Update on Christus St. Vincent’s Response to NAMI Members

As was previously reported, Tom Starke and Betty Sisneros Shover met with Mr. Patrick Carrier, CEO of Christus St. Vincent Medical Center in July. The purpose of this meeting was to inform Mr. Carrier about the poor outcomes and experiences that have been reported by people attempting to access mental health treatment for their loved ones at the Emergency Department (ED) and Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) over the summer.

At that meeting, Mr. Carrier agreed that the new BHU manager, once on board, would meet with NAMI members to hear their stories; which is what we had told our members we would request. He also shared with us that he was hiring a special consultant to evaluate behavioral health services at the hospital and recommend improvements.

Since that time, the consultant did interview NAMI as well as providers and other partnering organizations in Santa Fe. Also, since that time, Ms. Mary Magnusson did come on board as the new BHU Manager and Ms. Mary Bednar as the new ED Director. In September, we welcomed the new CSV leadership at our monthly Information Meeting, where several attendees were expecting to hear about behavioral health care improvements; particularly the evaluation of patients in the ED for admission to the BHU. 

Unfortunately, we did not hear about improvements.

At NAMI’s October Hospital Committee meeting, when asked about meeting with our members, the Christus staff felt that because they weren’t in their positions during the time that people reported having problems and because there weren’t any results back from the special consultant, they didn’t think the meeting would be productive.

Four months later, I’m sorry to report that we have still not heard from the Christus leadership about the results of the special consultant’s evaluation or improvements thereof. Please know that we continue to meet with CSV monthly in good faith that our advocacy will improve the access to care for all those in need and that families will be acknowledged as partners in the process. We will also continue to insist on CSV meeting with our family members as we believe that exchange is in the best interest of our community.