Matthew Lindgren and Blackbird Family Therapy, Inc. Use Tech To Connect Therapists & Crime Victims In Oakland

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Innovative New Approach From Matthew Lindgren and Blackbird Family Therapy, Inc. Aids Crime Survivors in Finding Mental Health Help

Social workers always ask me where we're located, and they give me a funny look when I tell them our offices are everywhere.

At a time of mental health budget cuts and escalating violence in Oakland, Matthew Lindgren at Blackbird Family Therapy, Inc. is helping therapists see more clients through an innovative approach that uses technology to get much-needed assistance to crime victims more efficiently. By reaching out directly to crime victims on the Web, and using online medical records software, Blackbird Family Therapy, Inc. overcomes barriers that prevent access to the California Victim Compensation Program, which provides mental health assistance to survivors of crime.

Matthew Lindgren, CEO of Blackbird Family Therapy, Inc. and a therapist himself, explains the situation: “Thousands of people qualify for free psychotherapy each year in California through the Victim Compensation Program, but never hear about it. In Oakland and Alameda County alone, there are hundreds of therapists eager to work with these clients, but who cannot get referrals, or worse yet, stop working with the program because they cannot afford to wait months or even years to get paid.”

Matthew Lindgren explains that funds from the California Victim Compensation program often go unused because social workers – as well as crime victims – remain largely unaware that they are available or that their clients, including almost every child in foster care, qualify. 

Matthew Lindgren found an innovative solution by creating a “virtual agency”, and contracting with therapists in private practice to see the clients. Blackbird Family Therapy, Inc. contracts with clinicians in private practice, who already have their own office locations. Matthew Lindgren says, “Social workers always ask me where we're located, and they give me a funny look when I tell them our offices are everywhere.”

Blackbird Family Therapy, Inc. does the work of referring clients to therapists, and assisting with billing, all through online software, which is a huge improvement over the status quo. Most therapists interact with the state by printing, mailing, or faxing cumbersome insurance forms. The automated software cuts the time that it takes therapists to get paid, often from several months or even years, to an average of 30 days, making them much more likely to see clients through the program. Blackbird Family Therapy, Inc. markets directly to potential clients using online advertising, and helps people apply for services online, so people who qualify for services have access.

It seems that his plan is paying off, for clients and therapists.  Matthew Lindgren explains, “It's pretty rewarding to use technology to help people who've been through traumatic events get connected with talented therapists.”


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