Member Showcase: Mary Lynn Ulrey

By Mary Lynn Ulrey, CEO, DACCO

How would you describe your job to someone who is not in your line of work?

Although many people experience behavioral health issues among family or friends, it is foreign territory to discuss it.  Besides the usual CEO duties of leading, finding more funding and communicating to staff and community, helping people understand and discuss behavioral health so it isn’t unfamiliar territory is a key role.  So many don’t know how to put issues into words or into perspective.  I spend hours on the phone with community contacts and family members helping them understand the need and methodology for treatment, access and levels of care including Marchman Act options.

How did you get started in your profession?

I am a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner so education prepared me for a role in Behavioral Health.

What are the biggest challenges in your role?

Equality in healthcare is such an uphill battle.  I have hope that one day, politicians and healthcare plan leaders will understand the impact behavioral health has on all illnesses and will welcome parity for this field of healthcare.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I have the incredible experience of working with a smart and talented Board of Trustees and a quality staff that is beyond reproach.  They make my job so much easier!  My biggest reward is running into family members and people in the community that have received or need our help.  Being the answer to someone’s prayers is a very special place to be!

What is your hope for the future of health care in Florida?

My hope is that Behavioral health will eventually take its place in hospital care and community care as a key to treatment of all diseases and parity becomes a reality.  Rehab for orthopedics is paid for in a rehab center for months by insurance after a hip surgery, but rehab after detox is a denied service.  Usually the detox isn’t paid for either.  This just has to change!

What are your favorite hobbies?

The mountains with my husband and spending time with my grandchildren are tops on my list.  I enjoy duplicate bridge with friends.