Valley Hope Association (VHA), which operates not-for-profit treatment centers in seven states, has named Pat George as its new CEO. George most recently served as the Kansas Secretary of Commerce and has been a member of the VHA Board of Directors since 2003.
He is replacing long-time CEO Ken Gregoire, who retired on July 1, after 38 years of service to VHA in various roles.
George says he has a personal connection to Valley Hope.
“I’m coming up on 24 years since they saved my life when I was in treatment in 1991,” he tells Behavioral Healthcare.
In fact, former CEO Gregoire was a counselor at the time and helped in George’s treatment when he was a patient. Of course, neither one of them knew then that Gregoire the counselor and George the patient both would go on to lead the Valley Hope organization.
“And my father was here for treatment in 1968,” George says. “He passed away 42 years clean and sober.”
His father was the 68th patient on record at Valley Hope, and today, the organization has gone on to treat a total of more than 261,800 patients and counting. George says that his personal connection provides motivation to continue the organization’s history and its mission now and for the future.
“One of my goals is to position Valley Hope to be part of the solution in working with other healthcare leaders to figure out ways to serve clients and help them enjoy a better way of living,” George says.
He’s encouraged by the momentum of healthcare reform and how all stakeholders are increasingly recognizing the connection of mind and body in comprehensive treatment. Many are looking to behavioral health providers for affiliations and tighter connections to improve the delivery of patient care. George says integrating with physical health providers can lead to greater referrals, too.
“For those of us in the behavioral health field, it’s an exciting time,” he says.
And his predecessor, Gregoire, will continue to do some work on existing integration projects that VHA has already started.
“I have immeasurable confidence in and respect for my successor Pat George and the leadership team he is putting together,” Gregoire says. “The wonderful treatment Valley Hope provides will continue on in very capable hands.”
George will become the fourth CEO to lead the organization since its founding in 1967.