Ten Days Before Its CEO’s Contract Expires, Dallas’ Largest Provider of Mental Health Services Is Silent

Ten days before the contract of its chief executive officer is set to run out, Dallas-based Metrocare Services is staying mum on the topic of its leadership future. The government agency—which has a budget north of $100 million and a board appointed by Dallas County Commissioners—has not answered repeated inquiries about the CEO process or about financial issues at the agency. It’s a spell of silence that dates back more than three months. In the most recent instance showcasing the lack of transparency that government agencies are expected to offer, Metrocare denied a records request seeking “minutes”—the play-by-play—from its most… Full Story

Does Bringing The Arts Into Healthcare Make Business Sense? Panelists Explore

For Todd Frazier, earning buy-in from his health system’s higher-ups to build out a musical therapy program took a concerted effort to shift the conversation. Rather than discussing reimbursement and how the system could pay for it, Frazier put the focus on why what he proposed to offer was essential for any leading-edge provider. It ultimately worked, with Frazier—who directs the Center for Performing Arts Medicine at the eight facilities that make up Houston Methodist Hospital—earning backing through philanthropy in the early stages. The juice has proved worth the squeeze, and Houston Methodist now employs seven full-time musical therapists, making… Full Story

Before Layoffs, Clinic Closure, Metrocare Quietly Issued CEO A Two-Month Extension

Metrocare Services and CEO John Burruss have inked a short-term contract extension while the Dallas County behavioral health agency considers a longer term deal. Metrocare and Burruss agreed on the deal in late March, extending Burruss’ contract through June 30, according to documents obtained through an open records request. The contract had been set to expire on April 28. The largest mental health provider in Dallas County, Metrocare has had a difficult last 18 months, including the recent news that it will lay off more than 40 people, close a clinic, and freeze salaries for executives, administrators, and managers. In… Full Story

Dallas County’s Struggling Mental Health Provider will Implement Layoffs, a Clinic Closure, and a Salary Freeze

Metrocare Services will lay off more than 40 people and close another clinic as Dallas County’s largest purveyor of mental health services tries to steady itself after a financially torrid 2017. Metrocare CEO Dr. John Burruss notified staff on Monday in an email. He said executive, administrative, and management salaries also will be frozen “for the foreseeable future.” According to a source close to the company, the number of people impacted by layoffs could be as many as 60. That would be about 7 percent of Metrocare’s 900 employees. The agency serves more than 57,000 people and is budgeted to… Full Story

Early Childhood Intervention Providers in North Texas, Elsewhere Face Shrinking Funding

For more than 20 years, The Warren Center Executive Director Amy Spawn has been a speech therapist within the state’s Early Childhood Intervention program, which is built for kids younger than three with disabilities or developmental delays. When she started, there were seven Dallas County providers under ECI. Today, there are three. Spawn says shrinking state funding has made it increasingly difficult for the Warren Center—a Richardson-based organization that serves more than 800 ECI children each month—to keep up with higher demand through the years. But recent cuts to Medicaid children’s therapy funding has put even more stress on ECI… Full Story

Digital Health Company Lands in Dallas To Build Out Its Text-Based Counseling Service

In the March issue of D CEO, we have a story about a digital health company that’s providing treatment for mental health issues like depression and anxiety via completely text-based exchanges with counselors. The exchanges occur within “secure virtual therapy” rooms, but the two sides never actually meet eye-to-eye. The company, Ieso Digital Health, is headquartered in Cambridge, England, but now has a Dallas-based CEO leading expansion in the U.S. Readers might approach the subject with some skepticism, but it’s difficult to argue with the potential benefits of tele-solutions to behavioral health problems. Exhibit A: The shortage of psychiatrists, particularly… Full Story

D’s Latest Podcast Dives Into Mental Health Among the Incarcerated

D Magazine hosted a criminal justice talk at the HQ here in downtown Dallas recently, and various, fascinating pieces of the conversation revolved around the complex relationship between mental health issues and repeat offenders. Ron Stretcher, former director of criminal justice administration at Dallas County, discussed a population that can get caught in a pattern of bouncing in and out of incarceration, without an end to the pattern in sight. “Nobody knows what to do,” he said of the justice system’s view on repeat offenders with behavioral health issues. “There are no options. Treatment in the community hasn’t worked, and… Full Story

Despite Turnover, Red Ink, and Other Issues, CEO Says Metrocare Services Has Been ‘Enormously Successful’

Dallas County’s largest provider of mental health services sold its software division at a significant loss, divested properties, and saw at least two high-ranking executives head for the exits during a financially tumultuous stretch over the last year. The financial situation got so bad at Metrocare Services that, for a time, the agency ran out of prescription stock and had to send patients elsewhere, the result of vendor relationships put on pause due to the agency’s inability to pay. The difficulties at Metrocare, a government agency that serves more than 57,000 people at various facilities across the county, stemmed from… Full Story

Dallas-Based Recruitment Firm Says Psychiatrists Are Its Second-Most Sought-After Physicians

A decade ago, psychiatrist was ranked ninth among the search assignments received by Dallas-based Merritt Hawkins. Since then, the healthcare recruitment firm has heard more and more from employers who need them, and psychiatrist now ranks number two among the doctors its clients request (primary care physicians rank number one). In a report on access to mental health services, Merritt Hawkins found that Texas has 1,546 psychiatrists, representing about 5.5 percent of the psychiatrists in the U.S. Yet we account for 8.5 percent of the population. In other words, Texas’ situation appears particularly bad. And if you drill down further,… Full Story

Report: North Texas Lags Behind U.S. and State in Availability of Psychiatric Care

An analysis of 16 North Texas counties found that seven of them don’t have any psychiatric care beds, and that most counties in the area lag behind in the availability of behavioral health care. The North Texas Community Health Collaborative report offers an expansive and sobering view of mental health issues across the region, where the 16 counties accounted for more than 1.1 million visits for mental health or substance abuse issues in 2016, equating to about 3,200 a day. Underscoring the issue in North Texas, just Dallas County, Grayson County, and Rockwall County came in above the state’s average… Full Story