Getting to Know: Charles Stokely, Admissions Director at FRN

“I don’t want to work in a call center.”

Nearly seven years ago, when Charles Stokely was offered a position in admissions at Foundations Recovery Network, he’d made up his mind then and there, “I turned the offer down, not even doing my research because my background was not in sales.”

“Before FRN I worked at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital counseling juveniles,” Stokely explains, “And prior to Vanderbilt psych, I was at Hermitage Hall where I counseled juvenile male sex offenders, and I also helped create the trauma-focused care unit for females there.” He was used to direct care, not managing a call center. And to him, a call center equated to sales – something he wanted no part in.

“The first thing that sold me on the call center was the technology behind it and the overall feel – it didn’t feel like a sales department.”

It wasn’t until former coworkers from his previous places of work began working for FRN and encouraged him to take another look at the company. “The first thing that sold me on the call center was the technology behind it and the overall feel – it didn’t feel like a sales department,” Stokely recounted.

Gamechangers: RAM and the Centralized Model

Another major reason Stokely changed his mind about managing a call center? FRN’s Referral Account Management (RAM) team that referred out to other facilities – at times more than they were admitting to their own facilities. Stokely was astounded, “I said, ‘So you’re turning away business?’ They explained, ‘Yeah, we have to; we want to help everybody that calls.’ I took the job after seeing that.”

He also understands the importance of efficiency in this field, whether the caller is a referral source, a desperate parent, or someone who wants out of their addiction. Stokely knows that his team can help make that journey much easier, “What’s unique about a centralized model is that you have one point of contact. Whenever you have a question you won’t get shuffled around to different people. You just call one place, and we’re your advocate because we’re going to do whatever we can in our power to get that patient into treatment, whether it’s with FRN or not.”

“I said, ‘So you’re turning away business?’ They explained, ‘Yeah, we have to; we want to help everybody that calls.’ I took the job after seeing that.”

That efficiency also helps referral sources get their patients into treatment quickly and ethically. “I look at my team as a liaison because they’re building the admission profile for the facilities to the point of setting it up to where the patient can just walk in the front door. So all that front-end paperwork? There’s a large portion that’s eliminated with us. This makes the process a lot smoother because they just have to call one number, and we can answer anything pertaining to the facilities out-of-pockets, insurance, you name it, we have an answer for them. If for some reason we don’t, we can get an answer pretty quick.”

A Well-Rounded Team is a Strong Team

It’s also clear that he is very proud of his team, who they are, the work they do, and how special it is that they’re all so different from each other but work so well together.

“It’s a melting pot of people,” Stokely observes, “We have individuals with a clinical background. We have people who have a nursing background. We have others with a sales background. We have individuals over there that are in recovery – which is a big thing for someone who can relate to a patient, and say, ‘Hey, I’ve been there.’”

All of these people with different experiences create a sense of balance in the admissions center, and the two directors are a great example of appreciating someone else’s perspective. “It’s great because the pendulum doesn’t sway one way or the other,” notes Stokely, “We all have the same goal, but having someone like me with a clinical background and the other director with a sales background, I can counteract some of his discussions, and he can counteract mine. It’s good to have different people all in one area.”

“It’s a melting pot of people,” Stokely observes, “We have individuals with a clinical background. We have people who have a nursing background. We have others with a sales background. We have individuals over there that are in recovery – which is a big thing for someone who can relate to a patient, and say, ‘Hey, I’ve been there.’”

This kind of collaboration is working, because many people on the admissions team have lasted. According to Stokely, it’s because his team members love what they do, “Overall, we have people that just love their job. They love helping people. We have people that have been here for a long time. I love the differences that we have over here.”

More Than a Call Center: FRN as a Resource

Charles Stokely may not have wanted to “work in a call center,” but he now knows that it’s not just a call center. There’s a deep and profound understanding that he and his team are playing a vital part in helping people get their lives back.

“I just love helping people,” he reflects, “I love being a resource. I was sold on FRN because of the Referral Account Management team and referring out. I loved that they were a resource for people who couldn’t find treatment at any of these other facilities. We are a resource whether you’re coming with us or not. That’s why I love this place.”

Learn more about Foundations Recovery Network.