Southeast Mental Health Services awarded $1.4 million Healthcare Innovation Grant

Prowers County SEMHS Board Members, Jackie Brown (Director of Prowers County Public Health) and Trevor LaCost (Owner of Arkansas Valley Diesel). Jackie serves as Treasurer of the Board.


La Junta, CO—June 15, 2012—Southeast Behavioral Health Group

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation announced today that Southeast Mental Health Services was awarded a $1.4 million grant under the Health Care Innovation Challenge. The Innovation Challenge will award up to $1 billion in total funding to applicants who will implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), particularly those with the highest health care needs.

“This grant is an opportunity for us to focus on the healthcare needs of our community by strengthening our workforce. Through our collaboration with Otero Junior College and the curriculum they are developing, southeastern Colorado will become a magnet for integrated rural healthcare training,” said Becky Otteman, CEO/Executive Director of Southeast Mental Health Services. “Our primary healthcare partners—High Plains Community Health Center, Prowers Medical Center and Prowers County Public Health—have supported us in this endeavor to make sure the citizens of Prowers County receive the right care at the right time for the right cost.”

The project is entitled “TIPPING POINT: Total Integration, Patient Navigation and Provider Training Project for Powers County, Colorado,” and is designed to push years of healthcare integration efforts past the “tipping point” to achieve the triple aim of healthcare reform. The project has an estimated 3- year savings of $1,875,000 in taxpayer dollars through the Medicaid, Medicare and CHP+ programs. The intervention will be carefully studied to measure its impact and the potential to replicate its findings to other rural communities across the nation.

“The TIPPING POINT project dovetails nicely with our focus on increasing our investment in the citizens of Prowers County through our new building project. It will be much easier for our staff to coordinate care with other healthcare providers in Lamar from our new building on the healthcare campus,” said SEMHS Chief Operating Officer J.C. Carrica.

Southeast Mental Health Services is receiving the $1.4M award to coordinate comprehensive, community-based care for high-risk, high-cost, and chronically ill residents of rural Prowers County, Colorado. The program will train and employ patient navigators to increase patients’ access to primary and behavioral care, preventive care, and early intervention services, offering team-based education and coaching to improve both population health and self-management of disease.

The results will include a reduction in emergency room visits and other high cost interventions, mitigation of the progress of chronic disease, better health habits, and better care and quality of life for these vulnerable patients. Southeast Mental Health Services will contract with Otero Junior College to develop a magnet “Health Navigator” training program to serve current and future healthcare workers across rural Colorado. Over a three-year period, Southeast Mental Health Service’s program, with the help of Otero Junior College, will train an estimated 62 workers.

“The fact is that a very small group of people are using the lion’s share of Medicaid, Medicare and CHP+ healthcare services, which are funded by taxpayers like you and me,” said Nancy King, SEMHS Development Director. “As we provide one-on-one support for people with serious and complicated healthcare needs, we expect to see a reduction in the use of unnecessary, high-cost interventions. This will drive down the cost of healthcare for all of us.”

Since 1957, Southeast Mental Health Services has been providing comprehensive outpatient mental health services to the citizens of Baca, Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero and Prowers counties in southeastern Colorado.


Nancy Harris King, Development Director



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