Spokane Journal of Business

Ellie Mental Health franchise launches in Cd’A

New company hopes to attract more therapists to North Idaho market

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Franchisees Jamie and Melissa Major have brought Ellie Mental Health to Coeur d’Alene. 

The new mental health outpatient clinic, Ellie Mental Health of North Idaho, is one of more than 300 franchises the St. Paul, Minnesota-based franchising company, Ellie Mental Health PLLP, has under contract.

The new Ellie Mental Health office will be located in the new CornerStone building, at 1579 W. Riverstone Drive, in the Riverstone Development northwest of downtown Coeur d’Alene. Construction of the 11-office space is expected to wrap up later this month, and Ellie plans to switch from virtual to in-person sessions the first week of April.

The clinic will operate under “a clinician-first model” approach, giving therapists a high degree of control over how they practice, says Jamie Major.

Major says mental health therapists often have two choices: Work for an agency or nonprofit with high caseloads and low flexibility with schedules and clientele; or open an independent clinic and deal with all the costs and administrative duties, including billing, insurance, scheduling, accounting, marketing, and rent.

“Ellie sits right in the middle there, where … (clinicians) pick and choose their clients, they pick and choose their schedule, they get paid on a commission base, and the required caseload is significantly less,” Major says. “So, they get all the flexibility of owning their own practices, yet without the bureaucracy of owning their own practice.”

Julie Krapfl, clinical director of the Coeur d’Alene clinic, says the clinician-first model also will be beneficial for clients.

“From a client perspective, what’s unique about Ellie is that they’re very intentional about the matching of the client and the clinician,” she says.

Krapfl says Ellie has developed an application that has all of the clinicians’ information, including their specialties, the types of modalities they use, and the types of diagnoses or age ranges they work with, so that clients can be matched with a therapist that best suits their needs.

“The clients that we see are going to be largely determined by the types of clinicians that we employ,” Krapfl says. “My goal in hiring is to have a large variety of therapists with various backgrounds and specialties.”

The North Idaho clinic has five mental health clinicians and is looking to hire more. Major says the initial goal is to have 10 clinicians on staff.

He says he expects the clinic will see about 250 patients per month when fully staffed.

Major says Ellie wants to remove the stigma associated with counseling.

“It’s like going to the dentist,” he says. “You don’t wait until you have a toothache to go to the dentist. You get regular maintenance and stay updated.”

Dylan Harris
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Reporter Dylan Harris has worked at the Journal since 2021. Dylan, who was born and raised in Spokane, enjoys watching sports, cooking, and spending time with his family.

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