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PBH's Coughlin to retire from role as CEO

March 31, 2011
by News release
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Concord, N.C. — PBH (formerly Piedmont Behavioral Health) has announced that area director and CEO Daniel Coughlin, who has served in this position since 2000, will be retiring effective July 1, 2011. Pamela Shipman, currently deputy area director and COO, will be his successor. Coughlin came to Piedmont Behavioral Healthcare (now named PBH) in 2000 as the third Director over the 35-year existence of the organization. He is probably best known for his leadership in establishing—in North Carolina—PBH’s unique model for managing and delivering public sector Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities services.

Coughlin has long been interested in the concept of a pre-paid health care model imbedded in a Medicaid Waiver and implemented within publicly financed health care systems for the central purpose of reforming and modernizing services, and improving care and outcomes for consumers.

This model was implemented by PBH as a Demonstration Project in 2005 and is now so highly regarded that North Carolina has made the decision to implement it across the entire state within the next few years.

Coughlin has worked his whole career within the Behavioral Health field as a clinician and executive administrator in both the public and private sectors. He has served on myriad commissions and boards in North Carolina, New York State and nationally, and is considered by many to be an innovator in the public Behavioral Healthcare field.

In a recent written statement to the PBH staff and Board of Directors, Coughlin offered: “Pam Shipman’s selection as PBH’s new CEO is cause for celebration. Pam has been key in making PBH what it is [and] I’ve never met anyone that can grasp and master as much as Pam can ... from the minutest details, existing across broad spectrums of complex and interrelated matters, to the capacity to form the visionary perspectives required to keep this organization on a continuous path of progressivism and vitality.”

He went on to say, “Shipman is a national expert in the 1915 b/c waiver model and its operational application as an MBHO. She has long and deep relationships, and is highly regarded by consumers, advocates, providers and policy makers. Pam is an institution in our field in North Carolina. She brings credibility, prestige and honor to PBH in incomparable measure.”

In response to her new appointment, Shipman said, “PBH is always changing and moving forward. It is in our DNA! For the past 11 years, I have been privileged to work under the leadership of Dan Coughlin as PBH responded to the needs and priorities of our communities and developed a new model for community services that blends the best experience from the public and private sectors into the unique national model that we operate today. We are in the process of yet another transformation as we adjust to the far-reaching changes in the healthcare system brought on by the federal Health Reform Act.

Shipman attained her BA and M.Ed. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Shipman joined PBH (then Piedmont Behavioral Healthcare) in 1987 as Assistant Area Director for Developmental Disabilities Services. In 2001, she was appointed to the position of Chief Operations Officer.

"During all the time I have worked at PBH, the commitment to the people we serve has been the one constant," Shipman added. "This commitment will be our guide as we move forward—it is the one principle that never changes! I am deeply honored to be selected to lead PBH into the future and thankful for the confidence that the PBH Board has placed in me."

In 2006, Shipman was named Deputy Area Director for PBH and currently serves as Deputy Area Director and COO.

"I am grateful for the support that I have received from PBH staff over many years and for the mentorship I have received from two of the three PBH Directors—Bob Lorish and Dan Coughlin," said Shipman. "I look forward to new opportunities to make our corner of the world a better place for people who live with mental illness, intellectual/developmental disabilities and substance abuse conditions.”

Bill Burgin stated, “Our organization is the benefactor of consistently strong leadership from a handful of visionary and talented Area Directors. Over the past 11 years, Dan Coughlin has broken new ground as he led the transformation of PBH from a service provider organization to that of a public manager of a privately delivered system of community services.

Under Dan’s leadership, PBH has become a model for North Carolina and beyond. I have known Pam since Rowan County merged with PBH in 1997. She has made major contributions to the success of PBH over the past 20-plus years. The Board believes that the continuity and leadership she will bring to PBH during this time of transition is of great importance.

We are in a period of rapid change and we must be ready to adopt new technologies, new practices and to take on strategic opportunities that are consistent with our mission and vision. Our goal is to provide the best system of care possible for the people of our communities that depend on the public system for services. PBH will benefit from a leader that knows our communities, our state, and our agency as well as Pam.”

PBH was established in 1974 as a public authority organization under North Carolina General Statute 122C. As a result of mental health reform legislation in 2001, PBH became a Local Management Entity (LME) with responsibility for managing financial resources and directing services for people with behavioral health and intellectual/developmental disabilities in its five-county area..