BOT Regular Monthly Meeting: April 21, 2022

BOT Regular Monthly Meeting: April 21, 2022

County Commissioner Chambers/ Zoom
April 21, 2022 @ 4:00 PM

TRUSTEES: Allen Jones Kerry Bartlett
Marybeth Cunningham

ABSENT: Ann Marie McCrystal Barb Bodnar

STAFF: Kate Voss Jennifer Frederick
Jennifer Peshke, Esq. Ann Marie Suriano
Dawn Carboni

ZOOM: Karen Deigl Michelle Genz
Sabby Hightower Anne Posey
Lyn Dekarin Jad Shalhoub

ATTENDEES: Brett Hall Jim Starr
Pedro Bernabe Misty Keen
Samantha Messina Vicki Soule
Cathy Whitaker Robin Curby

Convene Meeting – Marybeth Cunningham, Chair

Ms. Cunningham convened the regular monthly meeting of the IRCHD at 4:00 PM by welcoming those in attendance and via Zoom. Mrs. Cunningham stated there was a change to this evening’s agenda due to the lack of a physical quorum. Therefore, the consent agenda which is normally approved at this meeting was approved yesterday at the Chairman’s meeting. Additionally, the approval of the strategic plan will take place next month, and tonight will be a presentation only of the same. Pastor Benny Rhyant of New Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, provided the invocation and Ms. Bartlett led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Chairmans Report- Marybeth Cunningham, Chair

Ms. Cunningham addressed the board and stated that the funded agencies presenting tonight all provide services to support mental health. Given the latest tragic incidences that have taken place in Indian River County regarding mental health, the District recognizes that this is a growing problem not only for the community but nationally as well. The District will continue to focus efforts to support mental health services and support within Indian River County, and if someone is in need of support, there are many options available locally.

District Counsel Report – Jennifer Peshke, Esq.

Ms. Peshke provided her report and stated that this has again been a busy month concerning District matters. She stated that the matter with the CCIRH and the VNA lease agreement is still pending, but provided a detailed report to the Trustees on the procedure of selling any District surplus property. She is following the current legislative session with focus on matters pertaining to Special Districts, Sunshine Law, and the public records act. She met with Mrs. Suriano to discuss the proposed cell tower and they have decided to table that matter for the time being. Additionally, the District has begun its fiscal year 22-23 budget cycle and she will be participating in that process, and available to the board for any questions. Lastly, there is still a matter pending with the county concerning a potential county ordinance change regarding stormwater retention which may impact the IRC floodplain and stormwater code change, as it relates to the property the Hospital District owns with regard to the hospital campus.

Financial Statement Review- Allen Jones, Treasurer

Mr. Jones stated that the District remains in sound financial condition. As of March 31st, the District had deposit and investments totaling $13 million. Budgeted expenses anticipated between now and fiscal year end are approximately $7 million, and an estimated $700,000 in additional tax revenue will likely be collected. Last month the District Trustees agreed to further invest its excess revenues and chose to open an account with Treasury Direct so that they could directly invest available cash in US treasury notes and bills. After much delay, not at the fault of the District, Mrs. Suriano was able to open the account and invest a nominal amount of funds as a test run. Before opening the Treasury Direct account there were discussions had with WaterWalker about the same strategy of investing excess funds. They endorsed the strategy that was proposed however the management fee for overseeing this process was estimated to cost $20,000, plus custodial fee for holding the securities. Given that information, the District decided to invest with Treasury Direct instead. He gave credit to Mrs. Suriano for facilitating the process and for pushing to have the account opening expedited.

Executive Director Report- Ann Marie Suriano, Executive Director

Mrs. Suriano stated she prepared a written report which was included with the meeting packet materials for the Trustees’ review. She stated that earlier in the week she and Mrs. Cunningham were asked by a representative from the Substance Awareness Center to conduct a stakeholder interview for input from on their strategic plan. Additionally, she will be participating in the Senior Collaboratives strategic planning session, as she is a member of that board. She then informed the Trustees that next week she will be meeting with Vicki Soule and Robi Robinson to discuss future collaborative efforts between We Care and TCCH. Further, she stated that she was just introduced to the Executive Round Table group of Indian River County and will now participate in their meetings moving forward. Lastly, she has been working collaboratively with other community mental health leaders in addressing the issues surrounding Baker Act intakes at the emergency department. They are working to put in place immediate measures that would make the process much safer for the patients and the facility. This is an on-going effort and she will update the Trustees on its progress as they move forward.

