EL CENTRO — After a 17-year career, Imperial County Behavioral Health Director Michael Horn has retired. During his tenure, Horn has overseen a dramatic expansion of services to the Imperial County community. When he began as director, the department had a staff of approximately 100 employees with about 1,200 patients. The department now has almost 500 employees and will see an estimated 7,000 unduplicated patients in 2016.
Under Horn’s leadership, Behavioral Health greatly expanded both the scope of the care it offers and geographic reach of its service to the community, including ensuring access in even the county’s most remote areas. The department now operates in 14 community clinics and is co-located on 18 different school campuses throughout the county. Additionally, four more community-based clinics are in development.
The commitment is reflected in the resources now dedicated to Behavioral Health, which have grown from $8 million annually to more than $60 million under Horn’s administration. The past and continued efforts are the embodiment of what has always been Horn’s main objective: ensuring all Imperial County residents have access to the best care available. Horn attributes the department’s success to his excellent staff and the support of the county Board of Supervisors, partnering agencies and the general community.
Horn began his career with the county in 1975 as an eligibility technician with the Department of Social Services. He eventually became a social worker supervisor at Social Services overseeing foster care placements and adoptions. In 1985, Horn received his master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and received his license as a psychotherapist in 1989.
Horn began his career with Imperial County Mental Health in 1987. In 1995, he was promoted to deputy director overseeing clinical services. In 1999, he was appointed by the Board of Supervisors as the director of the county’s Mental Health department. Shortly thereafter, the name of the department changed to Behavioral Health.
Horn is a life-long resident of Imperial Valley, graduating from Holtville High, Imperial Valley College and San Diego State University. He has been married to his wife, Conchita, for 38 years. Mike and Conchita have three children, Lindsay Ortega, an associate planner for the City of Anaheim, Marissa Horn, a research biologist for Ely Lilly Pharmaceuticals, and Michael Horn, a supervisor for Disability Insurance Services Corporation.