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Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center (HRRMC)  will be welcoming a new Solvista mental health facility to its Salida campus next year. The HRRMC board heard details about the extensive project Tuesday, Aug. 18 from Brian Turner, Solvista Chief Executive Officer Brian Turner and Chief Operating Officer Mandy Kaisner.

Solvista CEO Brian Turner

Turner said the new mental health regional assessment center is something sorely needed and on the drawing board for some time.

The seven-million-dollar project will be arguably the largest single investment in behavioral health in this region. Financing will involve a combination of government grants, private foundation grants, corporate donations, individual donations, and loans. “We’re a small non-profit and we want to do this and believe we can do this and sustain it…” Turner commented.

The non-profit Solvista Health has been serving the same four-county area (Chaffee, Fremont, Lake, and Custer) for 57 years.

“I really expressed my gratitude to the HRRMC board last (Tuesday) night, as well as to the community partners that have signed on,” Turner said,  “we had every single DHS, department of public health, hospital, police department and sheriff’s office sign letters of support to move forward on this – we had over 50 letters come in in support of this project.”

Turner said there is a lot of pent-up demand locally.

“It wasn’t hard to get people on board with the idea,” Turner said, “ and then everybody has contributed to the design – not just the services -but even the architectural design; they’re really informed and want this to be a human center, a dignifying place to get care…sometimes we forget that part.”

The need is readily apparent, he said.

“We are building something that is so desperately needed in Chaffee, Lake, Custer Fremont, Saguache … you go to Gunnison, you go to Park, Teller, there’s a resource for the entire region,” he added.

“The reality is, especially for the level of services that we’re planning on providing at this new location, which is about higher-level mental health and substance abuse services, there is a 5,000 square-mile doughnut hole, where none of these services exist.”

The result, he notes, is a lot of people have to be transported out of their community elsewhere in the state.

“What we do right now, is a whole lot of people get transported out of their community, out of their local system of care, and taken somewhere on the I-25 corridor, or Grand Junction even.” Oftentimes, we don’t hear from that individual again until they show back up in the emergency room, or in the back of a cop car.”

“…We’re trying to address the whole continuum, but we’ve got this big gap of higher levels of care and if we can create this it’s going to be a resource for the region…”

“The idea is people can go in for a higher level of care here; 24-7, walk-in crisis services, detox, acute treatment and that gives us an opportunity to one, not send them somewhere else in the state, but to engage them in longer treatment supports… they can get back home, and we can wrap other services around them,” he added. “So, we don’t want people to have to go into, you know, some locked-in patient facility elsewhere, we want to give them the right level of care in their homes.”

Construction documented are being finalized, and groundbreaking for the new facility to be located on the HRRMC medical campus will be planned in the near future.