Funded Agencies Semi Annual Reports-
The Mental Health Collaborative- Brett Hall, Executive Director

Mr. Hall addressed the board and began by recognizing Mrs. Suriano for her leadership in the improvement of dealing with the mental health crisis in Indian River County. Through her efforts, she pulled community leaders together to work on meaningful and permanent solutions to prevent something like that from happening again. Also, the Collaborative just completed its first Audit with Ms. Carboni and things went very smoothly, and he looks forward to seeing her report when it becomes available. He then commended the Trustees on the new presentation format for funded agencies which has the agencies answer three questions pertaining to their organization, rather than reviewing their semi-annual report. He discussed what challenges have arisen over the last 6 months which included the demand for therapy appointments. He explained that more and more people are seeking therapy services, but there are not enough clinicians to meet the demand. They are working on efforts to find temporary solutions to provide services to those waiting for appointments. There is also the issue of affordable housing which is affecting many in the community and he participates on a task force that has been formed to help address this issue. They are also seeing a need for mental health services after hours and on weekends. For future development, Mr. Halls goal would be to make Vero Beach a destination area for continuing education classes for clinicians, which would hopefully recruit those therapists to eventually stay in the area. Additionally, there is an opportunity to develop a student training program here. Lastly, he stated that the Collaboratives Mental Health Awareness campaign is being developed and will have a soft launch in September followed by a full launch in October.

New Horizons- Robin Curby, CIO

Ms. Curby addressed the board and introduced Thresa Gillet, CFO and Cathy Whitaker Finance Manager, who were also present for today’s discussion. She stated that New Horizons has undergone many organizational changes over the last serval years and for a period of time the organization was struggling financially. One of the biggest challenges they have faced is retaining employees and there has been a high employee turnover rate experienced for various reasons. Therefore, their main focus was to work on requiring well qualified employees and setting goals to achieve the same. They implemented satisfaction surveys and used the data from those to help shape a new employee benefits package. They also provided financial incentives for referrals who were hired as full-time employees. Additionally, she stated that after some diligent work, the agency is now financially solvent. Another positive improvement was the implementation of a new EHR system. They have also hired a LPRN and a therapist, who will be able to treat children and adult patients at the Vero outpatient office. She then discussed some emerging issues that the agency and its clients have been facing which included finding affordable housing and the opioid crisis. Lastly, over the next five years New Horizons is looking to expand its services while maintaining qualified and supportive staff.

Phoenix Rising Wellness Center- Pedro Bernabe, CEO

Mr. Bernabe stated that over the past 6 months, one of the challenges they encountered was their attempts to secure a detox center. While they were able to locate a few properties, the challenge lies within zoning requirements within city. The only area within Vero Beach that is zoned for a detox center is located near the hospital and there is no property available at this time. Therefore, they have had to shift their focus from that project, to other areas of support for the community. He then explained that Phoenix Rising is continuing to apply to become a preferred provider for additional insurance carriers. He stated that many of the clients who seek treatment are insured but the center is not credentialed through those insurance companies and are out of network. Next, he discussed the issue of pregnant women who are presenting with substance abuse issues and are unable to afford necessities for their child once it is born. He stated that he has been working with local agencies to provide support to those women. They are also working to obtain more affordable prescriptions for their clients as well. They have partnered with the Health Department who supplies a voucher but are looking to utilize other resources as well. Moving forward they hope to increase their client capacity and open a second center, as well as a detox center. They also have a goal of becoming Medicaid and Medicare credentialed. Mr. Jones stated that he sees the center is monitoring sobriety lengths for clients for up to 120 days. He asked if they collected data past that period, up to a year or more. Mr. Bernabe stated that it can be difficult to engage the clients once they have completed the program and others also relapse. He stated that they do have further data and will work with Mrs. Frederick to provide the same to the Trustees for review.

Presentation of Strategic Plan- Jim Starr

Mr. Starr addressed the board and stated that he is here to present the work of the Trustees and staff over the last 6 months in creating the District’s Strategic Plan. He provided a brief review of the process and the purpose of organizations having a strategic plan. The process began back in October, with a detailed assessment of the District and stakeholder engagement and input. Next, there was a Trustees retreat and review and discussion of assessment findings. Then a strategic planning committee was formed and they began to work on the draft mission and vision statements, along with the initial strategic priorities. The next step was finalizing the mission, vision, and strategic priorities. Additionally, key performance indicators were developed to support the strategic priorities. Lastly in the process, an action plan was created to help facilitate the work of the strategic plan. He reviewed the areas of the plan in detail with the Trustees and stated that he will continue to work with Mrs. Suriano on the action plan in the next coming months. Mr. Starr ended his presentation by discussing the next steps with the Trustees and staff will take in executing the plan.