Ask the Expert: Rebecca Bjorklund of Meridian Behavioral Health

We feature an expert in the mental health and substance use disorder field to answer questions. This issue we talk to Rebecca “Becky” Bjorklund of Meridian Behavioral Health about the process of entering treatment.

Q: Would you be able to provide some insights into your professional background, your present role, and the aspects of your daily work that you find particularly engaging?

My name is Becky Bjorklund, I am the Director of Admissions and Utilization Review (UR) at Meridian Behavioral Health. I have worked within our organization since 2010 in a variety of different roles from the sites to our main office. The thing I love most about what we do is seeing the positive change in our patients as well as the success stories.

Q: For an individual considering substance use disorder treatment, what initial step is typically undertaken as part of the admissions process?

All it takes is a phone call and we will walk you through the admissions process, which typically requires a quick phone screen to help us understand our patient’s needs as well as to ensure we can meet those needs.

Q: What is a comprehensive assessment?

Once onsite, our patients complete a comprehensive assessment. This assessment tool is used to gather information about our patients’ use history, medical history, mental health concerns, environmental concerns, as well as determine appropriate level of care.

Q: In the event that an individual undergoes an assessment with one organization resulting in recommended treatment, are they permitted to pursue treatment services from an alternative company?

If you have already completed a comprehensive assessment, we use that prior to admission to ensure our programs are the right fit.

Q: Can you please explain the different levels of care and how someone knows they’re going to enter the appropriate level of care?

There are a few different levels of care, which can be tricky sometimes for patients. The easiest thing is for them to call the admissions team and we can help them navigate this based on their individual needs. We utilize ASAM criteria to determine what level of care is most appropriate for the patient.

Q: What usually happens right before someone enters treatment? What does it look like on the first day?

Once the individual is scheduled and arrives at our sites, we walk them through all necessary paperwork and have them meet with our nursing staff. We like to welcome our patients with a tour of the facility, introduce them to other staff and get them settled in.

Q: Does the individual get to stay connected with their family and friends while in treatment? Would there be any challenges or complications that could arise from this?

Yes, support systems are a very important piece to recovery. We have family programming at all of our locations and encourage our patients to remain in contact with their support system throughout their treatment. We know that substance use all too often places a strain on our patient’s support system causing complications from time to time. We meet our patients where they are at and try to help them navigate through those challenges.

Q: What kind of support is there for family members?

We have groups that are geared just towards the family and also offer family sessions for our patients and their families.

Q: What are some of the barriers for people who are looking to get help for their substance use?

Some of the most common barriers we see include financial, patients being unsure of how to get the process started, transportation, and housing to name a few.

Q: What are some general resources for people in Minnesota looking to access care?

County Health and Human Services, SAMHSA’s treatment locater,, hospital systems, or directly calling the treatment centers.

Rebecca Bjorklund, BS, LADC, is a fearless advocate for behavioral healthcare and specifically substance use disorder and mental health, Rebecca “Becky” Bjorklund initially pursued a degree in Secondary Education at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 2009. It was her work at Meridian Behavioral Health’s Meadow Creek facility in early 2010, working as a Recovery Specialist and TMA, that grew her interest to pursue LADC licensure. Through her continued work and development at Meadow Creek as both an intake coordinator and program coordinator, Becky eventually went back to school and completed her LADC, and ultimately became Program Director at Meadow Creek in 2016. Never one to shy away from a challenge or opportunity, Becky spearheaded change and excellent patient-centered care at Meadow Creek and then Lake Shore for the next five years before taking another professional leap into the role of Director of Admissions and Utilization Review in 2021. She has been at the helm of running Meridian Behavioral Health’s entire front end for two years and has been the catalyst for process change and improvement, helping to streamline easier access to more patients across the Meridian system. Becky truly enjoys working with the population Meridian serves, and the unique circumstances and challenges many patients face. Her immediate goal is always to ensure fast and friendly access to care for both the referents and patients served. 

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Last Updated on September 7, 2023

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