Our Story

On March 4, 2011, a small group of independent clinicians from Albuquerque and Santa Fe gathered around a speaker phone to listen to Bill Wade, our first consultant and mentor, talk about how we could, and should, organize as a group of Behavioral Health Providers in New Mexico.

Organize? We thought antitrust laws prohibited us from coming together as a group!

We learned how we could utilize a “messenger” to discuss contracting with insurance companies and avoid antitrust violations. All the ideas and words were completely new to us. We had to begin to learn about this process as if we were learning a foreign language and customs. At first, there wasn’t much energy from the clinicians around organizing.

Then, insurance companies began cutting reimbursements, the new Affordable Healthcare Act was passed, and independent providers started getting more interested. On February 7, 2012, another small group of us invited Mr. Wade to come to NM to meet with us. That initial group became the Steering Committee for what is now known as the Southwest Behavioral Health Independent Practice Association.

The first couple of years we worked hard setting up our organization; incorporating, gathering membership, hiring administrative staff, working with our messenger to set up IPA contracts with insurance companies, providing timely, useful continuing education, developing working relationships with insurance companies around mutual understanding of contracts and services, and developing networking opportunities for our growing membership. We are no longer isolated, uninformed and without resources.

We have found strength and power in numbers. We have found doors opening where we had before seen only walls.