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WellSpring Resources signs intent to merge into Centerstone behavioral health operation

From Illinois Business Journal news services

ALTON – WellSpring Resources and another large, community based provider have signed a letter of intent to merge into a third agency to form one of the largest services in Illinois dedicated to mental health and addiction treatment.

As part of the proposed merger, Prairie Center, which operates in mid-state Illinois, and WellSpring would become a part of Centerstone, which has operations in West Frankfort, Carterville, Marion, and Carbondale, and serves more than 9,000 people each year.

Together, the providers say, they will be better able to expand their reach and meet the behavioral health-care needs of people of all ages.

“Centerstone is delighted to take this step in exploring a merger with Prairie Center and WellSpring Resources,” said David C. Guth Jr. CEO of Centerstone. “Our organizations have a great deal in common including a focus on quality care, a commitment to leveraging technology to enhance patient care, and a dedication to integrated care and ensuring the whole health of our clients. Together, we have great opportunities to advance the care we provide and strengthen our ability to serve our communities.”

Centerstone says it is one of the largest non-profit providers of behavioral health care in the nation. In operation for 60 years, it has provider organizations in Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee, which provide an array of treatment, support and educational programs and services to more than 117,000 individuals who have mental health and addiction disorders and developmental disabilities.

“The prospect of welcoming Prairie Center and WellSpring Resources to Centerstone is exciting,” said John Markley, CEO of Centerstone of Illinois. “In the changing health-care environment, there is strength in numbers. By combining our areas of expertise and sharing best practices and resources, we will be better positioned to enhance our services and expand the ways we care for our communities each day.”

Under the proposed agreement, Markley would continue to serve as CEO of Centerstone of Illinois. Bruce Suardini, CEO of Prairie Center, would serve as vice president for the East Region, and Jennifer Craig, interim CEO of WellSpring Resources, would serve as the organization’s chief operating officer. WellSpring is located at 2615 Edwards St. in  Alton.

“Operationally, this is a challenging time for behavioral health-care providers,” said Bruce Suardini. “Budget cuts, reimbursement uncertainties and the need to invest in new technology and infrastructure are leading many to scale back their services and, in extreme cases, shut their doors. I’m proud that Centerstone, WellSpring Resources and Prairie Center are coming together to strengthen our operations for the future. I hope that our state legislature is prepared to meet organizations like ours halfway, reducing the proposed budget cuts that are threatening our abilities to meet the needs of our communities.”

With the addition of Prairie Center and WellSpring Resources, Centerstone of Illinois will have 700 employees in 11 counties that provide services to nearly 18,000 people of all ages annually. Following the finalization of this proposed Illinois merger and pending affiliation with Manatee Glens in Florida that is expected to be complete this summer, Centerstone will be an organization with 160 locations in Florida, Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee and approximately $210 million in annual revenues. It will employ more than 3,200 people and serve an estimated 142,000 individuals.

“Joining Centerstone is exciting for our organization, our employees, our clients and our communities,” said Jennifer Craig. “Centerstone, Prairie Center and WellSpring Resources share a vision for the future of behavioral healthcare. We have compatible cultures, complementary services and similar approaches to care. As one organization, we will be able to learn from one another and enhance how we care for our communities and how behavioral healthcare is delivered nationwide.”

The letter of intent allows Centerstone, Prairie Center and WellSpring Resources to complete due diligence and finalize a merger agreement. Pending legal and regulatory reviews, this process is expected to take a minimum of 60-90 days.

About Prairie Center

The Prairie Center is a not-for-profit, substance abuse treatment center dedicated to providing the highest quality of prevention, intervention, education, and counseling services. With over 47 years of service to the community, Prairie Center’s primary service area includes Champaign, Ford, and Vermilion counties. Prairie Center’s 85-member staff offers a comprehensive array of substance abuse education and treatment services in a variety of settings. Prairie Center serves more than 5,000 individuals and their families annually. Learn more at

About WellSpring Resources

Founded in 1959, WellSpring Resources is a total mental wellness resource serving Madison, Greene, Jersey, and Calhoun counties. With offices in Alton and Jerseyville, WellSpring’s compassionate professionals work with children, adults and families to inspire hope and personal growth. Last year, more than 7,600 people sought to change their lives for the better through WellSpring’s mental health and substance abuse services. Learn more at

About Centerstone

Centerstone, a not-for-profit organization, is one of the nation’s largest behavioral healthcare providers. It offers a range of treatment, support and educational programs and services to individuals who have mental health and addiction disorders and developmental disabilities. Each year, the organization serves more than 117,000 people of all ages at nearly 150 locations across Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee. It also operates the Centerstone Foundation, Centerstone Research Institute, Advantage Behavioral Health, Centerstone Military Services and Centerstone Health Partners.

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