Comprehensive Strategy for SUD Programming

Southern Ute Indian Tribe


The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is located in southwest Colorado. The tribe has approximately 1,500 members, with 1,000 residing on the reservation. After an inpatient substance-use disorder (SUD) program on the reservation closed, the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes began exploring options for community-based SUD programming, using funds made available through recent opioid settlements.


The tribe faced numerous challenges, including a lack of culturally relevant treatment options, a 90-day Medicaid waiting period for inpatient rehab in Colorado, and a lack of Medicaid-accepting treatment options in their area.


The Southern Ute Indian Tribe hired KAI to develop a comprehensive strategy for community-based SUD programming. KAI conducted an exhaustive needs assessment which included interviews with key stakeholders, a community gathering with tribal members, and a review of epidemiological data. To supplement the needs assessment, KAI produced a facilities planning report, providing a rough estimate of construction costs, operating costs, staffing structures for high-priority projects, demand forecasting, revenue projections, and cash flow analyses. KAI then facilitated a strategic planning retreat with leadership from diverse tribal programs, tribal council leaders, and community members to build consensus around a vision, strategy, and plan of action.


The Southern Ute Tribal Council approved a comprehensive SUD plan, called the Healing Village, that will include detox, inpatient rehab, intensive outpatient, sober living, and long-term transitional housing.