Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, a division of Vail Health, has been awarded full designation as a community mental health center, becoming only the 18th such center in Colorado and the first since 1989.
“Vail Health developed Eagle Valley Behavioral Health to transform the landscape of behavioral health in our community. The full designation as a community mental health center is a historic and groundbreaking achievement,” Vail Health President and CEO Will Cook said in a statement. “This designation will hopefully lead to an increase in rural behavioral health services that helps to meet the needs of those they serve and ultimately will be the first step toward transformation of the behavioral health landscape across our community, the state, and the nation.”
A community mental health center is a physical facility or a group of services under unified administration or affiliated with one another that provide services for the prevention and treatment of behavioral or mental health disorders in a particular community in which the facility or organization is located. The behavioral health services provided by these centers include: inpatient services, outpatient services, partial hospitalization, emergency services, consultative and educational services. Centers are eligible to receive additional funding through state and federal grants.
“Access and affordability are two of the most common barriers to seeking behavioral health services,” said Dr. Elaine Sandler, MD, Colorado Mountain Medical’s Director of Psychiatry. “We are incredibly excited to be part of an initiative that ensures our rural residents have access to exceptional, high-quality, community-based care at a local level.”
The designation required a tremendous amount of work and dedication across Vail Health, the Colorado Mountain Medical system, and through crucial community partnerships including The Hope Center, Bright Future Foundation, Eagle County Public Health, Eagle County Health and Human Services, the Multicultural Intercultural Resource Alliance, Eagle County Paramedics, SpeakUp ReachOut, Early Childhood Partners, My Future Pathways, Eagle County Schools and local law enforcement.
“This is an incredible achievement that could not have been possible without an incredible team and community of support,” said Chris Lindley, Vail Health’s chief population health officer and the executive director of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health. “This designation demonstrates statewide recognition of our community-driven efforts to address the behavioral health crisis in our community and highlights the tremendous work of our community organizations who have been the cornerstone of behavioral health services across our community continuum of care.”
Vail Health in April submitted applications to amend the plan that currently regulates land use of its Northstar Center property in Edwards. The proposed amendments would allow the development of a new building dedicated exclusively to behavioral health.
Subject to Eagle County approval, Vail Health envisions an initial phase of construction of a new 50,000-square-foot behavioral health facility that will feature beds for short-term stays and treatment located in the rear parking lot west of the two existing buildings.