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Published: Friday, 11/4/2005

Mental health providers forming new corporation


Two of Lucas County's largest providers of mental health services have merged their administrative functions by forming a new corporation, Behavioral Health Alliance.

BHA now oversees administrative duties for Neighborhood Properties Inc. and Rescue Mental Health Services. The two organizations have been discussing some form of merger for more than two years.

"We really got there because of financial realities," said John Hoover, who was executive director of NPI and has now become chief executive officer of BHA, overseeing director duties for NPI and Rescue.

Rescue Mental Health is a nonprofit organization offering 24-hour emergency mental health care, including suicide prevention, emergency psychiatric assessment, and residential crisis stabilization care. It has a $5.5 million annual budget, 120 employees, and treats about 6,500 patients annually.

Neighborhood Properties is a nonprofit organization that provides housing for those with mental illness in 650 apartment units scattered throughout Lucas County. It has 50 employees and a $6.5 million annual budget.

Mr. Hoover said the administrative merger will be transparent to the public and clients, and both agencies will maintain their own identities and missions and still will be known as NPI and Rescue.

The streamlining of administrative duties is expected to save the agencies about $200,000 a year in administrative expenses, he said.

Frank Ayers, former director of Rescue, retired Oct. 28 but will continue to provide some consulting services to Rescue Mental Health.

Mr. Ayers also will continue to be interim executive director at Zepf Community Mental Health Center.

Mr. Hoover said no layoffs are expected because the two agencies had laid off some personnel and did not fill vacant positions.

Mental health and social service organization mergers have been relatively common. In 2003, the county's two largest drug-treatment agencies, Substance Abuse Services Inc. and COMPASS, merged.

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