5 decades leading mental health services in southeastern Wyoming
A private nonprofit organization founded in 1959—originally known as Southeast Wyoming Mental Health Center (SEWMHC)—Peak Wellness Center has grown and adapted over the last 50+ years to different models of mental health care and substance abuse treatment, new scientific developments in psychiatry and addiction recovery, cultural trends in our country, changes in funding, new Healthcare Information Technology (HIT), and the evolving needs of our communities.
Our highly experienced team of nearly 200 compassionate, committed mental health care professionals and support staff continues to serve individuals and families, support groups, social agencies, physicians, law enforcement teams, schools, local businesses and other community organizations.
Today we offer the broadest range of mental health care and substance abuse treatment services available in southeastern Wyoming, including specialized Youth & Family Services, and we serve more people via more Peak locations than at any time in our history.
We’re also proud to have achieved CARF accreditation, an internationally recognized third-party certification for healthcare excellence that we have maintained since 2002.
Continued growth in services, technologies, and facilities
- Welcomed new executive director Karl Cline after the retirement of long-time executive director Dr. David Birney.
- Launched refreshed Peak brand, including a new website, to support outreach and better showcase the breadth and depth of high-quality, affordable services Peak makes available to everyone in our community.
- Engaged in major initiatives to expand use of evidence-based practices throughout all Peak programs.
- Implemented new electronic health record for full year while improving service documentation, data integrity, and billing procedures.
- Completed customer service audits to improve client experience at our clinics.
- Opened Parent University to serve preschoolers and their families in Laramie County.
- Created governance committee of the board of directors.
- Measured the impact of the 2013-2014 Foster Grandparent program:
- 68 Foster Grandparent volunteers
- 1,005 children with special and/or exceptional needs served
- 61,608 hours of volunteer service
- 763 or 86% (763) of the 886 children served in an academic setting demonstrated academic improvement
- $163,262 in supplement annual income provided for Foster Grandparents in return for their volunteer service
- Maintained very low wait times through Open Access application system.
- Maintained high levels of client satisfaction.
- Upgraded IT system to allow for fully electronic health record.
- Implemented new Carelogic electronic health record.
- Completed comprehensive marketing survey.
- Re-created professional development program around evidence-based practices.
- Implemented new fleet management system for agency vehicles.
- Implemented total revision of more consumer friendly application process.
- In 2012-2013, 77 Foster Grandparent volunteers served more than 1,362 children with special and/or exceptional needs and generated 64,613 hours of volunteer service.
- Opened office in Pine Bluffs to improve access for the residents of eastern Laramie County
- Finalized and implemented statewide outcomes management system
- Created quarterly electronic newsletter to tell our story better to the community
- Repaired facilities and vehicles after massive hailstorm in July.
- Expanded waiting room at the Laramie County Clinic to accommodate more clients.
- Joined with other Laramie County agencies to create a county wide care coordination system called “Goal Connect.”
- In 2011-2012, 84 Foster Grandparent volunteers served more than 1200 children with special and/or exceptional needs and generated 71,862 hours of volunteer service.
- During FY2011, client admissions increased by 15% while wait times decreased from eleven to five days primarily due to implementation in Laramie and Albany Counties of a walk-in assessment model.
- Sundance Center in Laramie moved to a new facility.
- Albany County Clinic became the drug court service provider for the county.
- Dr. Marta Pieczalska joined PWC as child psychiatrist.
- Mike Alles became Director of Casa de Paz.
- Despite suffering major cuts in state funding, Peak maintained service levels from previous year. Laramie County implemented walk-in model for client enrollment to reduce waiting times.
- Darci Sprenger became Director of Chrysalis House.
- Nancy VanCise became Business Manager.
- The U.S. Congress passed national healthcare reform.
Mental health care & substance abuse treatment in the new century
- Youth and Family Services, Administration and Foster Grandparent Program moved to the newly renovated Churchill School facility.
- Bill Quinn retired as Clinic Director in Laramie County.
- Linda Goodman became new Laramie County Clinic Director.
- Sue Garrett retired as Laramie County ARS Program Director.
- Mike McKee was appointed new Laramie County ARS Director.
- Opened Snowy View Apartments in Albany County.
- Opened intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment program in Goshen County.
- Implemented comprehensive, computer-based staff training program.
- Granted three-year renewal of CARF certification.
- Implemented a major expansion of regional services with our partner agencies, Carbon County Counseling Center and Pathfinder.
- Opened “The Haven” to treat persons with serious and persistent mental illness and substance dependence problems.
- Expanded Quality of Life services to include persons with substance use disorders.
- Created early intervention program to provide treatment for very young children.
