Brattleboro Retreat president invites collaboration

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BRATTLEBORO >> The Brattleboro Retreat's new president and chief executive officer invited the prospect of collaboration on delivering services around mental health and substance abuse.

"I care about the Retreat. I want the Retreat to thrive and be successful because it means we're serving people of the community well. But after that I don't care," said Louis Josephson, who has been on the job for three months after Rob Simpson stepped down last year. "I care about serving the community and the needs of people with mental illness and substance-abuse disorders. If we can do it and do a great job, that's great. If you can do it and do a better job, that's great. The goal is to serve the community."

Resources are tight, Josephson said, so being successful will mean the teaming up of different groups. And he referred to "some ups and downs" with the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Concerns were cleared, said Josephson, referring to a systems improvement agreement that addressed patient rights, and the facility's governance, quality, physical environment.

With CMS issues in the rear view mirror, there are new goals. Josephson said he hopes to start to bringing up the Retreat's "the clinical game."

"We're as good as our last interaction with the last patient," he said. "So we've got to be really great to give people the chance to recover from mental illness and substance abuse. The only reason why we exist is to care for patients and their families."

A networking event at the Retreat saw health service providers, doctors and members of other community organization coming together to meet each other. Approximately 60 people signed in throughout the two-hour event.

"I'm really passionate about the quality of care in our community," Josephson told attendees. "What's so great about an event like this is that I get to see who the partners are."

He called for those present to think of him and the Retreat as a resource, "as somebody you go to and say, 'This isn't working. What can we do about it?'"

Halfway through the gathering while giving his speech, Josephson said he heard "great ideas" for pilot programs and things to advocate for. Housing and case management were mentioned.

"There's so many different needs out there in our service system," said Josephson.

Contact Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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