As you may know if you have worked with a treatment center like Mountain Laurel Recovery Center, admissions counselors are often the first people you encounter.
Admissions counselors answer questions about treatment and get clients started in the program. Ideally, admissions counselors make clients and families feel safe and comfortable as they begin the recovery process.
Zachary (Zach) Smith is a relatively new admissions counselor at Mountain Laurel, and in the interview below he shares his passion for his newfound work.
How long have you worked at MLRC, and what led you here?
I have been with MLRC almost a year now. I started on Halloween of last year—a very interesting day to come on board. I interviewed at MLRC a few weeks prior and was in awe of the beauty of our facility. I came to work on October 31st, 2016, surprised to see the [Eberle] Mansion [one of the main buildings on campus] transformed into something you would imagine while reading a Stephen King novel.
Describe a typical day as an admissions counselor.
Crazy. From the moment I get to work until I go to bed, it is pretty much a nonstop job. There are just so many people out there seeking our help. The admissions department is the first point of contact a potential client or their families have with MLRC. We field a lot of questions and concerns about how the process works, costs, etc. We complete a verification of benefits to make sure a potential client’s insurance will cover the cost of our program. Additionally, we complete a phone assessment with potential clients to make sure they are clinically and medically appropriate for us and also to ensure our program is right for them. It is a very stressful job but more rewarding than I can find the words to explain.
What do you like most about your work?
I love that we are changing the world. Truthfully. We really are. In admissions, we get to see firsthand the transformation a client makes from start to finish. It is incredible. Additionally, I really enjoy working with the families. I enjoy being their point of contact and encourage them to contact me day or night. Many families do not understand what they are up against. They are in for one hell of a war. I take pride in joining them in battle to save the lives of their loved one. It is a very touching job.
What do you wish you could tell people who are nervous about the admissions process?
Do not be. Many of us in the admissions department understand from our own experiences what you are going through. We fight this battle every day. There is nothing you can say to us to shock us at this point. We have heard and seen it all. My team and I strive to create a nonjudgmental, accepting and caring environment. We are on your side. Most clients, and their families, worry about the financial piece and whether or not insurance companies will give us the authorizations we need. I always tell them that that is our job. Focus on yourself or your loved one. Focus on recovery. That is what matters.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I really like to travel. I love meeting new people. I was fortunate to study abroad when I was in college and, because of that, I’ve experienced some amazing things. Thankfully there is still plenty more out there for me to explore and experience. I have a dog, Bella, who is my world and I love to do pet/owner things with her. I also have a nephew and niece that live near Philadelphia that I make a point to see as often as possible. Being an uncle is a pretty awesome responsibility.
Any weird skills or talents we should know about?
Oh gosh. I think most of the staff would say I am just weird in general. I try every day to have fun. Life is too short to be dull. I certainly have a knack for making people laugh, usually over something crazy that I’ve said or done. I am a very passionate person and full of life. I take pride in that.