Broadstep Behavioral Health, serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and severe persistent mental illness (SPMI), acquired Bethesda Lutheran Communities’ residential and support programs in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Broadstep is a portfolio company of Bain Capital’s Double Impact fund.
“We are pleased to welcome Bethesda team members and the individuals they serve into the Broadstep family,” said Lynn Mason, Broadstep’s President and CEO. “Together, we look forward to addressing the many challenges facing behavioral healthcare and continuing to improve the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities – a mission established by Bethesda almost 120-years ago.”
Bethesda Lutheran Communities (BLC) provides services and support for those diagnosed with I/DD through community-based homes, day programs, at-home life skills development, job placement, and behavioral support. By acquiring BLC homes in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, Broadstep continues its expansion of residential services in the Midwest, following on the heels of the acquisition of Good Hope Manor in Wisconsin in December.
The Case for Inclusion, released annually by the Ancor Foundation and United Cerebral Palsy, reveals a waiting list for housing and services of more than 26,000 people in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin – and more than 470,000 people nationwide. Rising costs, low medical reimbursements, reduced revenue from other sources, and the COVID-19 pandemic have adversely impacted programs for individuals with I/DD.
According to a report by the KUNI Foundation published by Spectrum Life Magazine, “People with intellectual and developmental disabilities face a housing crisis.” Supply is not meeting demand in the United States.
“There are so many individuals that need help,” said Mason, named President and CEO of Broadstep in 2019. “Behavioral health is still a segment of the population that is largely forgotten. That’s not where they should be. Individuals with low IQs are not only challenged with their learning disability, many also struggle with behavioral health disorders that have never been addressed. At Broadstep, I believe we can build the right continuum of care and align with great community partners, health systems, and payers to help address these needs.”
According to Dr. Scott Huntington, Ph.D., Broadstep’s Chief Clinical Officer and former corrections system psychologist, undiagnosed and untreated behavioral health disabilities weigh heavily on the judicial system, with many individuals in prison. “Putting their quality of life in jail aside for a moment, the cost to keep and treat individuals in prison is three times the amount of those not incarcerated. This person, this child, this adult, is struggling, and we believe we have the opportunity within this healthcare system and with our partners to tackle these challenges. We want to make sure they can live a good quality, productive life and be an additive back to their communities.”
When access to care is provided to this population, the positive impact is undeniable. According to a recent study by the American Journal on Public Health, Americans living with disabilities with no home support system receive less preventive care, have a higher incidence of chronic conditions, and visit the hospital and emergency department more often — leading to much higher health care spending than for the average adult.