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Published: Wednesday, 11/13/2013 - Updated: 8 months ago

Compass, Zepf plan to merge operations

BY MARLENEHARRIS-TAYLOR
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Two Lucas County mental health agencies have announced plans to merge at the start of the new year.

Compass Corporation for Recovery Services, which provides inpatient and outpatient services for alcohol and drug addiction treatment, will become a part of the Zepf Center, a mental-health nonprofit agency in Toledo, on Jan. 1.

Both agencies are fiscally stable and are not being forced to merge, said Jennifer Moses, chief executive officer at Zepf, but the move “provides a chance to expand drug and alcohol treatment programs to youth, and provide more comprehensive treatment options to the growing population of those suffering from substance abuse and mental illness,” she said.

In the past year, Compass has helped more than 2,300 northwest Ohio residents struggling with addictions through its treatment services, including its new gambling treatment program. Zepf Center treats more than 5,000 clients a year with a wide range of mental health services at six locations.

The general public will not notice any immediate changes in how the two agencies operate. Compass will retain its name and will continue to operate from its Old West End location on Collingwood Boulevard. The SASI division, which provides medically assisted treatment to individuals with drug addictions, will continue to operate downtown on 12th Street.

“There is a history of quality drug treatment at the agency and the name is well-respected in the community,” Ms. Moses said.

There are no plans to lay off any of the 80 Compass employees in the near future. “We need the expertise of the staff there to continue to be successful,” she said.

After the merger, the new combined agency will have about 500 employees.

The merger, she said, will allow cost savings in other ways, including one central point of patient intake, consolidating patient records and billing systems, and most importantly by treating a patient’s mental health and addiction issues at the same time. By treating the “whole person,” the agency hopes to lower the number of clients using emergency rooms and being admitted to hospitals.

With annual budgets of about $6.6 million for Compass and nearly $30 million for the Zepf Center, both agencies receive funding from a variety of sources, including state and local tax dollars that are funneled through the Lucas County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

Deborah Ortiz-Flores, the executive director for the Lucas County Department of Job and Family Services, recently announced that she will step down from her position effective Dec. 1 to become the chief operating officer at the Zepf Center.

Contact Marlene Harris-Taylor at: mtaylor@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.



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