Behavioral health groups plan to merge

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CHAMPAIGN- Representatives of Community Elements, a behavioral health provider in Champaign, announced Friday plans to merge with Rosecrance, a similar organization based in Rockford.

Both organizations provide a range of services, including help with substance abuse and mental health, counseling and others. While representatives said both organizations were in good financial shape, they also said that rising demand for their services coupled with funding cuts and an unpredictable state budget make collaboration especially important.

“We don’t expect the state budget to be resolved any time soon, and when I say ‘anytime soon,’ I’m talking about a year, two years, possibly even longer,” said Community Elements CEO Sheila Ferguson. “Looking at how we can strategize around keeping our continuum of services has to do with building a sustainability plan.”

Organization officials said the merger could also help them expand services and meet pressing needs, such as the region’s drug abuse problem.

“We have a heroin epidemic in our communities,” said Rosecrance CEO Phil Eaton. “It seems that we’re not responding to the severity or the prevalence that it’s being experienced in hospital emergency rooms … so that’s at the top of my list.”

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