Durango, COLO. – After a lengthy due diligence process, months of planning, and close collaboration with State agencies, Axis Health System (Axis) and The Center for Mental Health (The Center) have completed a merger of the two organizations. The Center, which has locations in Montrose, Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, San Miguel, and Ouray counties, will now operate as Axis Health System (Axis) with no disruption to services in these counties. Prior to the merger, Axis served La Plata, San Juan, Dolores, Archuleta, and Montezuma counties. Post-merger, Axis has more than 400 staff in the combined 11 counties and is projected to serve over 18,000 people across the region. Axis will remain headquartered in Durango, CO.

The merger will better support the service continuum across the larger region and be positioned to respond more effectively to the State of Colorado’s healthcare access and outcome goals. “We believe we can leverage the larger staff and technology to have a greater impact on our patients’ health and quality of life.  The merger creates the opportunity to work within our communities with different resources while continuing to look for creative solutions and partnerships to close gaps,” said Shelly J. Spalding, the former CEO of the Center now serving as Axis’s President.

The organization and its newly established leadership team are no strangers to being “first” in exploring new healthcare territory. Axis is the first and only combined Community Health Center and Community Mental Health Center in Colorado, which is important as the healthcare industry shifts its focus to treating the whole person.  In southwest Colorado, Axis currently provides integrated care services that combine primary care, pharmacy, and oral health services, in addition to behavioral health.  Shelly Burke, the CEO of Axis, will continue in the role of CEO for the merged organization.

Both Ms. Spalding and Ms. Burke have extensive leadership experience in healthcare organizations, and the two have worked closely for many years as partner organizations. “Recognizing that healthcare delivery has to evolve with the changing needs of the industry and our communities, this merger allows us to come together to build a stronger, more resilient healthcare system. Our mission is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our patients.  and scale is one tool we can use to continue to advance affordable, accessible quality care,” said Shelly Burke.

The Axis board now comprises members from both organizations’ respective boards, bringing an array of experience and a broad understanding of the combined service area. Current patients will not see any disruption in their care or changes to their preferred clinic location because of this merger. For more information and Frequently Asked Questions, visit the Axis Health System website at www.axishealthsystem.org