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Lee Mental Health and Southwest Florida Addiction Services Merge

Topher Forhecz

Lee Mental Health and Southwest Florida Addiction Services revealed details Monday about their plans to create Southwest Florida’s largest mental health and substance abuse agency.

The new organization’s name is SalusCare, Inc. Southwest Florida Addiction Services’ CEO Kevin Lewis will move into the role of CEO for the new company. Lee Mental Health Center President and CEO David Winters will become the Chief Administrative Officer for Salus.

Last year, Southwest Florida Addiction Services saw 5,000 patients and Lee Mental Health saw 12,000. Eight hundred of those patients used both services.  Lewis said patients now coming to SalusCare will only have to navigate one company, thus streamlining care.

“We can move you from level A to level B much more efficiently and effectively,” Lewis said. “At some point when you present at any door, you’ll experience a universal assessment and we’ll be able to link you directly and not have any duplicative administrative efforts.”

The first step the company is creating a comprehensive electronic record for the patients.

“Somewhere in a six to nine month range, we’ll roll out a common electronic medical record, which would then allow us to serve people much more efficiently and effectively and also change sites of services,” said Lewis.

No layoffs are expected.

Lewis estimated the merger will take about two years to get to what he called a “stable setting.”

Topher is a reporter at WGCU News.