The first board of directors has been selected for SalusCare, the not-for-profit organization that resulted from the recent merger of Southwest Florida Addiction Services (SWFAS) and Lee Mental Health. Two Sanibel residents and one Punta Rassa resident are among the 12 members.
Sanibel's Geoffrey Roepstorff of Edison National Bank was selected to serve on the board along with retiree and Lee Mental Health board member Ed Kleinow, the new board's treasurer.
"I'm really excited about it," said Roepstorff. "I was on the SWFAS board and worked for months on the merger. Representing Sanibel on the board is good for our community and for our residents to be served by SalusCare."
Upon his retirement, Kleinow looked for something to do to give back to the community. When he visited Lee Mental Health in 2004, it left an indelible impression.
"Florida was lacking funding to mental health," said Kleinow, who was appointed to the board in 2005. "I got involved to help them get funding and we ultimately built a new crisis center. The SalusCare board I think is very strong and the people on it have great credentials and passion for the community. My involvement is what can I contribute with my business background and experience as the treasurer."
Marshall Bower of Punta Rassa will serve as the board's chairman. Bower is president and CEO of The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, Inc.
Board officers besides Bower are Lee County Tax Collector Larry Hart (vice chair) and attorney William Keyes (secretary). The officers were selected from each of the non-profits.
The remaining board members are Sue Ackert; Mark S. Atkins, Lee Memorial Health System; Dena Geraghty, Lee County Dependency & Juvenile Drug Court; Dr. Judith Hartner, Lee County Health Department; Attorney Scot D. Goldberg, Goldberg, Racila, D'Alessandro and Noone; Dr. Madelyn Isaacs, Florida Gulf Coast University; and Jim Reilly.
"The SalusCare Board is enthused about the future of this new not-for-profit organization that we believe will give our community what it needs most a cohesive system of behavioral healthcare to address the needs of individuals with mental health and substance use issues," Bower said. "Our first year plan is to implement electronic medical records to enable us to share information across campuses. When we do that, we can increase access points for care and serve more people in need of treatment."
The merger was announced on July 1, forming the largest mental health and substance abuse treatment agency in Southwest Florida with an annual budget of just under $30 million and 450 employees serving 17,000 patients per year.
SalusCare, Inc., is led by president & CEO Kevin B. Lewis with former Lee Mental Health Center president & CEO David Winters serving as chief administrative officer (CAO).
SalusCare, 3763 Evans Ave., Fort Myers, offers outpatient and residential treatment for individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders from seven locations in Lee County and one in Hendry County. The multi-faceted agency also offers detoxification services for adults, prevention programming and an Employee Assistance Program for about 60 area companies. The majority of programs are accredited by CARF, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. SalusCare is a United Way agency.
For more information visit www.SalusCareFlorida.org.