CEO of Western Montana Mental Overall health measures down

A single of the state’s most prominent providers of mental overall health and addiction solutions will quickly commence looking for a new chief executive. 

A representative of Western Montana Mental Overall health Center mentioned this week that the Missoula-headquartered organization decided not to renew Levi Anderson’s contract right after his 5 years of serving as CEO. Anderson’s final day at the organization was Friday, May perhaps 19.

Western has contracted with Cascadia Management Group, also primarily based in Missoula, to assist with the administrative transition for the subsequent two to 3 months. The president of that group, Colleen Rudio, is overseeing Western as the interim executive administrator. She framed Anderson’s exit as a mutual choice amongst him and Western primarily based on the nonprofit’s wish to “look for a various style of leadership” and prioritize collaboration with other overall health care providers. 

“Right now the organization demands to concentrate on their relationships and the organizations in each and every of their communities,” Rudio mentioned in a Wednesday telephone interview. “Making certain exactly where we want to be, when we want to be there, is seriously what I feel the board is focusing on in its subsequent leadership.”

Anderson was not offered for comment just before publication.

Western, lengthy the backbone of behavioral overall health solutions in communities across western Montana, has faced economic headwinds for years. The state Legislature in 2017 slashed Medicaid reimbursement prices, particularly for case managers, destabilizing several Medicaid-dependent providers the year just before Anderson took the helm at Western. The COVID pandemic elevated staffing strains and overhead price burdens. 

Even though the organization has continued to give myriad solutions, like crisis stabilization and Complete College and Neighborhood Therapy (CSCT) in public schools, Western has also closed applications and lost contracts in current years. In an April interview with KFF Overall health News, Anderson mentioned Western’s outsized scope of solutions has produced the shuttering of some applications additional visible. 

“We’ve grow to be the face of the failure of the program for the reason that we’re the only organization giving these solutions,” Anderson mentioned at the time.

Lawmakers from each political parties doubled down on rising Medicaid reimbursement prices for providers in the course of the 2023 Legislature, bringing new investments up to $330 million in state and federal funds, according to Rep. Bob Keenan, R-Bigfork, the chair of the overall health price range subcommittee.

But these provider prices are not but set in stone. The price range bill containing the proposed increases, Property Bill two, has not been transmitted to the governor’s desk and could transform shape when it is. Gov. Greg Gianforte, who has the energy of line-item vetoes on price range bills, was asked in May perhaps by Senate Majority Leader Steve Fitzpatrick, R-Good Falls, to carve out some of the proposed increases to provider rates Republicans and Democrats effectively tacked on in the course of the Legislature’s final days. 

If that occurs, providers will nonetheless see a historic increase in Medicaid reimbursements. But business advocates say something much less than what lawmakers agreed on dangers maintaining neighborhood solutions operating at a loss.

“As with all enterprises, expenses have elevated for Medicaid providers at an unusually higher inflation price,” mentioned Mary Windecker, executive director of the Behavioral Overall health Alliance of Montana, in a Thursday e-mail. “Since 2019, many solutions for kids and adults have closed for the reason that of the low prices and will want to be reopened at a greater price. The more cash allocated by Sen. Fitzpatrick’s colleagues will be necessary in reopening these closed applications and reversing the influence on communities of the 2017 price range cuts and the worldwide pandemic.”

Western is nonetheless generating alterations to solutions, in addition to its leadership, with a economic forecast in thoughts. The organization decided this month to turn a residential addiction recovery therapy system, Recovery Center Missoula, into a reduced-level residential system, discharging the current 5 residents and laying off eight staff in the procedure. RCM was the only therapy system in Missoula licensed as a three.five facility primarily based on criteria from the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Rudio, the interim executive at Western, mentioned the choice was produced partly for economic factors. But she mentioned the adjusted licensure will permit the 16-bed facility to fill its census and shorten its current waitlist. Although the organization has not announced more closures or system alterations, Rudio did not rule out the possibility.

“I will not say that there will not be system alterations as we go forward, but what I will inform you is that there are no applications we’re searching at correct now in terms of eliminations or reductions,” Rudio mentioned. 

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