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SBJ Editor Eric Olson interviews Burrell CEO C.J. Davis at the monthly 12 People breakfast.
SBJ photo by Wes Hamilton
SBJ Editor Eric Olson interviews Burrell CEO C.J. Davis at the monthly 12 People breakfast.

Burrell’s budget crosses $100M in CEO’s first year

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It’s been a little over a year since C.J. Davis became CEO of Burrell Behavioral Health. Since that time, the mental and behavioral health provider has grown significantly, but it’s still not enough, Davis said.

Speaking this morning as Springfield Business Journal’s guest for the monthly 12 People You Need to Know live interview series, Davis said the organization’s budget, patient volumes and staff levels are on the rise.

Davis cited partnerships with health care systems — including a recently announced deal with Mercy Springfield Communities — as well as efforts to make itself more accessible and welcoming to patients in its 17-county territory in southwest and central Missouri.

“We really want to be known as the Mayo Clinic of behavioral health,” he said. “As a society, we really have to put mental health front and center. We’ll never conquer this on our own.”

When he arrived at Burrell in October 2017, the organization was operating with a budget of $80 million and serving about 30,000 patients per year. During the past year, Davis said Burrell’s budget grew to $100 million and it’s now up to $125 million for the current fiscal year.

“We’ve also seen an increase of about 20 percent more people walking through our door,” he said, noting that equates to “somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 more people per month.”

Davis said he’s most proud of reducing wait times for patients, so they can be seen within days and, in some cases, even the same day.

“Having same-day service in the mental health world, given the volume that we’re encountering, is really something for the entire community to be proud of,” he said.

With growth in patient volumes, Davis said a “workforce crisis” exists in behavioral health. He said 50 percent of its provider base is over the age of 55, and the organization currently has 286 open positions.

“Finding the qualified workforce is extremely difficult,” he said. “There will never be enough money or enough staff to throw at the problem. I think the solution is one of a community solution. I don’t think it’s a Burrell problem. I don’t think it’s a Burrell solution. It’s a community solution.”

To that end, Burrell staff next week beings a partnership with Mercy for mental health services at the latter’s Marian Center and emergency room. Burrell has a had a long affiliate with CoxHealth for similar services.

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