Guest Opinion: Mind Springs is working to address quality issues in mental health care


The need for behavioral health services is growing in Colorado, now more than ever. For all of us in this industry, we know there is a need for behavioral healthcare reform in Colorado.

The system is far from perfect. Community mental health centers are far from perfect. However, throwing daggers at the not-for-profit organizations that are the safety net for vulnerable populations, those suffering from mental illness and addiction, is not the solution.

Derogatory articles will have a negative impact on those who need help, as they may be reluctant to seek services from what may be their only source of hope. Negative media rhetoric also undermines and demotivates a workforce dedicated to saving lives.

In April 2021, Rocky Mountain Health Plans conducted a review of the medical records of 112 members who received services from Mind Springs Health or West Springs Hospital. The review was based on concerns about benzodiazepine prescribing practices and protocols and resulted in a corrective action plan to address safety concerns surrounding benzodiazepine prescribing. The 17-point plan has been fully implemented.

We recognize that there was a need to improve our policies and procedures for prescribing benzodiazepines. I am pleased that over the past nine months, significant safety improvements have been made to our prescribing protocols.

The Rocky Mountain Health Plans review also found that from July 1, 2018 to December 15, 2021, there were 472 quality of care issues – of which 251 had some validity and 68 had serious risks.

Quality of care issues are events that can adversely affect a patient or the quality of their care. These events include patient complaints, self-harm, death, non-adherence to treatment, medical complications and medication errors. Quality of care issues can be due to facility-related causes, but they can also be the result of an event over which the facility has little or no control, such as an illness contracted before admission. to the hospital.

During this same period, our organization has seen almost 30,000 clients and provided more than 760,000 services to these clients. Quality of care issues posing “serious risks” accounted for less than a quarter of one percent of all care provided.

We absolutely have to be the best at what we do. One person at risk is one too many. We are audited regularly and appreciate the feedback we receive from state entities we work with, as well as Rocky Mountain Health Plans. By working together, we are able to continue to improve processes.

In the past three months, three members of our management team have resigned or retired for personal reasons. We are taking advantage of changes in our leadership to restructure our management team, while reviewing policies and procedures to create improved quality and access to care. We have also recently retained the services of an external consultant to help support our internal quality and compliance department.

In the coming weeks, Signet Health, the largest behavioral health consulting firm in the United States (working with more than 75 hospitals in more than 30 states), will begin a three-year contract with West Springs Hospital to help to guide the organization in meeting regulatory requirements, effectively manage operations and create discharge/case management plans, while ensuring that quality of care remains the top priority.

At the end of the day, we all want the best care for our communities. Mind Springs Health and West Springs Hospital are committed to providing the best care possible in the future, with honesty and integrity.

My door is always open. And questions are welcome.

Doug Pattison is interim CEO of Mind Springs Health and West Springs Hospital. 970-683-7150


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