Friday, December 15, 2017
Health

Four mental and behavioral health care providers merge

Four regional nonprofits are merging to create the largest provider of behavioral health services in the greater Tampa Bay area.

The combined entity will use the name Gracepoint, a moniker that debuted in January with a counseling center in Wesley Chapel opened under the auspices of one of the four companies involved in the merger: Mental Health Care Inc., or MHC.

Joining MHC (which serves Hillsborough and Pasco counties) will be Personal Enrichment through Mental Health Services (Pinellas County); Agency for Community Treatment Services Inc. (Hillsborough, Pasco and Broward counties); and Tri-County Human Services Inc. (Polk, Highland and Hardee counties).

"Changes in health care reward larger and stronger organizations. This merger allows Gracepoint to continue its specialty focus in behavioral health, substance abuse and developmental disabilities and reap those rewards," said MHC chief executive officer Joseph Rutherford, who is to become CEO of the combined company.

The union was triggered by a mandate from the Florida Department of Children and Families, which "made it clear" it wants to improve efficiencies by spending tax dollars on providers that can offer a broad spectrum of services, Rutherford said.

The expanded Gracepoint will have combined annual revenues of $83 million and nearly 1,400 employees, including 38 psychiatrists and four medical doctors. Other numbers of note: It will offer 87 treatment programs in 69 locations, with 166 crisis center beds and 65 detox beds.

It expects to serve about 20,000 adults and 14,000 children each year.

The four-in-one combination, leaders say, will improve services to depressed, psychotic or addicted children and adults seeking help.

"This will allow our employees, instead of being generalists, to specialize in the areas they want to specialize in," said Karen Mess Frashier, executive vice president of the Mental Health Care Foundation, which will morph into the Gracepoint Foundation.

The "merger of equals" is expected to be finalized in October.

Jeff Harrington can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Shrieks of laughter echoed off the walls of the hospital as Thunder the mini pig flopped onto his side and the children huddled around him, scratching his pink, hairy belly. He and his wet-nosed partner, Bolt, drew patients in wheelchairs and bandage...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Today is the day that open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act will close for most people. But those affected by the slew of hurricanes that pummelled Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and other states earlier this year can take advantage of a two-week ...
Published: 12/15/17
City Council sinks deal to alter ownership of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg

City Council sinks deal to alter ownership of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — After months of tense negotiations and weeks of political impasse, the City Council on Thursday derailed a proposal that would have changed the ownership structure of the city’s largest hospital, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.The 5-...
Published: 12/14/17
Florida hospitals call for more funding in effort to address looming doctor shortage

Florida hospitals call for more funding in effort to address looming doctor shortage

The number of doctors practicing in Florida has not kept up with the state’s surging population growth, and more money is needed to recruit and keep them here, hospital leaders said Wednesday.The shortage is particularly acute in four speciality area...
Published: 12/13/17
An overlooked epidemic: Older Americans taking too many unneeded drugs

An overlooked epidemic: Older Americans taking too many unneeded drugs

Consider it America’s other prescription drug epidemic.For decades, experts have warned that older Americans are taking too many unnecessary drugs, often prescribed by multiple doctors, for dubious or unknown reasons. Researchers estimate that 25 per...
Published: 12/13/17
How is Florida’s health? Not so great, report says

How is Florida’s health? Not so great, report says

Florida slightly improved its national standing this year, rising from 36th to 32nd overall in the annual America’s Health Rankings report. But the takeaway for the nation’s third-largest state is that it has a long way to go in many important health...
Published: 12/12/17
Driven by demand, Planned Parenthood opens second clinic in Tampa

Driven by demand, Planned Parenthood opens second clinic in Tampa

The floor-to-ceiling glass windows are heavily tinted and the inside is hidden behind rows of curtains. Security cameras monitor every corner, and only patients with an appointment and valid identification can pass through the intentionally cramped e...
Published: 12/12/17
Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Jimmy Kimmel was absent from his ABC late-night show last week while his 8-month-old son, Billy, recovered from his second heart surgery. Ever since Billy was born with a heart defect and required immediate surgery, Kimmel has become an outspoken adv...
Published: 12/12/17
Record numbers are signing up for Obamacare in Florida as enrollment period draws to a close

Record numbers are signing up for Obamacare in Florida as enrollment period draws to a close

With just four days left to enroll for health insurance on the federal exchange, advocates for the Affordable Care Act say Florida is headed for a record-breaking year. In week five of the six-week open enrollment period, about 823,180 people signed ...
Published: 12/12/17
A boy shares the pain of being bullied - inspiring thousands to show him love (w/video)

A boy shares the pain of being bullied - inspiring thousands to show him love (w/video)

While fighting back tears, young Keaton Jones couldn’t stop asking one question: Why?"Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it?" he asks his mother while in the passenger seat of a parked car. "Why do you find joy in taking in...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17