Mind Springs Health loses crisis services contract with state
Despite losing contract, Mind Springs will remain open for inpatient, outpatient services
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Mind Springs Health was dealt a severe blow to its community crisis services last week with the announcement that the state of Colorado would transition away from using the mental health care company effective July 1.
The impending loss of Mind Springs for emergency situations has raised many questions within western Colorado’s behavioral health industry. In about six days, Rocky Mountain Health Plans will assume responsibilities for crisis services for the entire Western Slope, which will now encompass 22 counties. Rocky Mountain Health Plans, however, does not maintain infrastructure within the majority of the area.
Mind Springs Health, which maintains a satellite outpatient clinic in Steamboat, has held a contract with the state since 2014 to provide mobile and walk-in crisis services across its 10-county service area, which includes Routt County.
Mind Springs Health and the Steamboat clinic will continue to operate and provide services, so there will be no change to outpatient services. However, emergency services will only be available to active clients.
The contract with the state was put up for rebid in 2017, at which time the state transformed responsibilities, regions and funding allocations, according to Mind Springs officials. The prior 10-county region of service, labeled Region 1, was increased to encompass 22 counties, effective July 1.
“This is a time of significant change for Mind Springs Health. We have been delivering crisis services to our community since our inception in 1972,” said Sharon Raggio, Mind Springs Health president and CEO. “As this news was shared with our board of directors, they asked me to convey their personal sadness as they have always viewed crisis services as one of the most important services offered.”
In addition to enlarging Region 1 to 22 counties, there are several other changes that will occur with the transition away from Mind Springs including:
- The state-designated Colorado Crisis Hotline 1-844-493-8255/Text ‘talk’ to 8255 will handle all mental health crisis calls and initial assessments for mobile crisis deployment.
- The State has currently determined that the two walk-in crisis centers for Region 1 will be in Larimer and Montrose counties, thus all walk-in and crisis center services in the area will now be relocated to the new Center for Mental Health Crisis Walk-in Center in Montrose.
- The new West Springs Hospital in Mesa County will continue to provide psychiatric hospitalization for all those in need of it.
- There is a possibility that Summit County may continue to offer ATU-level services. Conversations are occurring within the community.
- The current Mind Springs Health crisis hotline, 888-207-4004, will be deactivated and crisis staff reassigned wherever possible.
The Colorado Behavioral Health Council challenged the proposal in state court before Judge Ross Buchanan, arguing the court did not fully flush out the evidence surrounding the severe reduction in funding to the northeast and western slope region, as well as the impact of the administrative expansion as it impacts the availability of funding for client care.
During the proceeding, Buchanan asked if the state was sure it wanted to continue to proceed with the contract re-bidding given community concerns.
The court ultimately ruled against the council on May 1. In the ruling, it was stated that, where there is uncertainty in statute that is interpreted by a state department, the court does not have the authority to speak for the legislature.
Rocky Mountain Health Plans did not return a request for comment.
Conversations are ongoing between Mind Springs and Rocky Mountain Health Plans as it pertains to a transition plan for community services. As of Friday, officials with Mind Springs indicated details were still evolving and the company would have more clarity next week.
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Colorado Crisis Services: 1-844-493-8255
Text “Talk” to 38255
McKenna Harford, Sky-Hi News reporter, contributed to this report.
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