Director of Social Services Jackie Skramstad, Dr. David Conklin, and Hans Lutgring, regional outreach director, all of Mind Springs Health, address the Board of County Commissioners in a meeting.

County reaffirms support for Mind Springs Health

Approves grant for $49,500, signs support letter for West Springs Hospital

May 9, 2024

Garfield County has continued its support of Mind Springs Health, approving a $49,500 grant toward operations and the cost of care for Garfield County residents. The funding, which had been budgeted for and aims to help maintain services provided at the West Springs Psychiatric Hospital in Grand Junction, comes from the county’s nonprofit discretionary fund.

The county also approved a letter of support for West Springs Hospital, which is “a critical mental and behavioral health facility in our community,” the letter notes. The hospital has faced challenges in recent years, including financial constraints, staffing shortages, regulatory scrutiny, and increases in cost, both for labor and due to state compliance measures.

“West Springs Hospital has been a lifeline for individuals in crisis, offering specialized care and compassionate support,” the letter states. “Its closure would have a devastating impact on our community’s well-being and access to essential mental health services.”

Hans Lutgring, regional outreach director for Mind Springs Health, told the board that Garfield County’s support is crucial to promoting positive behavioral health in western Colorado.

Mind Springs Health Director of Social Services Jackie Skramstad stated that 147 Garfield County residents sought services at West Springs Hospital in 2021; 85 in 2022; 64 in 2023, and there have been 40 admissions from Garfield County through April 30, 2024.

Dr. David Conklin, chief medical officer and psychiatrist for Mind Springs Health, noted that many patients are being sent to hospitals on the Front Range rather than being connected to care in western Colorado. He added that the hospital has been working with the state to create “a path of sustainability for the hospital, as well as how to solve some of our current cash flow problems.”

“If we could have 10 more patients a week coming to our hospital, we would be profitable,” he told the board.

He expressed optimism on the hospital’s future and noted that Mind Springs Health staff is engaged with legislators at the state level.

“We’re trying to participate in a system of care that allows patients to be seen on the worst day of their life when they might be going into the psychiatric hospital and stay close to home where their family can visit them,” Conklin said. “We’ve been very lucky that we’ve had great support from this board of county commissioners and many other entities on the Western Slope.”

Both the grant funding and letter of support were approved unanimously, 3-0.