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Behavioral Health


Kelly Jepson

Advancing the Behavioral Health Sector: Kelly Jepson

August 22, 2022

What is your title and role?

I’m the Director of Government Relations and have been with BrightSpring Health Services for about four years.

Describe your professional background.

I came to the company with a policy background. I got my start working for Denver’s City Council and I found a love for public policy there. I’ve worked in long-term care for about nine years and approach my work in the I/DD field like I do with home and community-based health services in general. It’s about the people we serve and fighting for quality care and what staffs need to feel empowered, supported, and valued for the important work that they do.

I value the opportunity this role has given me to learn about I/DD field and the challenges of someone who is experiencing I/DD. Seeing the services and how critical the support is for these individuals has been life-changing for me.

What drives you and does your work make an impact?

A lot of people don’t know or understand the I/DD field in general if they haven’t had exposure to the services. Our team elevates the I/DD care system and puts it in front of policymakers. One of the issues with policy is that you sometimes have policymakers who are new to healthcare. So my role is to be a vocal advocate for staff, clients, and what I/DD providers need to shore up our workforce and services to ensure the resources are available to provide the highest quality care.

In your role, how are you advocating for agencies both at the national and local level?

The biggest way we advocate is by educating and providing visibility into the need for services to help assist individuals with I/DD in living their daily lives. People who access these services have chronic and sometimes complex care needs that aren’t resolved in a single year or with a lump sum of funds but, rather, their needs are ongoing throughout the life cycle. We’re continually educating on how ongoing support through Medicaid or other publicly funded services are critical for folks who may not have family members or another means of accessing a support system or the care they need.

In these situations, when an individual needs care and can’t access it, resources must be injected into the overall healthcare system to ensure that care is available and provided. It’s a continuous loop of education. Legislatures are often the holder of Medicaid funding at the state level, and there’s a lot of turnover as policymakers come and go, so the need to elevate I/DD to the forefront as a critical policy issue is a constant.

What sets us apart from our competitors?

The first is that Pharmacy Alternatives, and long-term care pharmacy in general, is unique from retail pharmacy. Often times, long-term care pharmacy gets lumped in with policy discussions around regulating retail pharmacy. So it’s important that we always make the distinction between long-term care pharmacies who fill ongoing, long-term care drug needs of individuals with chronic conditions and other actors in the pharmacy chain who contribute to drug pricing or who work in the retail pharmacy space.

Second, we’re responsible for providing drugs for people with both short-term and chronic or lifelong conditions as opposed to a one-time treatment or a condition that can be resolved in a short timeframe. Ensuring consistent access to appropriate medications is an important aspect of care that helps folks with I/DD remain healthier, longer. Pharmacy Alternatives is a reliable partner to the facilities and individuals that we serve, offering consistency in drug provision and delivery over the long term.

What would you want to hear a provider agency say about us?

I always go back to the word reliable because it’s critical to meet that description when providing any kind of care or service in this field. I want providers to feel they get what they need when they need it when they work with us. And I’d like them to say that we have excellent customer service. Both of these things help ensure people get the right care at the right time and help us grow our footprint and the number of folks that we serve. When I hear agencies say we deliver in that way, I’m honored and proud that’s part of what we offer to the long-term care system for individuals with I/DD.