Professionals hear Gracepoint presentation
JOE SEELIGAVON PARK - Substance abuse, mental illness and developmental disabilities are serious issues that often require professional attention, proper treatment or continued care.
Published: July 31, 2012
Published: July 31, 2012
Tri-County Human Services Inc. has helped provide mental health and substance abuse services to thousands of people at its 19 locations in Highlands, Hardee and Polk counties for the past 38 years. Last year it served 4,900 adults and 550 children.
Tri-County and three other regional providers, Mental Health Care Inc. (Hillsborough/Pasco counties), Personal Enrichment through Mental Health Services Inc. (Pinellas County) and the Agency for Community Treatment Services Inc. (Hillsborough, Pasco and Broward counties), recently announced an intended merger to form Gracepoint, to enhance services in a changing healthcare environment.
The agencies' four CEOs met Monday at a Town Hall meeting at Tri-County's facility on the South Florida State College campus with representatives of law enforcement, mental healthcare and medical professionals to discuss plans.
But, it's not a marriage yet, stressed Robert Rihn, the CEO of Tri-County Human Services on Monday. It's more like an engagement, he said.
"During this period of time we're finding out how deep this engagement, which will result in a marriage, will go," he said, speaking metaphorically. "We were dating a few months ago and kind of liked what we saw. We're engaged now and we're moving forward."
There is a letter of intent. Rihn said they were in a due diligence process. They expect to announce the results in November.
tend to reward larger and stronger organizations, explained Joseph F. Rutherford, CEO of Mental Health Care Inc. "This merger allows Gracepoint to continue its specialty focus in behavioral health, substance abuse and developmental disabilities to reap those rewards," he said in a press release. Rutherford said Monday the Florida Department of Children and Families plans to gain efficiency in its operations by picking providers that are large and offer a broad spectrum of services to children and adults. The agency's preferred providers will lower their administrative costs to 10 percent, he said, adding they will meet those qualifications. Under the merger, Rutherford would become the CEO of Gracepoint. Rihn would become the president and CEO for Community Integration at Gracepoint. Richard E. Brown, the CEO of the Agency for Community Treatment Services Inc. would be the president and chief administrative officer for Gracepoint. Thomas Wedekind, the CEO of Personal Enrichment, would become the CEO for medical services at Gracepoint. make it possible for people to find the right treatment as close to home or work as possible, Wedekind said. Gaye Williams, CEO of Central Florida Health Care Inc., said it was refreshing to hear they had come up with an integrated healthcare delivery system. She asked how people would be referred to Gracepoint for a seamless transition. Brown said there is a lot of refinement that needs to be done. Rihn said years ago merging these agencies would have hit a barrier, but a new age of communication, software and technology has made it possible. The CEOs would report to a board of directors made up of an equal number of board members from each founding agency, which are all not-for-profit. Gracepoint will have nearly 1,369 employees in 69 locations, with 87 treatment programs and a total of 166 crisis center beds; 134 for adults and 32 for children. It will have 65 detoxification unit beds for addiction; 51 for adults and 14 for children. In 2011-12, combined they cared for 20,554 clients who were indigent or funded by DCF, and absorbed $1.1 million in bad debts from people who could not pay. It estimates it would care for about 30,000 adults and 14,000 children per year. "I'm really excited about it," said Barbara Cook on Monday. She is executive director of New Concepts by Visions Inc., which serves individuals with disabilities and is on the Tri-County board. "This is really going to enhance our community." email@example.com (863) 386-5834