St. Mary’s contributes $2.5 million to psychiatric care project

Brian Davidson
Brian Davidson

One Grand Junction hospital has invested in another as part of a collaborative effort to expand mental health care services in the region.

St. Mary’s Medical Center has contributed $2.5 million to a campaign to fund the expansion of the West Springs psychiatric hospital.

“We are turning our investment focus to helping people get the right care in the right place at the right time,” said Dr. Brian Davidson, president of St. Mary’s Medical Center. “This is a powerful concept in care coordination that helps lower the cost of health care. At the same time, it’s improving people’s lives and the health of our entire community.”

Sharon Raggio, president and chief executive officer of Mind Springs Health, which operates West Springs Hospital, agreed. “West Springs Hospital is positioned to help fill the resource gap and deliver the healing that people need and fulfill the hope of lives rebuilt,” Raggio said. “Now is the time to pull our resources together to meet these needs for the good of the people and the entire community.”

Sharon Raggio
Sharon Raggio

Mind Springs plans to double the number of patients it can accommodate at its psychiatric hospital with the addition of up to 64 beds at an inpatient center at West Springs. The project is expected to cost $34 million.

Based in Glenwood Springs, Mind Springs Health offers counseling, therapy and other services in a 10-county region of Western Colorado. The organization operates 13 offices for outpatient treatments as well as the West Springs Hospital, the only facility of its kind between Denver and Salt Lake City.

Davidson said St. Mary’s Medical Center long has served as a “catch net” for patients facing all kinds of health issues, including mental health issues. But that approach is expensive and ultimately unsustainable, he said. “In helping to fill the funding gap for the expansion of West Springs Hospital, we are supporting Mind Springs Health’s mission and a model that is fiscally sustainable so they can better meet the behavioral health needs of our community and the care and health of those patients in the proper setting.”

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that care coordination and smoother transitions in  care can lower readmission and hospitalization costs.

“Our investment in West Springs Hospital is meant specifically to deliver the benefits of community based collaborative care coordination and hospitalization on the West Springs campuses,” Davidson said.

Raggio said the need for additional mental health care services continues to grow — along with the costs. “The cost to the community of unmet behavioral health needs goes well beyond direct patient care.”

Roger Sheffield, vice president of development for Mind Springs Health, announced St. Mary’s contribution to what’s been named the Building Sanctuary, Rebuilding Lives campaign.

“St. Mary’s investment demonstrates the successful collaboration of top-tier community leaders in tackling some of the toughest health care problems facing the Grand Valley and the entire Western Slope,” Sheffield said. “Together, we invite others to join us in co-creating this deeply needed resource.”