2017 Annual Report


Sue Bissonette, our Executive Director

Year after year, Cazenovia Recovery gets better and better. We are always looking for new ways to help our residents, better connect with our partners in the community, and continue to develop our strengths as an agency 

Throughout 2017, we laid the groundwork for the enhanced treatment models we began offering on January 1, 2018. This was no small task. Teams throughout the agency spent months rigorously planning and executing significant improvements. We implemented a compliance plan, created new and ambitious clinical schedules at the programs, began upgrades to our IT infrastructure, revised intake practices, established relationships with managed care organizations, developed a billing and invoicing system for claims, and hired many new staff.

We also continued to focus on and improve our outcomes to ensure that we're providing the best possible care. With the opioid epidemic ravaging Western New York, we wanted to show that hope is available and that recovery is possible. With that in mind, we started our Stories of Recovery, some of which you will see featured below. Our residents have always inspired us with their strength and resilience. Consultants and capacity building initiatives were also extremely important in how we approached these challenges and opportunities. 

I invite you to read on so that you can see just how successful we were in 2017!

Cazenovia Manor in South Buffalo

Data & Outcomes

2017 Data

978 individuals supported

52% had a co-occurring mental health diagnosis

60% had a history of homelessness

Healthcare organizations across the state are placing more emphasis on data and outcomes, and rightly so. We focus on and measure our achievements to ensure that we're delivering the best possible care to those in need. Cazenovia Recovery has a solid history of data analysis with a strong quality assurance process. Together, these aspects ensure that we are responsive to the changing needs of our residents and communities. 

As you can see in the data above, Cazenovia Recovery supports some of the most vulnerable and at-risk individuals in Western New York. Most people in our care have been struggling with addiction for some time, and this has often led to being homeless. Many individuals in our programs also have co-occurring mental health diagnoses or medical concerns. 

Our Supportive Living Office

2017 Outcomes

of residents remained free of drugs and alcohol
had no emergency room (ER) visits during their stay
had no hospital admissions during their stay
had no behavioral health ER visits during their stay
discharged successfully 

While we serve a population with many challenges, our agency achieves impressive outcomes.

Of course, ensuring that our residents remain free of drugs and alcohol is of the utmost importance. But we also prioritize other outcomes that providers throughout Western New York have deemed important thanks to the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program and our local Performing Provider Systems (PPS). Our focus on reducing emergency room and hospital usage demonstrates our commitment to performance outcomes set by our local community.

By continuing to work together, we can deliver better care while also reducing costs to those in our programs. 

  "Everybody deserves the opportunity to have a good life."

  - Irish Scott, Senior Counselor at Unity House

Stories of Recovery

As always, our residents are the most important aspect of what we do. Even though they often have inspiring, courageous, and hopeful stories, their voices aren't always heard throughout the community. Thanks to the efforts of StoryGrowing WNY, Cazenovia Recovery is championing their words in new and exciting ways.  

One of these methods is our new Stories of Recovery series featured on our website. These posts describe exactly what recovery from substance use is like in Western New York. It gives a hopeful view that will encourage other individuals experiencing substance use issues to seek help. Here are just a few examples: 

Jim is a Veteran who has reconnected with his family. He credits Liberty Hall, Cazenovia Recovery's program for Veterans in recovery from substance use, as a major positive influence in his life.

“When I was using, I wasn’t just hurting myself,” he explained. “I was hurting my family, too.” Now, he and his family members speak regularly, and they’re always checking in on how he’s doing. “Things are much better,” he said. “I really look forward to seeing my mom and my family."

Read Jim's story here.

Thanks to the help from the staff at Somerset House, Whitney has found her purpose in recovery. She's focused, she's content, and she has great goals. While she's only nineteen, she has already overcome quite a lot in her life. Unsurprisingly, she also serves as an inspiration to everyone around her.

“I think everyone has a purpose,” she said. “I take a positive look at what happened to me, and I know that everything happens for a reason.”

Read Whitney's story here.

Mindy took advantage of her stay at Madonna House to focus on her health and wellness. “I’m seeing a doctor and a nutritionist,” she noted. 

The program allows her to perfect her cooking skills, which she knows is important for healthy eating. Mindy makes different types of salads, cole slaws, and pasta salads. “I actually like cooking,” she added. “It’s fun for me.”

Read Mindy's story here.

Interested in hearing more uplifting stories like these? Sign up for our newsletter below.

Part of our GetSET Team

Capacity Building

Healthcare -- especially services for people in recovery -- is in a constant state of change. To ensure that the agency is well-prepared for these upcoming transitions, Cazenovia Recovery has engaged in multiple capacity building efforts. 

