Harmony Foundation Podcast Interview with John Stenzel, CEO of A Healing Place – The Estates

Gina Thorne:   Hi everyone. Welcome to the Harmony Foundation Podcast Series. I’m pleased to be joined by John Stenzel, CEO of A Healing Place – The Estates in … Remind me what place in California you guys are located?

John Stenzel:   Ventura County, just south of Santa Barbara.

Gina Thorne:   Wonderful to have you here.

John Stenzel:   Thank you.

Gina Thorne:   Really glad that you came up to visit with us today at Harmony. We want to hear more about what you do, and what A Healing Place is about, but before we do that, we want to hear a little bit more about your background, and what got you into the   field of addiction treatment.

John Stenzel:   Great. Thank you. I’ve been in health care nearly 40 years. I spent 11 years in physical and occupational rehab side, and working with paraplegics, quadriplegics, et cetera. After doing that for 11 years, it got me interested in the field of psychiatry, and then addiction medicine, and then behavioral health.

Gina Thorne:   And you ran a couple of programs, I think, right?

John Stenzel:   I had several programs. I had an adolescent residential program, I had a silver living business program, I had an international psychiatric services company, and had a very large behavioral group practice in LA. Now, I’ve transitioned into A Healing Place – The Estates.

Gina Thorne:   Which is a very great way for us to segue into hearing more about this unique program that you have created with a couple of wonderful people. It really is a program that, based on my conversations with you all, is transforming the epidemic of chronic pain in our country. It’s one of those things that’s on the forefront of everyone’s mind in the field of addiction treatment, but not really familiar with how to treat it. It sounds like you are really working on creating a unique model to do that.

John Stenzel:   Well, we are. I’ve partnered up with two industry professionals, Dr. Joe Cabaret is our chief medical officer and co-founder. He’s triple boarded, anesthesiology, pain, and addiction. Our other partner, chief clinical officer Dr. Stephen Grinstead, and he’s worked in the field for about 35 years, and he created the addiction free pain management evidence based treatment system, and that has become the foundation for our program.

Gina Thorne:   Wonderful. Can you talk with me for a few minutes about what a client would experience if they were coming into your program, who has had a long-standing experience of chronic pain? What would they expect coming into the Healing Place?

John Stenzel:   Because of the specialty program that we’ve developed, it’s a triple diagnosis program, so everyone has to have chronic pain that comes into the program, and 95% of everybody that is suffering from chronic pain will have psychological disorders and/or addictive disorders, because of the opiate epidemic, et cetera. The program is unique in that we are a closed program. We don’t allow any more than six patients at a time. It’s a closed cohort, and every level of care is for six weeks. The patients that are coming in, they’ve been suffering from chronic pain for years if not decades, so they need to be medically stabilized, detoxed, psychiatrically stabilized, and motivated to want to work the program. It’s quite unique. We start a new program every six weeks. All levels of care are six weeks in duration. We’re dealing with very, very complex issues, physical, sometimes failed operations, injuries, workers comp patients, those kinds of things, so they’re very complex and we offer medical services, psychiatric services, psychological services, and obviously addictive services.

Gina Thorne:   It’s a really special program, and much needed I think. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see more of it being replicated in other parts of the country. You mentioned that you’ve been in the field for a little while, and so as we look at where health care is going, and what’s going on with the field of addiction treatment, what are you personally seeing as a forecast for the future around addiction?

John Stenzel:   Well, I think what’s going to happen, I think there’s going to be a resurgence of integrated care, not just addiction as a stand-alone. We all have seen the history of going from dual diagnosis to coexisting disorders, and most patients now are very complex. They have coexisting disorders, the chronic pain, medical issues, and there’s other diseases that we’re dealing with at the same time concurrently with treating these. I think one of the things that we’re going to be seeing is a major paradigm shift tied to outcomes, and that treatment programs need to be performance based. You have to really look at your program, is it effective, and stop the major relapses, which has been notorious in this field for the last 20 to 30 years.

Gina Thorne:   Yeah, I think you’re dead on. I think there’s more and more of that that needs to happen as far as a stronger sense of accountability of the services that are being provided, because people want to see effectiveness. We just can’t throw a dart and hope that it’s going to be okay. So your first time … No, not first time visit, you’ve been here before, but years ago, right?

John Stenzel:   Years ago. Yes, many years ago.

Gina Thorne:   Okay. Tell me about how you feel about Harmony.

John Stenzel:   Well, I’m super impressed. I feel bad that I haven’t been here sooner again. I see such amazing changes, the integration of mental health services, and just the expansion of the programs and services, the expertise, the client services, the clinical team, medical, et cetera. It’s just really amazing.

Gina Thorne:   Thank you. We’re thrilled to be able to build a partnership with A Healing Place. If someone who is listening to this podcast today wanted to access services at your program, how could they get in touch with you?

John Stenzel:   Well, they can either call, we have a toll free number, and that number is 844-388-4100. That’s again, toll free. They can access our website, which is AHealingPlaceTheEstates.com. We have plenty of information. You can call me directly, my cell phone number is area code 818-618-0404, or contact anybody at the office, and ask for the admissions department or talk to any of the clinical people.

Gina Thorne:   Sounds great. Thank you, John, for your time with us today.

John Stenzel:   Thank you very much for having me.