Hometown: Rochester, Pennsylvania
Family: My wife is a nurse practitioner and we have two grown children.
Hobbies: Cooking and sports are my favorite activities to unwind. My teams are the ones I grew up watching – the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins. Living in Kentucky means horse racing and basketball have become new interests.
Currently Reading: I just finished an article in the Harvard Business Review, “The Age of Continuous Connection” which address the 24/7 nature of customer service today.
Favorite Vacation: Any place where there is water and sun.
Medical News: How did you end up being president and CEO of Bluegrass.org?
Paul Beatrice: I grew up in a family where a moral philosophy of helping others was emphasized throughout my childhood. The focus of my professional life mirrors the responsibility I feel personally for the health and well-being of others. I’ve enjoyed a 35-year career in the behavioral health field and for the past five years I’ve called Lexington and Bluegrass.org home.
MN: So, what’s it like?
PB: Fast-paced. The landscape in behavioral health is constantly shifting requiring our entire team to adjust in multiple ways to meet the needs of our clients and to sustain our mission to serve those with limited means. Community mental health is a challenging environment and throughout the organization we have caring professionals who are committed to making a difference in the lives of others.
MN: How has it been different that you expected?
PB: The shortage of professionals to serve our clients has been one of our biggest challenges. We need to encourage the next generation to enter the human services field. To address this shortage, we incorporated telehealth into our service delivery system and are constantly working to improve access to community mental health and substance use services.
MN: What has been the most difficult part?
PB: Many of our staff participate in the Kentucky Retirement System (KRS). We are dedicated to our staff and protecting their retirement benefits. With the organization’s contribution at 49 percent of salaries and potentially rising to 84 percent, the financial obligations mean we must be innovative while working to expand access to services for our clients.
MN: What are you most proud of accomplishing during your time at Bluegrass.org?
PB: We restructured our outpatient services to provide greater access to services closer to our rural clients. For years, most services were anchored in Lexington which limited access to services for our clients who lived in our most rural areas. We created four anchor centers in Danville, Georgetown, Richmond and Lexington with each offering a full array of services. In addition, we’ve expanded our work with intellectual and developmental disability clients to include the management of Hazelwood and Bingham Gardens, intermediate care facilities, in Louisville, in addition to Oakwood located in Somerset.
MN: If you had to choose a totally different career path what would it be?
PB: Being Italian, I love being around good food and cooking. In another life, I would be a chef or restauranteur.
MN: What advice would you give to someone just starting out trying to do what you’re doing?
PB: I would encourage those seeking leadership positions to build their soft skills. The leader of tomorrow must possess the ability to work with uncertainty, to be resilient and facilitate communication to build trust throughout the organization.
MN: If you could eliminate one of the healthcare industry’s problems overnight which would it be?
PB: For behavioral health and substance use treatment, it would be dispelling the belief that mental health is not equally important to physical health. And of course, we would always like to see more financial resources for community-based behavioral health services.
MN: Tell us about the culture you are trying to foster at Bluegrass.org.
PB: Open, cooperative, team-oriented and collaborative are key to our culture. We cannot create new programs, serve our clients better and retain top talent if we are not working collaboratively to achieve these results. We strive to foster a learning environment that builds personal growth for staff and consequently growth for the entire organization.
MN: Bluegrass.org is rebranding to New Vista. Share the factors that lead to that decision.
PB: In behavioral health, we typically haven’t focused on our brand. That is changing. Consumers want to interact with brands in healthcare like they do with retail brand such as Netflix or Amazon. We’ve spent two years, working through the process of rebranding our organization to better communicate what it is we do. New Vista is a name that says we see the good ahead for our clients. Our mission is to help children, adults and families live their best lives and New Vista is a name that projects hope and recovery. New Vista is our people. New Vista is our commitment to our clients. New Vista is our promise to the communities we serve.