Local leaders react to the results of an unprecedented triple-agency review of Mind Springs

Summit County Commissioner Tamara Bogue sits in the Summit County Courthouse on Tuesday, September 8.
Photo by Jon Hanson/for Summit Daily News

consequences Unprecedented Triple Agency Audit in Mind Springs Health presented in a webinar on Thursday, May 12th. The scrutiny comes after the three agencies received numerous complaints — including a drug administration whistleblower report — by county commissioners, elected officials, and some from Summit County.

according to to release From the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Finance, a corrective action plan was already put in place for Mind Springs following an audit of the organization in April 2021. The most recent audit took place in January after “continued complaints came from many community members who indicated difficulty in accessing behavioral health services and a lack of Transparency from Mind Springs.”

For its part of the audit, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Finance looked to Rocky Mountain Health Plans to investigate Mind Springs. The organization is contracted by the state as an administrative service organization and works closely with Mind Springs. The Mind Springs employee expressed concerns to the organization about “drug management, medication matchmaking, and the lack of a peer review process and other treatment practices in outpatient, inpatient and residential facilities,” the review states.

During the webinar, Patrick Gordon, CEO of Rocky Mountain Health Plans, presented some of these findings, which he described as “disturbing and horrific in some cases.”

The Mind Springs Department of Healthcare Policy and Finance has released a corrective action plan detailing the various ways the organization needs to improve.

The other two departments to perform an audit of the organization are the Colorado Departments of Human Services, Public Health, and the Environment. The Department of Human Services “found violations in critical incident reporting, information release, service planning, discharge summaries, and necessary signatures,” the statement said. It also released Mind Springs corrective action plans.

The statement noted that the Ministry of Public Health and Environment “was unable to substantiate any allegations of failure of the agency.”

During the webinar, leadership in each organization expressed optimism that these plans and frequent monitoring of Mind Springs would lead to much-needed changes.

“We need Mind Springs to be successful. We need this access point, the safety net across the West Slope. We need to improve performance, the good news,” said Kim Pemstiver, executive director of the Colorado Division of Health Care Policy and Finance, during the webinar. is that this has happened.”

But some local leaders in Summit County aren’t so sure.

“I don’t agree with the characterization we need in Mind Springs,” Pugh said. “I think what we need is care that is responsive to the needs of clients. I think there are a variety of different strategies that can lead us there.”

Summit County Sheriff Jaime Fitzsimmons said the same thing.

Summit County Sheriff Jaime Fitzsimmons has been named to the sub-panel of the state’s Behavioral Health Task Force. FitzSimons has been an advocate for access to mental health services in Summit County.
Photo by Hugh Carey / Summit Daily News archive

“This is after six years,” Fitzsimmons said, referring to when Summit County began separating from Mind Springs. “What do we do? Wash, rinse, repeat—nothing has changed, we learned nothing new. So, if they fail these action plans, then what next? Are we really going after them?”

Pogue and FitzSimons expressed their gratitude for the Rocky Mountain Health Plans audit. Pogue said their findings highlight issues she’s heard from community members about their experience with Mind Springs. But with these new corrective action plans now in place, she expressed concern about how long it would take to fix some issues.

“What I heard yesterday was good, we finished this audit, but it took months to finish and now we have to go through another period where we see what Mind Springs brings to the state in terms of corrective actions. It will take some time, and then it will take more,” Pugh said. Time to take corrective action.” “So I am frustrated in the meantime, the people in Summit County are really suffering and suffering.”

Fitzsimmons said he was concerned about time, too, and doubted whether the recommendations and requirements set out in the corrective action plans would actually be implemented.

“I think the state is just worried about whether Mind Springs doesn’t work,” Fitzsimmons said. “What does that mean? But then again, what is success? What if they complete some of the business plan but not all of it?”

While both Pogue and FitzSimons are weary of what is to come, Pogue said she would like to see local communities have more opportunities to participate in state investigations.

“I would like to see more conversations with local communities. I would like to see more transparency about the specific steps that will be taken and how they will affect the summit boycott,” Pugh said. “I would like more details of the timeline for implementing some of these changes. What I’m looking for most is a deeper understanding of what went wrong and how we make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

For more information about audits, visit HCPF.Colorado.gov/audit-findings-mind-springs-health.