Jill Wiedemann-West, CEO of St. Paul-based People Incorporated, is leading the state’s largest community-based mental health services in expanding an integrated-care model under a federal initiative and celebrating the nonprofit’s 50th anniversary.
Under Wiedemann-West’s leadership, People Incorporated is one of six Minnesota providers participating in the federal Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) initiative.
The two-year demonstration project establishes a “one-stop shop” approach to outpatient services for individuals with mental illnesses, chronic additions and substance use disorders.
“People are feeling far more connected to their care and are getting a much more robust level of care and care coordination,” Wiedemann-West said of early CCBHC findings.
People Incorporated, which employs 750 people and operates in-house training to clinical staff, recently opened a training institute to offer courses to outside mental health professionals, businesses and community members, Wiedemann-West said. It’s a source of revenue as tax policy changes reduce individual charitable donations.
Wiedemann-West joined People Incorporated as chief operating officer in 2010 and was promoted to CEO in 2014. She previously was chief operating officer at what is now the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. She has a master’s degree in psychology and human behavior from National University in San Diego.
Q: What is driving the corporate interest in your training institute?
A: We’re in an unprecedented time where businesses are aware of their employees and what they’re doing to help support their employees’ mental health but also helping their leadership and management understand what they’re seeing if their staff are struggling in this area.
Q: What’s the role of People Incorporated as a service provider?
A: Community-based mental health services serve some of the more vulnerable and marginalized members of our community. These are typically folks with a lot of barriers to getting care and live at or near the poverty level. When we started to deinstitutionalize in the United States, the community entity became the way that deinstitutionalized folks were getting care. More recently … the community provider has changed from an entity dependent on government grants and whatnot to billing out services and acting more like a health care business.
Q: What are the benefits of the integrated-care model?
A: It recognizes that the individuals that we work with have more than one thing going on. The CCBHC model at its essence recognizes that we’re going to do our best to bring value and better outcomes by treating the whole person.