Health Care

Behavioral health provider acquires counseling center

January 22, 2014
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Behavioral health provider acquires counseling center
Mark Eastburg. Courtesy Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services 

A behavioral health provider is acquiring the assets of a counseling center, due in part to the health care industry’s "regulatory environment.”

Come spring, Grand Rapids-based Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services will acquire the assets of Christian Counseling Center in Grand Rapids.

The two organizations have signed a nonbinding letter of intent, with the full support of both organizations’ boards.

They plan to develop a definitive purchase agreement in the upcoming months. The final agreement to consolidate operations is expected this spring.

Once the agreement is completed, Christian Counseling Center will operate as one of Pine Rest’s outpatient clinics, continuing to provide behavioral health care to the community from its current location, at 1870 Leonard St., NE.

The clinicians and staff from CCC will be retained in the acquisition.

Pine Rest currently operates an outpatient clinic network with 16 locations throughout Michigan and two in Iowa.

“We are blessed to have the opportunity to join an organization like Pine Rest, which has a very similar mission and values,” said Rick A. Smith, Christian Counseling Center executive director. “Joining Pine Rest at this time in our history provides the operational and financial resources required to serve our patients, particularly in the current rapidly changing regulatory environment.”

Pine Rest’s President & CEO Mark Eastburg said that there have been many regulatory changes that have made it more difficult for small clinics like CCC to continue to operate independently.

Pine Rest’s size has helped it survive these challenges.

“The main thing is the size and scope of services has allowed us to develop the infrastructure that is needed to thrive and survive in today’s health care environment, such as being able to be accredited, to develop electronic clinical records and being able to be connected to other health care systems,” Eastburg said. “Because of our size, we were able to participate in that way, which is more difficult for a small independent organization.

“What we will be able to do is bring the Christian Counseling Center infrastructure resources that they don’t have today, such as electronic clinical records, billing system, central intake, accreditation, educational opportunities for staff that we can bring from Pine Rest. So we will be bringing a whole set of resources to the CCC.”

Eastburg noted that Pine Rest would benefit from the arrangement as well.

“We have great respect for the Christian Counseling Center as an agency; we have great respect for their staff; and we think we will be stronger because we will be working together,” Eastburg said.

“We look forward to what they will be bringing to us in terms of their knowledge and expertise and their healthy culture.”

Both organizations have decades of history in the West Michigan community, and Eastburg said to honor that history and the name recognition of the CCC, it plans to incorporate the clinic’s original name in the naming of the new outpatient clinic.

“We believe that this coming together represents good stewardship for scarce and valuable behavioral health resources,” Eastburg said. “By coming together we can find health care efficiencies that would not be possible if we were working separately and independently.

“From the initial discussion, the value of stewardship of community resources has been at the forefront of our conversations together with CCC. At Pine Rest, we are committed to collaboration and good stewardship to promote the behavioral health care of the community.”

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