The Future Of Mental Health is Partnership
Last week, the Mind Springs Inc. CEO and his new TRUSTED executive leadership team had the pleasure to meet and gather with 32 Mesa County leaders along with representatives from Colorado Mesa University, HopeWest, Grand Junction Police Department, School District 51 and the newly created Mesa County Public Health’s Behavioral Health department, county commissioners and others to discuss the past, present, and future of mental health.
John Sheehan (CEO) addressed historical and contemporary directions in behavioral healthcare. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was looking at what was happening with behavioral health during his time as a consultant.
“Amazingly, there were billions and billions of dollars…being poured into mental health services. I was thinking to myself, you know, I never heard of anyone who wanted to fund $1,000,000,000 in behavioral health before. Why would they want to do that? And if you think about it, what’s changing in health care is it’s becoming all about risk for insurers. And so, if you look at what’s happening in health care and you look at what’s the leading specialty in chronic care, the number one cost in health care [right] now is behavioral health.”
Sheehan then provided a glimpse into what he is considering as he navigates Mind Springs Health and West Springs Hospital’s future with respect to those currently changing health care risks, goals, and technology that has appeared since 2020. “How do we take some of this technology that’s developing? How do we take some of this investment that’s happening in the field? How do we take all of the disruptive change in health care that’s occurring? How do we take the fact that we are the number one chronic disease cost in health care? And how do we leverage that so that people want to come to Grand Junction to see what we’re doing?
Sheehan also took this opportunity to address Mind Springs’ community reputation head on. “There have been a lot of operational issues related to Mind Springs, but what really was a problem was that we lost the trust of our communities.” Coming into this leadership position, he immediately hired a new executive team and got the hospital back into compliance. “The Colorado Health Department has come in several times and made sure that we’re compliant,” he said. “That’s an ongoing process and we are in full compliance with CDBG and the VHA, which are the two main oversight agencies.” In addition, Sheehan mentioned that he and the new executive team are working to build trust by not only building systems that work, but by building partnerships within those systems for our communities. “And we’re trying to reach out in a little more meaningful way to say, how do we become better partners? How do we work better in the school system? We have capacity. We have all these therapists; we have all these psychiatrists we’ve been recruiting. So, we now have the clinical care in place to really you know, meet the demand that we haven’t met in the past.”
Sheehan also encouraged greater community partnership and support to wrap around the whole patient. “We have to use all of the services available in the future, all the partnerships that we have… We view this as an entire community continuum of care. It’s not just Mind Springs. We need to leverage all of the services because based on some of these statistics,” he said. “And we’re seeing it already, just as we open the door to the psych E.R.”
“I’ve been hearing a lot about Mind Springs in the past eight years, and this is the first time I felt like I was excited at the end.” (In the audience wanting to stand up saying “Yes!”, “Preach!”) one attendee shared.