyer describing their intake process and services to other providers, hospitals, schools, probation officers, parole boards, criminal justice centers, the Department of Social Services, child protective services, and others. They obtained a list of potential referral sources from their county and added to it for surrounding counties. The additional billable units of service that resulted from this change more than covered the cost of producing and mailing/faxing the flyers.

Lessons Learned

  • Consider everyone connected to your agency as a person who markets your agency (for free), including employees and alumni. Give them business cards.
  • Broadcast access and retention rates to referrers.
  • Get names of potential referral sources from county agencies.
  • Invite local newspapers to include a story about your agency.
  • Use a website to publicize information about your agency.
  • Keep your agency’s name in front of referrers and remind them how wonderful you are, including success with the NIATx aims.

Tracking Measures

Cycle Measure

Percentage of referred clients who were admitted

Data Collection Forms



  • 1. Select one referral source that you want to attract.
  • 2. Decide how you will publicize your new and improved services to this referrer.
  • 3. Collect baseline data for the number of admissions referred by the selected referrer for two weeks.


  • 4. Publicize your new and improved services to this referrer.
  • 5. Test this change for the next two weeks.
  • 6. Track the number of admissions made by the selected referrer for two weeks after publicizing your new and improved services to them.


  • 7. Check the fidelity of the change. Was the change implemented as planned?
    • Evaluate the change:
    • Did the number of referrals from the selected referrer increase?
    • Did the number of admissions from the selected referrer increase?


  • 8. If this change was an improvement:
    • Adopt this change or adapt it for more improvement and re-test it with the same referral source.
    • Expand the use of this process to other referral sources.
    • Document the processes that resulted in an improvement so that you can continue to use them efficiently.
    • Test other, related promising practices that apply to your setting.

If this change was not an improvement and you can’t make it work with the selected referral source, try a different publicity strategy or referral source or abandon this practice and test other promising practices that might be more successful in your setting.

More Stories

WASTAR in Reno, Nevada attracted more funding by including their success stories about reducing waiting time and increasing continuation when they applied for grants or did fund raising activities.

Senior Hope Counseling in Albany, New York increased admissions initially from 10 to 40 admissions per month, leveling off to 12 admissions each month after a story about their treatment program that specializes in seniors 50 years old and older was published in the local newspaper. This helped publicize their program.