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CEO Appointed Board Chair of Northwinds IPA


James Button, President & CEO of Citizen Advocates, has been named as the newest Board Chair for Northwinds IPA, a partnership of regional healthcare providers dedicated to advancing collaborative care and integration of behavioral health, primary care and social services.

James Button, President & CEO of Citizen Advocates

“I’m deeply grateful to the Northwinds membership and fellow board members for their support and confidence in me for this position of significant responsibility,” said Mr. Button. “As healthcare providers, we recognize there are a multitude of challenges in our region that influence health outcomes. However, they are not insurmountable and with the formation of Northwinds in 2017, we have built a regional collective of health and human services organizations united around the shared goal of advancing high-quality care that is widely accessible, convenient and affordable for all.”

Northwinds was established to improve health outcomes through enhanced information sharing and coordination of services on a local and regional level. As a membership-based organization, Northwinds is comprised of 11 behavioral health and social determinant of health providers who collectively serve 20,000 people across eight counties in the North Country.   The affiliation also facilitates contracting with health insurance companies for greater parity and stronger rates of reimbursement.  

The combined goal of these efforts is to transition to a value-based payment system that incentivizes quality of care instead of the volume of services provided. Northwinds will achieve this transformation by improving the coordination and delivery of behavioral health services, in addition to the integration of primary care, social services and hospital providers.

As Chair, Mr. Button, will facilitate board meetings, and fulfill a key leadership role responsible for keeping the organization mission-focused through effective board governance.  There are a total of five members on the Northwinds board who each serve a two-year term.

“Care integration and service insourcing across networks are critical parts of the future of rural healthcare,” said Enrico Cullen, Executive Director of Northwinds. “With thoughtful, team-based approaches to quality and costs, we can improve the lives of the people of the North Country. James embodies that shared vision. We are fortunate to have his leadership as Board Chair.” 

Northwinds originally formed in 2017 as part of a Behavioral Health Care Collaborative (BHCC) grant funded through the New York State Office for Mental Health and Office of Addiction Services and Supports to prepare behavioral health providers for Value Based Payment (VBP) reform.