Vail Health's Eagle Valley Behavioral Health becomes first-ever Behavioral Health entity in Colorado

Sally Welsh

On January 26, 2022, Vail Health’s Eagle Valley Behavioral Health (EVBH) became the first in Colorado to receive a licensure as a Behavioral Health Entity (BHE) through a new licensure process created by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). The Behavioral Health Entity license was the final step needed for Eagle Valley Behavioral Health to complete the process of receiving designation as the 18th Community Mental Health Center in Colorado. 
 
“This is an historic moment in our battle against the behavioral health crisis in the state and in our valley,” said Vail Health President and CEO Will Cook. “One of our most important achievements will be met when Vail Health’s inpatient behavioral health facility opens its doors in Edwards in 2024. This Behavioral Health Entity license helps us get one step closer to that happening.”
 
As a result of House Bill 19-1237, CDPHE developed a single, flexible licensing category for facilities providing community behavioral health services, the Behavioral Health Entity license. Colorado Governor Jared Polis has pledged to transform behavioral health and develop a more transparent and responsive system that ensures quality clinical care. The Behavioral Health Entity license, which went into effect July 1, 2021, is one way the state is trying to reduce redundancies or confusion across varying state departments.
 
This is the second significant milestone for Eagle Valley Behavioral Health in relation to certifications, as Eagle Valley Behavioral Health became the 18th Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) and the first Community Mental Health Center designated in the state of Colorado in more than 40 years in 2021. 
 
“Vail Health created Eagle Valley Behavioral Health to transform the landscape of behavioral health in the Eagle River Valley, and this new license is another one of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health’s groundbreaking achievements in behavioral health that reaches beyond the Eagle River Valley to impact the entire state of Colorado,” said Chris Lindley, Chief Population Health Officer for Vail Health and Executive Director of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health.
 
On a local level, Eagle Valley Behavioral Health and its partners have added 56 direct clinical provider positions to the community and 11 indirect clinical support positions in less than 24 months, without any state or federal funding support. Through their partnership with Vail Health, Colorado Mountain Medical has successfully integrated behavioral health into primary care and expanded their behavioral health service line. The foundation of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health’s approach to developing a comprehensive behavioral health system is community partnerships that are responsive to community-driven needs. 
 
“The Hope Center is a perfect example of developing programming in a way that is directly responsive to community needs,” said Kimberly Goodrich, Vail Health Population Health Project Manager. “We recognized gaps in service and collaboratively identified the best way to address those needs.” 
 
Additional examples of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health’s dedication to community partnerships include, crisis co-response and school-based behavioral health services for Eagle County were transformed through the collaboration of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, Eagle County Paramedics, local law enforcement and the Hope Center of the Eagle River Valley, ensuring 24/7 crisis response and risk assessment, community stabilization programming, and licensed school-based clinicians in 14 schools across the community. 
 
“Although we have made incredible progress, we are so excited for the work that is ahead of us,” said Dr. Casey Wolfington, Eagle Valley Behavioral Health’s Senior Director of Community Behavioral Health. 
 
Eagle Valley Behavioral Health will continue to work to ensure community access to providers through provider recruitment strategies, workforce development initiatives, and retention programs. Additionally, Eagle Valley Behavioral Health will focus on reducing financial barriers to service while developing specialty and higher levels of clinical services within our community. 
 
“Vail Health and Eagle Valley Behavioral Health are dedicated to creating a behavioral health landscape that ensures all residents can access world-class behavioral health care without leaving their community,” said Cook. 
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About Vail Health
With a focus on providing access to higher quality, more affordable care, Vail Health is a nonprofit community health care system offering one of the world’s most advanced mountain hospitals. Vail Health includes award-winning oncology care and a state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab, as well as internationally renowned orthopaedic specialists led by The Steadman Clinic and Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery. Primary, specialty and behavioral health care are provided through its partner, Colorado Mountain Medical. Vail Health is committed to meeting the growing and ever-changing needs of the diverse region and encouraging wellness and prevention through effective population health management. Vail Health is locally operated and governed by a volunteer board of directors. For more information, visit www.vailhealth.org.

Logo depicting a tree with the words 'Eagle Valley Behavioral Health'

Eagle Valley Behavioral Health was established to serve as the backbone organization to lead the community collaboration in transforming the Eagle Valley behavioral health system.