Burrell Behavioral Health, Youth Bridge to Explore Collaborative Merger

by: Beth Finello, Ozarks First

Burrell Behavioral Health has signed a Letter of Intent to explore a collaborative merger with Arkansas-based Youth Bridge. Together, the two organizations provide behavioral health services for more than 45,000 youth and adults in Missouri and Arkansas.

Following a period of due diligence, the two companies hope to announce a completed agreement by late April.

Citizens in both Arkansas and Missouri stand to gain from this collaborative merger, which opens the door for Burrell’s robust continuum of care to extend into northwest Arkansas. In turn, Youth Bridge would expand into the Show-Me State, where Burrell’s existing school-based programs would operate under the Youth Bridge name.

Fayetteville-based Youth Bridge, a nonprofit 501(c)3, was established in 1963 in Winslow, Ark., and provides service to Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Marion, Madison, Newton, and Washington counties.

“We have established deep roots during our 55 years of serving our region and this merger is a key step in allowing us to expand our services to our communities, schools and judicial system, even in this era of reduced Medicaid reimbursement and financial uncertainty,” Youth Bridge President & CEO Darryl Rhoda said. “The need for the services we provide is greater than ever, and with Burrell’s expertise, administrative capacity and additional sources of revenue, we will be in a better position to provide those services and meet our mission, now and well into the future.”

For Burrell, the opportunity to learn from and expand on Youth Bridge’s long experience in school-based services provides a springboard for its Youth Services department, which launched in June 2018 and has since signed agreements to provide behavioral health consultation and services for more than 30 school districts in southwest and central Missouri, including Springfield Public Schools, the largest school district in the state.

“This is an exciting time for behavioral health in Arkansas, Missouri and our country,” said Burrell President/CEO C.J. Davis. “Both Youth Bridge and Burrell have long histories of serving their communities, and Burrell is thrilled by the possibility of joining forces with such an organization and its expert, professional team, not only to increase access to care for youth and adults, but to help shape and lead the behavioral health conversation on a regional and national level. This is absolutely a win-win for our companies and our communities.”