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2007 Behavioral Health Champion: Ann Borders

November 1, 2007
by root
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Photographer: Mike Stutler

Position: President and CEO

Organization: Cummins Behavioral Health Systems, Inc.

Service area: Eight counties in Central and West-Central Indiana

Main services: Continuum of behavioral healthcare (mental health, addiction, and dual-diagnosis services in outpatient and residential settings) for all ages

Number of staff: 204

Most vivid behavioral healthcare memory: "Any of Cummins' consumer awards banquets would provide memories to last a lifetime. Nominees arrive in police-escorted limousines, enter via red carpet, and are honored for their achievements. Their recovery journeys have inspired us, have created new understanding within our communities, and have helped us to imagine myriad new possibilities."

Personal mission statement: "My personal mission is to work with and through others to improve the quality of life of persons affected by behavioral health disorders. I believe that we are here to communicate the hope of recovery and to continuously seek ways to optimize the potential that exists with individuals and groups."


"How many professions allow so many opportunities to contribute, to learn, to be challenged, to be inspired? I entered the behavioral health field in 1976 and, looking back over the past 31 years, I can't think of a single inpatient or outpatient work setting where there weren't daily opportunities to make a difference.

"I have served as president and CEO of Cummins Behavioral Health Systems, Inc., since 1993. Traditionally the smallest community mental health center in Indiana, Cummins launched an expansion campaign in the mid-1990s that established offices in six additional counties. The 'new' eight-county organization is now among Indiana's larger providers. Last year Cummins served 9,247 individuals from 64% of the state's counties—nearly double the number served 6 years ago and five times more than were served 12 years earlier. Budget size increased approximately 600% during that 12-year period.

"Cummins has been involved in a number of national initiatives to demonstrate clinical and administrative best practices, and in 2007 Cummins was awarded first place in the annual Negley Awards for Excellence in Risk Management.

"Our most important strategy, bar none, is the inclusion of consumers, employees, and key constituencies in planning, direction setting, and managing outcomes. Community partners and a Consumer Advisory Board provide policy and planning advice to Cummins' board and staff. Employee teams manage their own business units through a three-stage operations review process developed by Cummins. Best Practice Councils are being formed to enable all staff to learn about and implement new clinical and administrative practices.

"These approaches have energized our staff and have nurtured a passion for exceptional responsiveness to the needs of our customers and our organization. Being a part of these collaborative efforts has been the most fulfilling aspect of my career."

The 2007 Behavioral Health Champion Awards are sponsored by Netsmart Technologies.

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