On June 14, 2022, Journey Health System’s President & CEO, Guy Signor, presented during the Mergers, Acquisitions & Affiliations Summit at the 2022 OPEN MINDS Strategy & Innovation Institute in New Orleans, Louisiana. Signor’s presentation, titled “Affiliation Without A Merger — Perspectives From Executives Who Are Making It Work,” focused on Journey Health System’s affiliation structure and operations, as well as the benefits and challenges of the model.
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“One of the key elements of an affiliation is for member agencies to always be, first and foremost, a part of the communities they serve,” said Signor. “Journey offers its members the benefits of a larger size for negotiating insurance coverage, shared employee benefit costs, employee recruitment and retention strategies, and bulk purchasing power.”
Signor’s presentation looked at how the seven member organizations of Journey Health System interact and provide clinical services individually, while sharing support services collectively through the support corporation structure. He also discussed challenges to the model, including additional communication to help stakeholders at the local level understand the affiliation concept.
“Because affiliates retain so much local decision-making in terms of the provision of clinical services,” Signor said. “It can be easy for employees or Board Members, to forget they are still part of a larger health system.”
Journey Health System, headquartered in Bradford, Pennsylvania, is a 509(a)(3) not-for-profit supporting corporation that serves the following behavioral health affiliates that deliver care to 21 counties across Pennsylvania: Beacon Light Behavioral Health System, Beacon Light Adult Residential Services, Deerfield Behavioral Health, Dickinson Center, Forest-Warren Mental Wellness Association and Stairways Behavioral Health. The Journey Health System Board of Directors is comprised of representatives from each organization.
Journey Health System functions as a supporting organization that takes the burden of managing administrative functions away from the affiliated behavioral health organizations to allow them to focus on their mission of providing excellent clinical care. The results include better outcomes for clients, families and the communities served.
Being a part of Journey Health System allows for greater efficiency in the delivery of behavioral health services. The administrative fees, ideas and innovative best practices are shared among the group of affiliated companies. Millions of dollars are saved by each affiliate through bulk purchasing power, contract negotiations, and economy-of-scale advantages. The goal is to make each affiliate organization financially stronger and more sustainable for the foreseeable future.
The numbers of behavioral healthcare mergers, acquisitions and affiliations in the U.S. were at a record high in 2021. As the landscape continues to shift in the health and human services space, strong affiliation activity will continue for mental health organizations to position them for sustainability and growth.
For more information about Journey Health System, visit www.journeyhealth.org.