Glenwood mental health agency gets $8.1 million boost | AspenTimes.com

Glenwood mental health agency gets $8.1 million boost

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – An $8.1 million financial commitment from a coalition of funders will help Glenwood Springs-based Colorado West Regional Mental Health continue its services in Garfield County and across the Western Slope.

The funding was organized by the Colorado Health Foundation. It combines debt relief, capital funding and operational support over the next three to five years. The funds will allow Colorado West to continue providing inpatient and out patient mental health care and substance abuse services in the region.

Colorado West is the only community mental health center on the Western Slope. It provides mental health and sub stance abuse services annually to approximately 12,000 people in 10 Western Slope counties, and operates the Roaring Fork Valley’s only alcohol detox facility outside Glenwood Springs.

Its 32-bed psychiatric hospital in Grand Junction serves 27 counties. The next clos­est psychiatric hospitals are in Denver, Pueblo or Salt Lake City.

“Colorado West is very appreciative of the many people who helped put this together,” said Colorado West CEO Sharon Raggio. “This really gives us some finan cial stability, and will allow our organization to move forward.”

Primarily, the funding will allow Colorado West to retire its debt on the psychiatric hospital, which it began building in 2005.

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Last year, the Colorado Health Foundation learned that Colorado West was under financial strain related to that construction debt, said Anne Warhover, president and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation.

“The foundation’s board of directors and staff reached out to others who have a stake in Colorado West’s viability, and together we developed a five-year, multi­million dollar plan to ensure continued mental health services for the people of the Western Slope,” she said.

“This is a significant investment for the foundation and one that’s not without risk,” she said. “But the greater risk is to the 300,000 residents living on the Western Slope whose future mental health needs rely on Colorado West.”

Among the organizations joining in the funding effort were the Boettcher Founda­tion, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Compass Bank, the El Pomar Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, Mesa County and First Lady Jeannie Ritter.

“Our vision is for the state of Colorado to be the healthiest state in the nation,” Warhover said. That includes physical, dental and mental health.

“Colorado West is a key component for the people on the West Slope getting access to the mental health component,” she said.

Warhover said that after an evaluation of Colorado West’s management and board commitment, she is confident in the organization’s leadership and ability to remain sustainable.

Raggio said Colorado West did have to make some cutbacks last fiscal year as a result of the financial strain.

An inpatient substance abuse treatment program that was located in Glenwood Springs was moved to Grand Junction ear lier this year, but that was mostly due to the fact that a majority of patients in the program were from that area, she said.

Other local services, including inpatient and outpatient mental health services and the detox center, have continued.

jstroud@postindependent.com

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