First, the agency was nominated for participation in GetSET, a cohort-based initiative designed help mid-sized organizations reinforce their strengths while identifying potential new opportunities. We have focused on creating data dashboards, developing emotional intelligence in our leaders, implementing capacity plans, and more. Next, we are focusing on creating our value proposition to market our services in effective new ways. The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation has generously funded Cazenovia Recovery's participation in GetSET because they identified our agency as critical to the local community. GetSET is also funded by the Health Foundation for Central & Western New York and the John R. Oishei Foundation.

Similarly, the agency was one of eight local nonprofits accepted into StoryGrowing WNY. This initiative assists local nonprofits in their marketing efforts through the implementation and cultivation of stories. Based on the  teachings of Andy Goodman of The Goodman Center, StoryGrowing WNY has already had a significant impact on our marketing and storytelling efforts. In fact, the format for this annual report and web page was inspired by the initiative. StoryGrowing WNY is funded by the Health Foundation for Central & Western New York and the John R. Oishei Foundation.

Thanks to our capacity building efforts, we have:

Evaluated programs using data-driven methods

Implemented new organizational plans

Focused on cost-saving measures

Applied new and innovative practices

Adjusted procedures to suit new needs

Continued to offer care our residents love

Thank you again to The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, The John R. Oishei Foundation, the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, and KeyBank for funding our capacity building efforts. The agency is excited to meet new challenges and opportunities with the tools we have learned through these important efforts. 

Amy, a former Madonna House resident, speaking at a rally in front of the Niagara County Courthouse 

Future Strategies

In case you haven't heard, we experienced some very exciting transformations on January 1, 2018. On that day, we began offering Rehabilitation treatment, which is a new element of care designed by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). Rehabilitation is being offered at Cazenovia Manor in South Buffalo and Madonna House in Lockport. It enhances the services previously offered at these programs by including basic primary care and medical staffing, mental health treatment, vocational development, additional clinical interventions, medication-assisted treatment, and more all onsite. We expect to begin Stabilization at these programs in the very near future, as well, which will include minor-to-moderate withdrawal treatment. 

These new services will be extremely beneficial for individuals in recovery. Their care will no longer be segmented between different mental health, substance use, and residential providers during their stay. In addition, these new elements are designed with the idea that residents will be able to transition between varying levels of care within the same program. Since they will no longer need to transfer from location to location, less individuals will fall through the cracks in the continuum. These new services are funded through Medicaid managed care, which is a new venture for Cazenovia Recovery. This enhanced treatment will ensure the future success of the agency while delivering even better outcomes and care to individuals in recovery

We are also planning to offer Reintegration, the third element of care redesigned by OASAS, in other programs throughout the agency in the future. 

Now offering basic primary care and medical services in two programs!

On January 1, we also finalized the restructuring of our Housing program to ensure that we can capitalize on future opportunities. The program now serves a total of 58 individuals in Erie and Niagara Counties.  

Safe and affordable housing is sorely lacking in our area for individuals in recovery from substance use. Cazenovia Recovery sees this and we have developed plans to address it. First, the agency is in the process of developing a new housing initiative in Buffalo that will feature 23 studio apartments for individuals in recovery. It is expected to open in 2019. We are also exploring Niagara County for a new housing project in the near future. Cazenovia Recovery is very excited to offer even more housing to individuals in recovery.

Cazenovia Recovery is eager and excited to embrace these new challenges occurring throughout the healthcare community in Western New York.

We're expanding our Housing footprint in new and exciting ways very soon!

Recovery Day 2017

Thank You

First, thank you for your interest and continued support for Cazenovia Recovery. Our agency owes much to the continued encouragement of our partners throughout the area.  

We would also like thank the following organizations for providing operational funding to the agency: 

  • New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)
  • New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH)
  • Erie County Department of Mental Health
  • Niagara County Department of Mental Health
  • United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • United States Veterans Administration - Grant & Per Diem Program
  • KeyBank
  • The Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation
  • Departments of Social Services throughout New York State
  • Cazenovia Recovery Systems, Inc.

Thank you to the following organizations for providing capital funding to the agency: 

  • New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)
  • New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH)
  • New York State Homes and Community Renewal
  • United States Veterans Administration - Grant & Per Diem Program
  • Federal Home Loan Bank - M&T Bank
  • Key Community Development Corporation

Finally, thank you to our Board of Directors: 

  • President: David H. Nelson, Esq.,  Attorney at Dadd and Nelson Attorney and Counselors at Law
  • Vice President: Catherine M. Braniecki, Senior Vice President, Regional Corporate Responsibility Officer at KeyBank
  • Treasurer: John Anderson, Retired
  • Secretary: Sharon M. Hayes, Compliance Officer at Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc.
  • Member: Rosemary Duran, Executive Director of Transitional Services, Inc.
  • Member: Susan A. Green, Clinical Associate Professor at the UB School of Social Work
  • Member: Neldria Staton, Civil Engineer