Behavioral Health Services Closing in Atlanta

A note from Gary Johnstone, Interim CEO of Lutheran Services of Georgia BHS Team

It is with sadness and regret that I must inform the Lutheran Services of Georgia family that the Behavioral Health Services program will close on June 30, 2015. Since opening its doors, BHS has served individuals- and their families - who struggled with mental health and substance abuse issues.

The dedicated BHS staff members have faced numerous challenges in their efforts to become accredited and licensed, but through it all, Dr. Lucy Cannon, Dr. Gibson, Alice Camp, and Samantha Eberhardt have worked very hard to make this program a success. Due to unforeseen and insurmountable barriers, the decision has been made to close the program.

BHS has had many successes: they received a three-year CARF Accreditation and were approved to provide services by several third party insurance providers, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, Tri Care, Medicare, FEI Behavioral Health, EAP, and Amerigroup. In addition, they established a sliding-scale fee plan based on income so that they could serve all clients in need.

Dr. Cannon, Director of BHS, and her staff have expressed their pride in being able to serve people from numerous programs within LSG and have felt supported in their efforts. Vice President of Programs Dr. Alie Redd has provided guidance and support during this time and is continuing to support Dr. Cannon during this resolution process.

Thank you, Behavioral Health Services staff, for your dedication to bringing restored hope, transformed lives, and healthy tomorrows to individuals and families throughout Georgia.

Behavioral Health Services Celebrates One Year Anniversary

By Dr. Lucy R. Cannon, LCSW, CCDP-D, Clinical Director of Behavioral Health Services BHS Team

Lutheran Services of Georgia, Inc. is proud to announce the celebration of our new Behavioral Health Services program’s one year anniversary. We provide outpatient mental health and substance abuse services to children, adolescents, and adults in metropolitan Atlanta. Our BHS clinical staff provided mental health services to our first client on August 21, 2013. BHS’s first client referral came from LSG’s FACES program, which provides support for individuals with developmental disabilities. BHS has a full-time Director/Clinical Director and qualified part-time clinical and administrative staff members that will include a board certified and Forensic psychiatrist, registered nurse, licensed professional counselor, and administrative staff. Our great team now provides mental health and substance abuse services to 15 clients.

BHS’s first year has been very successful. On July 3, 2013, BHS obtained an Outpatient Substance Abuse license through the Department of Community Health (DCH). In March 2014, thanks to the hard work of LSG leadership, the Quality Improvement Program Manager, and BHS Program staff, BHS received a 3-year CARF accreditation. LSG’s CEO and President Floyd R. Blair, Chief Operations Officer (COO) Gary Johnston, and Vicky McClention have been instrumental in assisting LSG in implementing the Behavioral Health Services program.

BHS has also become a provider of third party insurance companies to include FEI Behavioral Health, EAP, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Georgia, AETNA, and TRICARE (military insurance coverage for active duty service members, veterans, and military families). BHS recently received a CMO Medicaid Provider number from DCH. Currently, we are awaiting final approval to become an Amerigroup Child and Adolescent Medicaid provider pending credentialing approval. In October 2014, we will be applying for adult Contracted Provider Services, formerly Core Services, through the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Services (DBHDD). We also offer sliding scale fees for indigent and private pay clients.

Our commitment to provide state-of-the-art services allows us to establish unique relationships with our loyal clients and family members, internal LSG programs, and community agencies. These relationships are the main reason we were able to successfully meet the needs of the people we served over this past year. Our staff has worked hard to achieve these successes. We want to personally thank the entire LSG leadership and staff for all of their support of this new program over this past year. We are excited about the further growth and development of Behavioral Health Services and the continued support of the LSG Team.

For more information about Behavioral Health Services, click here.

LSG Joins Georgia School of Addiction Studies Board of Directors!









The Georgia School of Addiction Studies (GSAS) has appointed Lutheran Services of Georgia to be on its Board of Directors, effective as of March 2014. The Board of Directors will address the need for knowledge and skill development through advanced training for consumers of mental health, substance abuse, and intellectual disabilities, along with paraprofessionals and licensed clinicians in the fields of substance abuse and mental health. LSG will be instrumental in bringing its expertise to the GSAS Board of Directors. CEO and President Mr. Floyd R. Blair and Director of Behavioral Health Services Dr. Lucy Cannon will serve as representatives on the board.

The GSAS offers unique opportunities for professional development, information exchange, and networking, including its annual GSAS Conference. The 2014 GSAS Conference will take place in SAvannah, Georgia from August 25 through 29. Each year, the conference features highly qualified speakers and experts from various organizations throughout the United States who present on topics related to prevention, treatment, and recovery. Noted keynote speakers such as Dr. David Satcher, former Surgeon General Dr. Drew Pinsky, Host of Celebrity Rehab Dr. H. Wesley Clark, Director of SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, and other experts in addiction and mental health are represented. Click here for more information about the GSAS.

Lutheran Behavioral Health Services Receives Three-Year CARF Accreditation

Lutheran Services of Georgia is excited to announce that the Lutheran Behavioral Health Services program (LBHS) recently received a three-year accreditation from CARF International, the maximum length of accreditation that CARF offers to health and human service providers.

LBHS offers an array of outpatient mental health and substance abuse counseling services to children, adolescents, adults, and seniors in the Metropolitan Atlanta area. LBHS utilizes a person-centered treatment plan to assist clients with reaching their personal goals to improve their lives and promotes mental health through service, advocacy, and education.

Since the launch of LBHS in August, 2013, LSG has sought accreditation from CARF International to support this crucial program. CARF International is an accreditation body that assists service providers in improving service quality, demonstrating value, and meeting internationally recognized organizational and program standards. Organizations like LSG must undergo a comprehensive review of policies and procedures to ensure that they meet CARF standards.

Dr. Lucy Cannon, LBHS Program Director, and Ms. Joy Jones, LSG’s Senior Manager of Quality and Improvement led LSG staff through this process. Together, LSG staff and stakeholders developed a plan that allowed LBHS to succeed. As an accredited program, LBHS can now take steps towards becoming a certified Medicaid provider in Georgia and is eligible for federal, state, and local funding sources. LSG will further develop and implement survey and outcome measurement tools to improve its mental health and substance abuse services for clients and families.

LSG thanks Dr. Cannon, Ms. Jones, LSG staff, CARF Surveyor Ms. Lesley Levin, LCSW, clients, and other stakeholders who successfully assisted LSG through this process.

For more information about LBHS or to make a referral, visit the LBHS webpage.