- Opened “Recovery Houses” for men and women and their children.
- Moved billing from paper-based to electronic.
- Completed telemedicine network among all four counties.
- Opened Casa de Paz for crisis respite for clients throughout the Southeast Region.
- Opened Drop-In Center in Goshen County.
- Restructured clinical record system to include consumer-friendly treatment plan.
- Expanded capability for electronic billing.
- Began internal training program in group services to better accommodate the increasing demand for services.
- New Platte County Clinic building opened.
- Received CDBG grant for construction of new supported apartment complex in Laramie.
- Kathryn Hopfensperger, M.D. joined our staff as full-time psychiatrist.
- Expanded substance abuse services in Albany and Platte County through a state grant.
- The.Own It! program in Platte County was recognized by Wyoming’s First Lady, Nancy Freudenthal, as an outstanding prevention program.
- Continued development of diversionary services through Crisis Stabilization Project, Jail Diversion Project and Bridge Program.
- Joel Burian was appointed Clinic Director of Goshen County Clinic.
- Moved to paperless clinical records in Cheyenne and Laramie.
- Initiated major community relations campaign to educate the public and reduce the stigma associated with mental health and substance abuse issues, and to improve agency profile in the community.
- Began publishing a monthly agency newsletter.
- Launched a new website.
- C.A.R.F. recognized our Community Relations and Computerized Clinical Records programs as exemplary practices.
- Opened Chrysalis House, a ten-bed residential substance treatment facility for women and their children.
- Opened Sundance Drop-In Center in Laramie.
- Initiated a comprehensive community relations plan to fight stigma and raise community awareness.
- Expanded Laramie County Clinic to provide space for expanding substance treatment programs.
- Carol Sprabery, Ph.D. was appointed Clinic Director for Albany County.
- In September 2004, the agency name was changed to Peak Wellness Center, Inc. and mission statement was updated.
- Completed new five year facilities plan.
- Opened new facility for Stagecoach Drop-In Center in Cheyenne.
- Remodeled Transitions into 26 bed facility for primary residential treatment.
- Opened first Recovery House.
- Employed Kristi Leavitt as first Community Relations Director.
- Construction was completed on the new Albany County Clinic.
- Substance treatment services were restructured and expanded through the Comprehensive Substance Abuse Center (CSAC) project in Laramie County.
- The computerized clinical record system was utilized throughout the agency.
- Southeast received national accreditation through CARF.
- Mountain View Apartments in Torrington and the new supervised residence in Cheyenne opened.
- All agency policies were revised, codified and distributed to staff through agency computers.
- All clinics except Albany County established internal computer networks.
- Lisa McBride joined Southeast as Business Manager.
- Jill Smith became Clinic Director of the Goshen County Clinic.
- Created Substance Abuse Division.
- Southeast implemented an initiative to expand services to the elderly.
- Y2K conversion was completed successfully and staff was assured that numerous spare flashlights would be provided.
- Received Federal grant to support STAR Program in Laramie.
- U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health published.
- Southeast initiated agency-wide CQI program.
Peak’s origins and growth into a leading regional care provider
- Funding to improve clients' "Quality of Life" was obtained from the Legislature.
Muriel Apartments in Laramie were completed.
- Services in Goshen County were consolidated when the new Goshen County Clinic opened.
- The Laramie County TFC Program was accredited by Boys Town.
- Laramie County ARS Services moved into the newly renovated Ross Building.
- Laramie County Chemical Health Services was consolidated with Adult Outpatient Services.
- Significant increases in State funding resulted in expansion of services to seriously ill clients.
- Staff increases included substantial expansion of psychiatric services.
- Southeast's Quality Improvement Program was formalized with the employment of Dan Miller as Quality Improvement Coordinator.
- Initiated the Employee of the Quarter Program.
- Ed Majors was appointed Director of the Albany County Clinic.
- Dan Quance joined Southeast as Business Manager.
- The agency long-range facilities plan was finalized by the Board of Directors.
- New funding was appropriated by the Legislature to expand services to seriously ill populations.
- New Chemical Dependency treatment complex opened in Cheyenne in October.
- The Gables apartments for seriously mentally ill clients opened in Laramie.
- Partnership negotiations to resolve P. & A. Inc./ WYAMI lawsuit against the State initiated.
- Housing options for seriously ill continued to expand with the purchase of the Shared Living Facility in Cheyenne and the construction of the Supported Apartment complex in Laramie.
- Intensive youth services programs continued to grow agency-wide to meet demand.
- Substance abuse services expanded through the addition of an IOSAP program in Cheyenne, and Transitions, a primary residential treatment program for the chemically dependent serving the Southeast portion of the state.
