Agency Consolidated to Become Georgia’s Largest Behavioral Health Care Provider
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DALTON – Highland Rivers Health, one of Georgia’s largest behavioral health agencies, will experience substantial growth in 2022 with the integration of Haralson Behavioral Health Services and the Cobb County Community Services Board.
The combined agency will retain the legal name Highland Rivers Community Service Board, but will operate under the name Highland Rivers Behavioral Health, with a new logo and slogan, “A Community of Hope, Empowerment and Health.” goal “. A new agency website will be unveiled in early 2022 as part of the ongoing rebranding and service integration that is expected to take several months.
As a result of the consolidation, Highland Rivers will be the largest provider of behavioral health care in Georgia, with a service territory of 13 counties that is home to more than 1.7 million people – nearly 17% of the population of the Georgia – in an area of ââ4,700 square miles of northwest Georgia. With a combined workforce of nearly 1,000 professionals, the agency will have an annual budget of approximately $ 75 million.
The new integrated organization will improve access to a wider range of behavioral health services for Georgians in Metro Atlanta and northwest Georgia, said Judy Fitzgerald, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Health. Developmental Disabilities.
âConsistent access to quality behavioral health services should be part of the overall health plans of all Georgians,â said Fitzgerald. âHighland Rivers has been a great partner for the state in providing high quality services to those who are uninsured or underinsured, and their expansion is an encouraging sign that more Georgians can gain access. constant to services that support their general well-being. “
Plans for the potential consolidation of the Cobb County CCCSB (CCCSB) into Highland Rivers Health began in late 2019 as the CCCSB was unable to adequately meet the demand for services in the community. To that end, Highland Rivers CEO Melanie Dallas was hired to take on the role of Interim CEO of Cobb Agency in July 2020, following the retirement of CEO Foster Norman.
During the ensuing period, Highland Rivers staff worked closely with their counterparts at the CCCSB to determine the processes for integrating the operational and financial operations of the two organizations. After months of intensive preparation and planning, the boards of directors of both entities voted this summer to proceed with the consolidation.
Haralson County was served by Haralson Behavioral Health Services (HBHS), a stand-alone agency with about 20 employees, but which was not a community service board. Highland Rivers Health has established a long-term partnership with HBHS to provide community services in the county, and has generally viewed Haralson County as part of its service territory.
Similar to the Cobb County CSB, the Haralson behavioral health facility will become a Highland Rivers facility and the staff will become employees of Highland Rivers Behavioral Health.
The Highland Rivers Board of Directors will also undergo changes. The current 14 members will be expanded to 18 members, taking into account the size of the population of the counties served. Melanie Dallas will continue as CEO of the new entity, and all existing members of the Highland Rivers management team will also retain their current positions.
âHighland Rivers has always been very intentional when it comes to community partnerships, and by integrating the Cobb and Haralson organizations we will all be able to work more effectively to strengthen the behavioral health safety net in Georgia,â said said Dallas. âWhat’s most important is that people with behavioral health needs receive the services they need, and this consolidation will allow us to serve more people with better services in Cobb County and in all the communities we serve. ”