Philhaven Officially Joins WellSpan Health on Jan 1

WellSpan Health and Philhaven announced today that they have finalized their affiliation and that they intend to align the two health care organizations, effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Philhaven – the 14th largest mental and behavioral health provider in the nation – will officially become part of WellSpan Health. This affiliation will result in a merger of the region’s most complete continuum of behavioral health services and south central Pennsylvania’s largest, most comprehensive nonprofit health system.

The affiliation will combine Philhaven’s 55 programs and 1,100 staff with WellSpan Health to develop an integrated system of behavioral health care. The combined organization will continue to provide their existing programs and services while enhancing local systems of care in Adams, York, Lancaster and Lebanon counties.

Philhaven and WellSpan announced their intent to explore an affiliation in October 2014 and signed a definitive agreement in May 2015. The affiliation follows more than a year of due diligence by both organizations with the subsequent review and approval by regulatory agencies.

The organizations will begin the process of integrating the staff and operations of select administrative support functions and evaluate opportunities to align the delivery of primary care and behavioral health care across the region.

Phil Hess, Philhaven CEO, noted: “Philhaven and WellSpan share a common commitment to patient-centered community-based behavioral health care. We have a very similar culture, values and approach to providing care. A common mission, vision and culture make this a much simpler process. WellSpan is the best possible partner for Philhaven. Together we will serve our communities more effectively, with the result of improved access to services, excellent clinical care and better outcomes.”

Through this affiliation, both organizations are committed to developing a regional behavioral health system with diverse levels of care, support for all patients, innovative practices and strong outcomes. A focus will also be on the development of local education and training programs to attract future behavioral health providers to the region.

Kevin Mosser, M.D., president and CEO of WellSpan Health, noted that WellSpan regularly conducts health needs assessments in the communities it serves, and that mental health is routinely identified among the most significant health issues facing south central Pennsylvania.

“We know that behavioral health consistently ranks among the top health care needs in our region,” Mosser said. “Our goal with this affiliation is to bring together Philhaven’s trusted and respected team of behavioral health providers and WellSpan’s extensive network of physicians and advanced practice clinicians to improve the health of our patients and the overall health of our communities.”

Research demonstrates the effects of mental health on chronic diseases and quality of life. A 2009 study by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services concluded that participants with psychological distress were three to five times more likely to develop chronic health conditions, including cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, and a 2012 Oregon State University study of 6,000 adults noted that those coping with a medical condition had a threefold higher likelihood to seek mental health services.

Despite these statistics, demand for behavioral health services has far exceeded the supply. Many health care organizations no longer provide these services because they are difficult to sustain, according to Mosser. The affiliation with Philhaven is a continuation of WellSpan’s commitment to invest in community-based behavioral health care, he said.

In 2014, WellSpan added behavioral health providers to seven of its primary care physician offices in an effort to better integrate mental and behavioral health needs with patients’ physical health needs through their primary care office. The initiative has since expanded to a total of 10 primary care physician practices.

The affiliation with Philhaven will significantly expand upon this initiative, and on WellSpan’s system-wide commitment to effective and efficient ways of keeping the total person healthy – not just treating acute illnesses as they arise.

“WellSpan’s focus on coordinating both physical and mental health within the primary care setting is both patient-centered and effective,” Hess said. “We are excited to join WellSpan and to expand the integration of our services into all aspects of the WellSpan Health system. It is a great opportunity for Philhaven and an enhanced resource for the communities and people that we serve.”

About Philhaven

Philhaven is the 14th largest mental and behavioral healthcare provider in the United States. Begun in 1952 by the Lancaster Mennonite Conference in response to inhumane conditions in state hospitals, Philhaven continues to provide compassionate care that values the dignity of those they serve. Philhaven uses evidence-based therapies that have undergone scientific evaluation to provide outcomes for clients. A staff of 1,100, with clinical staff that includes 63 doctors (MDs, PhDs, PsyDs, and CRNPs) and over 165 master’s level clinicians, offer services through 55 programs in 22 physical locations in Lebanon, Lancaster, Dauphin and York counties. Philhaven has an annual operating budget of $62 million. Each year, the organization serves 25,000 persons in a continuum of care that includes hospitalization, residential and day programs, outpatient counseling and support delivered in the home, school and community.

About WellSpan Health

WellSpan Health is an integrated health system that serves the communities of central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. The organization is comprised of a multispecialty medical group of more than 850 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a home care organization, six respected hospitals, more than 15,000 employees, and more than 140 patient care locations. WellSpan has been recognized by IMS Health as one of the Top 100 Integrated Health Networks in the United States and by Health Imaging and IT as one of the nation’s “Top 25 Connected Healthcare Facilities.” WellSpan’s mission is to improve health by providing exceptional care for all, promoting lifelong wellness and fostering healthy communities.