- Bobby's House in Goshen County opened, providing day treatment services to the Seriously Mentally Ill, a drop-in center and a detoxification center.
- Logan Manor, a supervised apartment complex for Seriously Mentally Ill clients, opened in Cheyenne.
- Services to Seriously Emotionally Disturbed youth continued to expand with the addition of the "Guides Program."
- Southeast continued growth, particularly in services to seriously mentally ill adults and children, while maintaining services to all members of our communities.
- Major expansions in housing services to seriously mentally ill clients were accomplished through the Supported Independence Project.
- Community planning based upon CASSP principles was accomplished in all four counties served by Southeast, resulting in increased levels of service to SED youth.
- Southeast continued to develop programs offering expanded services to Eastern Laramie County and staff expansions in Albany County, Goshen County, and Therapeutic Foster Care.
- Medicaid waiver programs for developmentally disabled were started in Goshen and Laramie Counties.
- The facility needs of the Laramie County Substance Abuse Program were resolved with the remodeling of the Chemical Health facility.
- A strategic planning effort was initiated to plan the future direction of the agency.
Steve Mincer was appointed Director of the Platte County Clinic.
- Dave Beck was appointed Director of the Goshen County Clinic.
- Bill Fairbanks was appointed Director of Substance Abuse Services.
- The newly implemented Wyoming Youth Initiative Program saw continuous growth.
- Developed the ADAM (domestic violence prevention) project in Albany County.
- Implemented two new substance abuse prevention programs run cooperatively between SEWMHC and the Laramie County School District #1.
- David H. Birney, Ph.D., became the Executive Director of SEWMHC.
- The Center continued to strengthen collaborative relationships with other Health Service Programs in the Region:
- Provided student placements for the University of Wyoming Psychology Dept.
Shared funding with Laramie County School District #1.
- Cooperated with Laramie County D-PASS to expand the Therapeutic Foster Care Program.
- Implemented a statewide Human Resources Development Program.
- Provided student placements for the University of Wyoming Psychology Dept.
- In response to the needs of the community, the following programs were developed:
- Anger Control Group
- Therapeutic Foster Care
- Case Management for the Chronically Mentally Ill
- Family Sexual Abuse Treatment Program
- Divorce Groups
- School Suicide Prevention (in cooperation with Laramie County School District #1)
- Continued consultation and education services for over 50 local agencies.
- In October, the Alcohol Traffic Safety Program, New Morning Awareness House, and Project Hope joined together to form Chemical Health Services.
- The 1979 Community Emergency Disaster Plan was reorganized and implemented to relieve the suffering caused by the August 1, 1985 flood.
- New facility was opened at 2526 Seymour Avenue.
- Psychiatric services and detoxification services were emphasized in Cheyenne this year in response to the MX Missile Impact Study done by U.R.S. Berger.
- Due to four suicides occurring in Cheyenne over a three week period, three of whom were adolescents, the Center responded to requests from more than a dozen organizations for training on suicide prevention and developed a suicide intervention and prevention plan with local schools.
- The Community Emergency Disaster Plan, developed in 1979, was utilized to assist the people of Cheyenne.
- The Board of Directors reaffirmed policies for the coming decade to include:
- To serve all four counties with full time staff providing comprehensive mental health services;
- To continue to reduce admissions to Wyoming State Hospital in keeping with the spirit of the 1963 Community Mental Health Center Act;
- To emphasize services to the chronically mentally ill;
- To emphasize services to the alcoholic, due to the pervasive nature of this problem;
- To develop a Disaster Plan for Community Emergencies, such as the 1979 tornado in Cheyenne.
- SEWMHC discontinued federal funding at the end of the eight year staffing grant
Continued to provide twelve of the thirteen federally mandated services...all but transitional care.
- Congress mandated eight additional services to NIMH:
- Rape counseling and prevention
- Screening of institutional patients
- Follow-up of institutional patients
- Transitional care
- The National Institute of Mental Health, under the Community Mental Health Center Act, granted SEWMHC an eight year staffing grant to provide five basic services:
- Consultation and Education
- Partial Care
- Raymond Muhr, Th.D., became the Executive Director of SEWMHC.
- Congress established the Community Mental Health Center Act which later provided federal funds for our Center.
- Southeast Wyoming Mental Health Center (SEWMHC) was incorporated to provide these services:
- Evaluation and treatment of emotional disturbances of children and adults
- Community planning for mental health
- Community information on mental hygiene
- Consultation to social agencies, physicians, ministers, teachers and other professionals
- The Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health began to develop a national policy for Mental Health.