Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare CEO makes leadership changes

Portland Business Journal – May 8, 2008

Derald Walker, named CEO of the mental health service agency Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare last week, has wasted no time in making changes to senior leadership there.

Barb Seatter, who until recently had been vice president of Clinical Services, was promoted to the position of chief clinical officer, effective Thursday. All clinical directors at Cascadia now report to Seatter, who reports to Walker.

Jeff Poulin, who lead Cascadia’s health information department for 15 years, will end his career there May 9. John Medway was named Cascadia’s new IT director, reporting to Chief Financial Officer Chip Burczak. The chief operating officer position, now vacant, was eliminated.

The leadership changes come at a time of financial crisis for the state’s largest mental health agency, which sought emergency dollars from the county last week to stay afloat. Longtime CEO Leslie Ford stepped down as chief executive of Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare on April 24.

Cascadia has recently struggled as it made major investments in new electronic business and billing systems, including a comprehensive electronic medical records system, while continuing to provide client services in an environment with constantly changing reimbursement models. Cascadia, which employs more than 1,000 people, provides services in Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Marion and Lane counties.

Portland-based Cascadia in December was asked to repay $2.7 million in overpayments it received from Medicaid in the wake of a steep drop in Oregon Health Plan coverage. It is one of at least a half-dozen organizations facing calls to repay state Medicaid dollars due to overbilling.

Cascadia ended its last fiscal year with a budget of $56 million, and earnings of $250,000, after serving about 23,000 clients. It has virtually no cash reserves.