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Burrell Behavioral Health starts a joint venture with Preferred Family Healthcare to form Brightli.
SBJ file
Burrell Behavioral Health starts a joint venture with Preferred Family Healthcare to form Brightli.

Burrell, Preferred Family Healthcare form joint venture

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Burrell Behavioral Health and Preferred Family Healthcare Inc. have formed a joint venture that creates a new parent company for the organizations, which officials say is one of the largest nonprofit behavioral health and addiction treatment organizations in the country.

The boards of directors of both nonprofits in late December finalized documents establishing Brightli as the parent company, according to a news release. The partnership went into effect on Jan. 1. No money changed hands as part of the deal, said Nikki Ogle, communications coordinator for Burrell.

Together, Burrell and Kirksville-based PFH employ nearly 5,000 people, providing behavioral health and other care services at more than 200 locations in five states. The organizations together have roughly $400 million in annual revenue.

Both Burrell and PFH will continue to operate under their existing names and structures. Burrell President and CEO C.J. Davis is serving as CEO of Brightli, with PFH President and CEO Mike Schwend working as the parent organization's president.

“We could not be more excited to combine the full resources of Burrell and PFH for the good of the communities we serve,” Davis said in the release. “The opportunities this partnership presents will improve our ability to help more people in new and existing markets, attract and retain top-level talent and better impact policy and practices on the local, state and national levels.”

Brightli operates under a combined board of directors, with Springfield Police Department Chief Paul Williams serving as its first chair.

Williams said the Brightli partnership follows nearly a year of work.

"Our citizens, health care systems, law enforcement partners, school systems and so many more stand to benefit from the expertise and talent these two companies collectively hold," Williams said in the release, noting the joint venture marks "a true watershed moment for community-based health care in Missouri and beyond."

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