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First Step of Sarasota, Coastal Behavioral Healthcare Announce Merger

July 18, 2019

First Step of Sarasota and Coastal Behavioral Healthcare, a pair of not-for-profit agencies in Florida, have announced a merger to provide addiction recovery and behavioral health services in Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte counties. The combined organization will be the largest not-for-profit behavioral healthcare agency in Sarasota County, Florida.

“There is an overall industry trend toward regional consolidation in order to better serve communities and families in crisis,” Dave Beesley, president and chief executive officer of First Step of Sarasota, said in a news release. “There is a tangible benefit for families who are unsure how to navigate which services a loved one may need.”

The deal is the latest in a series of moves for First Step of Sarasota, which has also recently formed partnerships with Sarasota County School Board, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Barancik Foundation, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and Manatee and Sarasota counties to create new substance abuse treatment and mental health services programming.

Coastal, meanwhile, operates the Compass Center, a residential treatment program for adolescents ages 13 to 17 for drug or alcohol addiction and co-occurring mental health issues, as well as Kreisman Center Crisis Stabilization Unit, which provides 24/7 emergency services to individuals over the age of 18 who are experiencing severe emotional or psychiatric crisis.

“A consistent challenge for organizations like ours has been to maintain high-quality services in the face of funding reductions, increasing costs and uncertainty in state and external processes,” Kerry Kirschner, board chair of Coastal Behavioral Healthcare, said in the release. “This alliance will allow us to mutually strengthen organizational practices, minimize overlap and ensure sustainability.”

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