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Director of Operations
WICHE Department: 

Ken Cole is the Director of Operations for the WICHE Mental Health Program and provides consultation and technical assistance to WICHE member states. Mr. Cole has more than 25 years of experience in public sector fiscal and policy analysis of publicly funded programs, including acute and behavioral health programs. Prior to joining WICHE, Mr. Cole served as Deputy Director of the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) and Division Director of the OBH Mental Health Institutes. Mr. Cole managed both Colorado state psychiatric hospitals from 2007 through 2012 and led the implementation of Lean process improvement methodologies, resulting in improved outcomes for patients. In 2012, with Colorado’s Mental Health Commissioner, Mr. Cole led the development of a $30 million plan, funded by the Colorado Legislature, to strengthen Colorado’s mental health care. Mr. Cole's lengthy tenure with OBH, also included serving as Interim Director, Deputy Director, Chief Financial Officer and Compliance Officer. This OBH experience included regular and detailed involvement in the management and oversight of Colorado's behavioral health care programs and services as well as fiscal management for Colorado’s Medicaid Mental Health Capitation program. Prior to 2001, Mr. Cole was the Business Manager for the Colorado Division of State and Veterans Nursing Homes. Mr. Cole began his public sector work in 1990 at the Colorado Legislative Council and then worked for the Colorado Joint Budget Committee from 1994 to 1996.