Eagle County’s mental health programs are growing, evolving as they gain experience | VailDaily.com

Eagle County’s mental health programs are growing, evolving as they gain experience

One of the biggest adjustments has been dealing with Medicaid

Vail Health is building a new facility in Edwards that will provide in-patient beds and other services for behavioral health patients.
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By the numbers 803: Students being served by Your Hope Center. 50%: Your Hope Center youth clients are Hispanic. 60 to 70: Students served per month by Mountain Pride. 12 to 18 months: Delay time in receiving Medicaid reimbursements.

Eagle County voters in 2017 approved new taxes on retail marijuana sales, with the money dedicated to mental health programs. Programs fueled by that revenue — and numerous other sources, including Vail Health — continue to grow.

The Eagle County Board of Commissioners approved a pair of resolutions Tuesday regarding mental health programs. The first amended the original resolution that created a Mental Health Advisory Committee and the Mental Health Fund.

Committee member Carrie Benway, the executive director of the Your Hope Center, said that program is currently serving 803 local students.

Part of the progress in that program is a reduction in the hospitalizations of people in crisis. A stabilization program can help provide tools to keep a person in crisis at home and close to family and friends who can provide support.

Over weekends, clinical help can be scheduled for first thing Monday, Benway said.

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Benway noted that providers are also learning about Medicaid and its reimbursement schedules. The Hope Center is invested in its own electronic medical health records. That “increases the level of clinical expertise,” Benway said.

Medicaid requires an “increased level of documentation,” Benway said. That equates to goals that can be tracked, and documentation sufficient to have a submission accepted.

Benway noted that it can take 12 to 18 months for money to show up in a local provider’s account. Rather than count on that money, Benway said the funds are now going into an operating reserve that can help meet needs including payroll if required.

New advisory committee member Michelle Dibos noted that dealing with Medicaid is “challenging, but worth it, adding that the sustainability of services ranging from therapy to case management wouldn’t be possible without Medicaid funding.

Committee member Madison Partridge is the executive director of Mountain Pride, which provides support to the LGBTQ+ community. Partridge said Mountain Pride aided more than 3,000 people in 2022, and serves between 60 and 70 students per month. Partridge said Mountain Pride is working to build a “sense of community” among those residents and their friends and families, adding a plug for the June 3 Pride in the Park event in Avon.

Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry encouraged committee members to embark “on a roadshow.” There’s been a lot of interest from other communities in the ways Eagle County is addressing community mental health issues, she said.

Benway noted that she recently read an article about ways communities can help provide mental health support to residents.

“Everything it mentioned, we are doing, thanks to your vision,” she said.

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