Southwest Florida is getting a major boost in the fight against substance abuse and improving mental health care. Lee Mental Health Center and Southwest Florida Addiction Services (SWFAS) are coming together to create SalusCare. It's now the largest behavioral health care center in the area.
The non-profit organization is being created with the idea of a new name, and the same dedication to health and wellness. One of their main goals is to provide better access to care, with 7 locations in Fort Myers and Cape Coral.
Fort Myers mayor Randy Henderson and Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann were both at today's announcement to celebrate the merger.
SWFAS CEO Kevin Lewis will take on the role of CEO for SalusCare. Lee Mental Health President and CEO David Winters will serve as Chief Administrative Officer.
Lewis said the organization's first order of business is streamlining the way patients are entered in to their system, to make for a more efficient and less administrative process.
"Yesterday if a person needed care within one company and received it and moved to other company, they had to be reentered, re-assessed," said Lewis. "We'll be able to eliminate that over the next few months, and were very excited about that. We can give them the right care in a much more effective way."
Lewis says most of SalusCare's workers are being hired through attrition. They do not have any plans right now to hire additional staff, but there have been no layoffs from Lee Mental Health or SWFAS in the merger.