Staff members at Breakthrough Behavior’s new Soledad location gather near an activity area set up for children to have a structured play environment. (Sean Roney/Staff)

SOLEDAD — Breakthrough Behavior opened a new behavioral analysis clinic in Soledad on Dec. 14, within the De La Rosa shopping center, allowing the company to expand services in Monterey County beyond its existing Monterey and Salinas clinics.

The Florida-based company, which also has locations in Maryland and Virginia, has long sought to bring its services to South Monterey County.

“We are so excited to be in South County,” said Maegen Pierce, CEO of Breakthrough Behavior. “This has been our personal mission to get into South County to be able to serve that community.”

Pierce explained Breakthrough focuses on underserved communities, many who have Medicaid. Behind the scenes, the reimbursement and credential hassles can cause companies to want to disregard Medicaid patients, Pierce said.

“We want to serve the children who are otherwise overlooked because it’s not convenient for the provider,” she said. “Those are the children we are committed to in the South County area as a whole.”

The goal of the services is to help children who need behavioral services to make meaningful outcomes in their day-to-day functioning and later their contributions back into the community.

“We currently serve about 65 families within the Monterey County area,” Pierce said. “This new location will allow us to increase capacity by 30 families, specifically in Soledad, Greenfield, Gonzales and King City.”

There were already nine patients who were traveling from South Monterey County to the Salinas clinic, Pierce explained. The new location could cut travel times for patients by as much as 45 minutes each way.

An additional 20 employees have been hired for the new location, with another 50 to be added in 2021, Pierce said. The goal is to be able to serve 100 South Monterey County families by the end of 2021.

Not only would the clinic be a location they could go to, but the Soledad location allows staff to make home visits from a closer work location. Whether patients should come to the clinic location or remain at home to be served, the staff will be able to respond with less concern for transportation barriers.

Pierce said the company currently works with a variety of charter schools in Monterey County, and is looking to partner with more school districts in the area.

At the new Soledad clinic, the interior features a large play area divided into sections with partitions, something new in care due to Covid-19 guidelines.

“A lot of our children have exceptionalities in how they interact with others,” Pierce said. “We might serve children who don’t have access to other peers, and we’re looking to develop social skills and play skills.”

The clinic location allows the children to break barriers by being around others and offers them a structured environment to play. However, what would have been a large play area needed a revamp for the current state of health services.

“Pre-Covid, we had a big, open play space where we used furniture to divide spaces, and post-Covid, we now construct individual cubbies to have a barrier between other staff and other children,” Pierce said. “Some of our children are unable to wear a mask and being close proximity to other staff and other children could make other parents uncomfortable. We invested in having those cubicles built in to allow an extra layer of protection per CDC guidelines.”

The partitions will likely remain as part of a safer care environment.

“We’re planning the future of healthcare to be a more secure and conscious delivery method,” Pierce said.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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