Granite House Inc. to expand

Sheppard Pratt deal brings more services in mental health care

June 24, 1999|By Jennifer Sullivan | Jennifer Sullivan,SUN STAFF

Beginning next month, Granite House Inc., a Carroll County mental health care provider, will combine its local services with Baltimore's Sheppard Pratt Health Systems.

The partnership, effective July 1, will bring an increase in mental health services and doctors available to patients and expand Granite House's programs to more Carroll communities.

"Our mission is to help Carroll County folks," said Spencer Gear, executive director of the Westminster-based Granite House, a private, nonprofit provider of psychiatric rehabilitation, supported housing, outpatient mental health and related services.

Gear said having Sheppard Pratt's "deep pockets and expertise behind us" will boost Granite House's progress in pursuing its goal of expanding into more communities.

Gear said most of Granite's 700 patients are in Westminster, Eldersburg and Sykesville.

Granite House is the fourth mental health partnership for Sheppard Pratt.

The 108-year-old agency has linked with psychiatric rehabilitation and housing providers in Frederick, Montgomery and Baltimore counties.

"Essentially, Granite House approached Sheppard Pratt knowing we are in a mode of expansion," said Holly Bartlett, a Sheppard Pratt spokeswoman.

Bartlett said Sheppard Pratt's desire to link with programs is driven by a need to expand community-based programs.

"A great deal of the care of mental health patients is done in community settings," she said.

Gear said Granite House has been looking for a large mental health provider to link with for several months.

Sheppard Pratt was at the top of its list, he said, because it is nonprofit and local.

"We feel the managed care world will be more dominant in the future and we needed to have a regional partnership," said Gear.

Although Granite House is linking with a large health system, Gear insists that not many things will change.

"The basic idea is that the local control of the agency will remain in place," he said.

While Sheppard Pratt officials will sit on Granite House's board, Gear said he expects them to voice opinions only on issues involving "large amounts of money" or "changes in direction."

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