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March 31, 2017 Women in Business 2017

Beauregard turns addiction into lifelong cause

Photo | Steve Laschever

Kimberly Beauregard has been in addiction recovery for 30 years. In that time, she earned three graduate degrees and dedicated her professional life to working with mental illness and substance-abuse disorders.

Beauregard is president and CEO of InterCommunity Inc., a nonprofit community health organization that provides primary care and behavioral and addiction health services to individuals, families and communities at 10 locations in Hartford, East Hartford and Glastonbury. InterCommunity is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and has been led by Beauregard for the past 14 years.

During her tenure, Beauregard, who manages a $22 million annual budget, helped stabilize the nonprofit's finances, added new services and oversaw a merger.

Beauregard said she never really imagined serving in a leadership role in any organization or managing multi-million-dollar budgets. She worked her way up from a part-time position at Rushford Center in Meriden, while finishing her master's degree in social work, to eventually becoming director of operations. Later, she made the move to run InterCommunity, which performed 165,600 patient services in 2016.

Beauregard endured four tough years at the beginning of her tenure, when funding was an issue and going out of business was an ever-looming possibility.

“Funding has always been an issue for health-service organizations because we're not seen as businesses, we're seen as social workers,” Beauregard said. “We're all good people here but if we didn't function like a business we weren't going to be here anymore.”

Beauregard said she and her staff had to operate a lean organization and tried to be innovative and proactive with solutions. They focused on fundraising, grant-funded opportunities and making better business decisions. For example, they made investments in cell phones and laptops to make it easier for staff to do field work, and hired and retained individuals who wanted to make a difference.

They also changed the culture, accepting the need to live on lean budgets, the same way many of their clients operate.

“We felt like we couldn't fail, too many people needed help,” Beauregard said. “We didn't have a choice to fail because these people would have nowhere else to go.”

Then in 2015, Beauregard made a big move, agreeing to merge her organization with Hartford-based Alcohol and Drug Recovery Centers Inc., which created added bandwidth. The combination made sense because both organizations offered complementary programs and saved money by sharing expenses, including having one management team.

While the merger expanded InterCommunity's mental health and addiction services, it also added primary-care services, which helps address the underlying physical issues that are concurrent with mental-health issues and substance-abuse disorders, Beauregard said.

“That's the best thing for the people and the communities we serve,” Beauregard said. “Our business is taking care of the community, and now we have the full continuum of service. That is going toward our main goal of treating the whole person, who might be medicating a major depression or major mental health issue.”

Tyler Booth, InterCommunity's chief operating officer, said the nonprofit created new service delivery models that would facilitate better health outcomes, client experience, financial stability, and staff satisfaction. The most important of these changes was the creation of Help Now, which provides patients immediate access to care.  

“Improving access to care resulted in higher show rates and improved staff productivity, which in turn increased our third-party billing revenue by more than 16 times,” Booth said. “Quite simply, providing services when requested instead of asking clients to wait for weeks to get in proved to be not only good care but also good business.”

The addition of primary care made InterCommunity an integrated healthcare provider, which helped the nonprofit secure a Federally Qualified Health Center look-alike designation from the Health Resources and Services Administration in 2015.

Federally Qualified Health Center look-alikes ensure healthcare services for underserved communities and vulnerable populations, regardless of ability to pay. The designation gives InterCommunity the ability to apply for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and to purchase discounted drugs.

Beauregard also works with two boards of directors, an executive leadership team, staff, and area providers on long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies.

“We're running around all the time, there's always a lot of activity and there's stress but it's good stress, because people know we're getting stuff done,” Beauregard said. “Sometimes I do too much, and my staff will say, 'Get out of here!' I am still a very hands-on executive, people will say that.”

What legacy do you want to leave after your career is over?

What I would like to leave as a legacy is that everyone has value and should have the opportunity to grow, learn and to give back with their own skills and talents. I want everyone to know that: quality healthcare exists for all of us; having a mental illness or an addiction does not make you less deserving of obtaining the care that you need; recovery is possible … I am living proof.

What are your keys to maintaining business success?

Our clients motivate me every day. They are the reason we at InterCommunity find ways to provide quality, innovative, integrative care each and every day. I knew from the first day of my first job as a social worker that this was my calling to serve the underserved. I am grateful every day that I can lead an amazing organization like InterCommunity in responding and attending to the health needs of so many in our community and seeing positive results!

What are your keys to maintaining work/life balance?

I give credit to the dedicated, highly capable staff at InterCommunity for the opportunity to balance my work and home life. I could not be surrounded by more experienced, passionate professionals than the ones who work with me. As any other successful business woman can understand, I am a workaholic at times, but with daily reminders of the importance of a healthy mind and healthy body, I take breaks when needed.

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