Illinois budget battle clouds mental-healthcare merger
Nashville-based behavioral healthcare provider Centerstone has completed its merger with WellSpring Resources, a mental-health provider based in Alton, Ill., but leaders are concerned that the newly combined business will be affected by a protracted budget battle in the Illinois Legislature.
The two closed on a deal Thursday after announcing in May that they had signed a letter of intent to merge, including the Prairie Center, an Urbana, Ill.-based substance-abuse treatment provider. A deal with Prairie Center is still pending, according to Centerstone CEO David Guth Jr.
Officials declined to release the value of the deal. But Guth said the merged company could face a financial hit down the line, since Illinois lawmakers and the governor so far have failed to approve a fiscal 2016 budget. That could threaten state support for mental health and substanceabuse treatment services.
“If you don’t have a contract in the midst of this, it’s very likely that those services will not be reimbursed,” Guth said. “I hate to cloud excitement of our merger, but it’s just the reality of where the state of Illinois’ budget is right now.”
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed an $82 million cut in mentalhealth services, arguing that the ACA has paved the way for reduced state funding by expanding Medicaid and requiring insurers to cover mentalhealth services.