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Sababa Health Group: Faster Recovery With Telebehavioral Health

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Joe Van Winkle, CEO and Clinical Director and Sydney Isle, Board Member, Clinical Supervisor and Counselor, Sababa Health GroupJoe Van Winkle, CEO and Clinical Director and Sydney Isle, Board Member, Clinical Supervisor and Counselor, Sababa Health Group
Consider two similar workplace injury cases: both patients have the same kind of injury, and they fall under the same demographics, but one heals faster than the other. Why? While differing physiological aspects of the respective patients plays a role, their psychological status also plays a crucial role in healing. Some patients just experience more emotional distress than others, which prolongs their physical pain and healing process. Driven by this understanding, Dr. Scott Primack created a data-driven assessment of physical function and psychological resiliency that identifies the injured workers that are at higher risk of delayed recovery. Identifying these cases was the first step in a better way to treat all injured workers.

Sababa takes the next step in the evolution of this data-driven, individualized treatment model. Through its telebehavioral health program, nationally accredited by The Joint Commission, Sababa created the Functional Acceleration Program. This evidence-based, data-driven Cognitive Behavior Therapy program utilizes Dr. Primack’s innovative model to empower patients with concrete coping techniques to speed up the recovery process.

Today, Sababa partners with businesses to help employees with workplace injuries get back on their feet faster. Employers benefit from reduced costs usually associated with prolonged workers’ compensation claims. Sababa even partners with healthcare providers to highlight patient perceptions of physical and emotional readiness, optimizing a patient’s quality of life and recovery outcomes.

“Many patients don’t have the emotional resiliency to fully recover from an injury. Our program aims to plant seeds of hope and provide concrete skills so that every patient can get back to their lives and become truly productive again,” says Joe Van Winkle, chief clinical officer and CEO of Sababa.

How the Program Works

Sababa’s patient-centered biopsychosocial assessment evaluates neuromusculoskeletal injuries, the impact of the accident on the patient’s emotional wellbeing, and the patient’s environment to create a holistic report. Then, leveraging its CBT-based counseling program, Sababa’s team engages patients in treatment that lays the groundwork for healthier thought patterns. The telebehavioral program then reinforces skill-building to help patients set and achieve rehabilitation goals to reduce the impact of the injury, while making measurable progress in physical and emotional functioning.

At every step, Sababa tracks the patient’s progress with data-driven reports to help employers, payers, providers, and the workers themselves gauge the progress of the specific recovery plan. As the company puts it, “It’s a win-win-win-win situation for all.”

  • Many patients don’t have the emotional resiliency to fully recover from an injury. Our program aims to plant seeds of hope and provide concrete skills so that every patient can get back to their lives and become truly productive again


A testament to these efforts is the case of a 30-year-old patient. After a mining accident, one leg was amputated from the knee down. Coping with this tremendous loss was hard enough, but acclimating to a prosthetic limb and finding the courage to return to the scene of the accident was proving even more difficult. When his employer connected him to Sababa, the team supported him in learning and practicing skills to cope with pain and increase function and mobility, while reducing reliance on opioids. After he showed promising physical mobility, Sababa assisted him with techniques to manage his PTSD and overwhelming fears. Within only a few weeks, he made a remarkably fast recovery and returned to work with a plan in place to continue using the skills he learned to reduce the frequency and intensity, and effectively manage, his symptoms.

This instance is but one manifestation of what Sababa stands for – improving the physical and emotional wellbeing of its patients while lowering costs for employers and payers. In the future, Sababa plans to provide pre-surgical evaluative assessments that assist patients in identifying and averting hurdles during post-surgical recovery. Simultaneously, the company intends to develop a dedicated behavioral program to flag patients who are likely candidates for opioid abuse.

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Sababa Health Group

Company
Sababa Health Group

Headquarters
Greenwood Village, CO

Management
Joe Van Winkle, CEO and Clinical Director and Sydney Isle, Board Member, Clinical Supervisor and Counselor, Sababa Health Group

Description
Sababa offers a telebehavioral health program, accredited by The Joint Commission, that combines physical and emotional assessments—including biopsychosocial therapy, skill-building, and coaching—to empower patients with coping and healing techniques that can maintain positive momentum in their wound recovery process