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Bozeman Health Board of Directors Supports Investment in Inpatient Behavioral Health

Corporate news | Friday, October 1, 2021

Contact: Lauren Brendel, M.S.

Bozeman, MT [October 1, 2021] — During a regular meeting of the Bozeman Health system board of directors, comprehensive behavioral health care system recommendations were considered, including the addition of inpatient psychiatric care at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital. Bozeman Health is pleased to share that the board supports the development of an innovative 12-bed inpatient psychiatric unit at Deaconess Hospital to provide acute behavioral health care for adults.

This new healing environment at Deaconess Hospital will provide comprehensive inpatient treatment in a compassionate, de-stigmatizing, and calming setting. With a modern design, and focus on comfort, it will house inpatient psychiatric services close to home for adults in need and provide care across all economic circumstances. Care team members will design and embrace multi-dimensional restorative therapeutic experiences and seamlessly coordinate with outpatient and crisis services in the care continuum.

The opening of the patient care tower and new critical care unit at Deaconess Hospital, along with the move of the Family Birth Center to the Spanish Peaks tower, and the move and renovation of our inpatient pharmacy is allowing us to renovate the first floor Madison Wing. The addition of 12 inpatient psychiatric beds will require an estimated $7 million in capital investment. 21 medical care beds, including beds vital to our COVID-19 response, will be displaced to create the necessary support space needed for the inpatient psychiatric unit. Work on design and permitting for the 12-bed inpatient psychiatric unit will begin immediately, with renovation and staff recruitment anticipated to begin in early 2022. It is our hope to open this new space in mid-2023.

This investment and immediate work must be coupled with a parallel investment to restore these 21 displaced medical patient care beds due to the region’s extraordinary growth in demand for medical services. The past 18 months as we have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic have been an endless marathon for our care team members. As the stewards of an essential healthcare resource, we are entrusted to anticipate and meet the growing needs of the communities we serve. In repurposing these existing medical care beds for inpatient psychiatric care, we must concurrently build out and recruit staffing to maintain sufficient medical beds to continue to deliver comprehensive, high-quality care to meet regional demand.

“Over the past four years, Bozeman Health has engaged in a journey with our community partners to understand regional behavioral health services gaps and evolving needs that we’ve seen increase during the pandemic,” shared John Hill, Bozeman Health president and CEO. “As we continue that journey, Bozeman Health is committed to keeping care close to home and will add inpatient psychiatric care to the regional behavioral health care continuum.”

“The board greatly appreciated the thorough and thoughtful work of the Behavioral Health Governance Sub-Committee and Clinical Steering Committee,” said Katie Daughenbaugh, Bozeman Health system board chair. “Their work was informed by and reflects the findings produced through collaborative community work that Bozeman Health has led and partnered in over the past four years. We look forward to continuing to engage in supporting the full physical and behavioral health care continuum as fiduciaries of an essential regional resource.”

Bozeman Health is proud of this important work and these next steps, and we appreciate the significant community interest in the single service line of inpatient psychiatric care. We recognize the importance of providing this timely update specific to inpatient care now and look forward to sharing additional announcements in the coming months. Yesterday’s board action provided substantial guidance impacting the entire behavioral health care continuum, and as we have been doing for 110 years, Bozeman Health remains committed to meet the needs of Southwest Montana for years to come.

We have been actively engaged in assessing behavioral health care since 2017 and joined with community partners in launching Elevating Behavioral Health, a collaborative, solutions-focused effort to improve the behavioral health system of support in Southwest Montana. This partnership with the community helped to understand gaps and needs in the behavioral health continuum of care at that time. Then, beginning in 2018, Bozeman Health began to make additional investments to more fully establish its behavioral health care system. Over the past four years, considerable progress has been made through the introduction of integrated behavioral health services, improvements to crisis response services in our emergency department, adoption of telepsychiatry at Deaconess Hospital and Big Sky Medical Center, and the addition of 14 new behavioral health clinical care team members.

As Bozeman Health moved through its continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic, additional investments in behavioral health were made through a partnership with Western Montana Mental Health and the Help Center in opening the behavioral health urgent care center at Gallatin Mental Health Center. Then, early in 2021, the critical need for behavioral health services in our community - and the current fragmented nature of care as other community providers struggle to provide essential safety-net services - led the board of directors for Bozeman Health to form a special board subcommittee and the health system stood up a behavioral health clinical steering committee. These committees evaluated the full continuum of behavioral health care in our community, identified gaps, and recommended the role Bozeman Health should play in meeting our community’s behavioral health care needs.

The recommendations brought forward to the board of directors were the culmination of four months of intensive work by these two committees. Their research and recommendations placed patients and their families at the heart of their work, and were informed by and in collaboration with the four-plus years of ongoing work in the Elevation Behavioral Health Collaborative and Gallatin Crisis Redesign Committee. Additionally, we continue to recognize that that no one behavioral health pillar alone can address an individual’s or a community’s needs.

As Bozeman Health continues its work to advance locally available behavioral health care, we appreciate our strong collaborations with community and regional partners as they are essential for creating a sustainable continuum, responsive to the needs of patients and their families.

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About Bozeman Health

Bozeman Health is an independent, locally owned and controlled integrated healthcare delivery system serving Southwest Montana. As a faith-based, nonprofit organization governed by a volunteer community board of directors, Bozeman Health is the largest private employer in Gallatin County with more than 2,400 employees, including 240 medical providers representing 50 clinical specialties. Accredited by DNV, it is our privilege to deliver expert, compassionate health and wellness services across the care continuum, designed to meet the diverse healthcare needs of the communities we serve. Learn more about Bozeman Health at BozemanHealth.org.

About the Behavioral Health Governance Sub-Committee and Clinical Steering Committee

Bozeman Health is extremely grateful to members of the Behavioral Health Governance Sub-Committee and Clinical Steering Committee whose collective efforts and recommendations helped guide the board of directors in their decision-making. Members of these dedicated groups include Board Members Signe Farris and Dr. Bruce Hamory; Dr. Anne Thomas, behavioral health medical director; Dr. Jon Brigham, psychiatry; Dr. Jeremy Mitchell, Big Sky Medical Center medical director; Dr. Eric Lowe, Deaconess Hospital emergency department medical director; Maureen Womack, system director, behavioral health; Sam Nave, APRN, clinic APC in psychiatry; Nicole Madden, RN, system director, medical surgical and procedural specialty nursing; Taylor Rose, Big Sky Medical Center director of operations and clinical services; Diane Patterson, chief nursing officer; Dr. Mark Williams, chief physician officer; Tamara Havenhill-Jacobs, chief information officer; and Jason Smith, chief advancement officer. Special gratitude is extended as well to Ellen Dailey and Sandy Schroeder for their leadership in project management and committee coordination.

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