A young Don Hevey (see photo-- Hevey center, with Doug Starr at left and Morris Eaddy, right) remembers a day in 1985 when “a couple of guys came to talk with me, to get my thoughts as a state director about a new organization.”
The idea, presented by Morris Eaddy, Ph.D. from the Lakeview Center (Pensacola, Fla.), was to form leaders of respected community mental health centers into a professional organization that would work for the benefit of all. “I was really supportive,” says Hevey.
He must have been, because the next day, he was contacted by Eaddy, Chairman of the Board of Mental Health Corporations of America (MHCA), who asked Hevey to join the new organization as its first CEO.
In a 1985 letter to membership, Eaddy introduced MHCA and its new CEO, Don Hevey. Eaddy said that MHCA was to be a “business league of not-for-profit mental health centers organized for the purpose of strengthening the competitive position of member centers.”
MHCA’s emphasis would be “on improving productivity and performance, increasing market share of community services, and providing revenue and capital resources needed to provide continued delivery of essential services.” He predicted that “the organization will consist of approximately 150 members … [who will] focus on the business aspects of mental health services … and complement each other in strengthening the healthcare network.”
- Today, MHCA includes 129 member organizations in 31 states. An organization’s “primary” representative to MHCA is the CEO.
- MHCA membership is by invitation, explains Tara Boyter, communications director, who explains, “MHCA seeks as members those provider organizations that support its mission, that demonstrate a commitment to innovation and entrepreneurial endeavors in their day-to-day operations, and that express a willingness to contribute their expertise to the development of both MHCA and the entire behavioral health industry.” Member organizations must be tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations.
- Although only one female CEO was among its 19 founding members, MHCA membership today reflects the diversity of behavioral health leaders nationwide: Nearly a third of 129 MHCA member CEOs are women (39 in all) while nine member CEOs are black.
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