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A single of the state’s most prominent providers of mental overall health and addiction solutions will quickly start looking for a new chief executive. 

A representative of Western Montana Mental Wellness Center stated this week that the Missoula-headquartered organization decided not to renew Levi Anderson’s contract right after his 5 years of serving as CEO. Anderson’s final day at the organization was Friday, May perhaps 19.

Western has contracted with Cascadia Management Group, also primarily based in Missoula, to enable with the administrative transition for the subsequent two to 3 months. The president of that group, Colleen Rudio, is overseeing Western as the interim executive administrator. She framed Anderson’s exit as a mutual choice among him and Western primarily based on the nonprofit’s want to “look for a distinct style of leadership” and prioritize collaboration with other overall health care providers. 

“Right now the organization requirements to concentrate on their relationships and the organizations in each and every of their communities,” Rudio stated in a Wednesday telephone interview. “Making certain exactly where we require to be, when we require to be there, is truly what I feel the board is focusing on in its subsequent leadership.”

Anderson was not offered for comment prior to publication.

Western, extended the backbone of behavioral overall health solutions in communities across western Montana, has faced monetary headwinds for years. The state Legislature in 2017 slashed Medicaid reimbursement prices, particularly for case managers, destabilizing quite a few Medicaid-dependent providers the year prior to Anderson took the helm at Western. The COVID pandemic enhanced staffing strains and overhead expense burdens. 

Although the organization has continued to present myriad solutions, such as crisis stabilization and Extensive College and Neighborhood Remedy (CSCT) in public schools, Western has also closed applications and lost contracts in current years. In an April interview with KFF Wellness News, Anderson stated Western’s outsized scope of solutions has produced the shuttering of some applications a lot more visible. 

“We’ve grow to be the face of the failure of the program mainly because we’re the only organization supplying these solutions,” Anderson stated at the time.

Lawmakers from each political parties doubled down on rising Medicaid reimbursement prices for providers throughout the 2023 Legislature, bringing new investments up to $330 million in state and federal funds, according to Rep. Bob Keenan, R-Bigfork, the chair of the overall health price range subcommittee.

But these provider prices are not but set in stone. The price range bill containing the proposed increases, Residence Bill two, has not been transmitted to the governor’s desk and could modify shape when it is. Gov. Greg Gianforte, who has the energy of line-item vetoes on price range bills, was asked in May perhaps by Senate Majority Leader Steve Fitzpatrick, R-Excellent Falls, to carve out some of the proposed increases to provider rates Republicans and Democrats effectively tacked on throughout the Legislature’s final days. 

If that takes place, providers will nevertheless see a historic increase in Medicaid reimbursements. But market advocates say something significantly less than what lawmakers agreed on dangers maintaining neighborhood solutions operating at a loss.

“As with all organizations, charges have enhanced for Medicaid providers at an unusually higher inflation price,” stated Mary Windecker, executive director of the Behavioral Wellness Alliance of Montana, in a Thursday e-mail. “Since 2019, quite a few solutions for kids and adults have closed mainly because of the low prices and will require to be reopened at a greater expense. The extra revenue allocated by Sen. Fitzpatrick’s colleagues will be critical in reopening these closed applications and reversing the effect on communities of the 2017 price range cuts and the worldwide pandemic.”

Western is nevertheless producing alterations to solutions, in addition to its leadership, with a monetary forecast in thoughts. The organization decided this month to turn a residential addiction recovery therapy plan, Recovery Center Missoula, into a decrease-level residential plan, discharging the current 5 residents and laying off eight personnel in the procedure. RCM was the only therapy plan in Missoula licensed as a three.five facility primarily based on criteria from the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Rudio, the interim executive at Western, stated the choice was produced partly for monetary causes. But she stated the adjusted licensure will permit the 16-bed facility to fill its census and shorten its current waitlist. Although the organization has not announced extra closures or plan alterations, Rudio did not rule out the possibility.

“I will not say that there will not be plan alterations as we go forward, but what I will inform you is that there are no applications we’re searching at ideal now in terms of eliminations or reductions,” Rudio stated. 

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