– Joins with Preferred Family Healthcare and becomes part of Brightli, Inc. network –

ST. LOUIS (Feb. 23, 2024) – Today, Places for People announced its intent to partner with Springfield, Missouri-based Brightli, Inc., to expand behavioral healthcare for the St. Louis region. Places for People will be the second entity under the Brightli umbrella in greater St. Louis, joining Preferred Family Healthcare. Places for People will remain an independent entity, operating under its same name and serving its existing areas of St. Louis City and County.

Places for People and Preferred Family Healthcare will come together to make up Brightli’s Greater St. Louis region, significantly increasing behavioral healthcare services in the area. Together the organizations will serve more than 11,200 people, operate 29 clinical and residential locations in six counties, and employ approximately 700 people.

The partnership is anticipated to be finalized this summer, with a formal go-live effective July 1, 2024. Under the agreement, Places for People joins a network of four other behavioral and community health providers across the Midwest (including Preferred Family Healthcare), as member organizations of Brightli. As a Brightli affiliate, Places for People will receive administrative resources and support from the parent organization and expand behavioral healthcare access to St. Louisans. 

In conjunction with this move, Tony Hilkin will be named Chief Executive Officer of Places for People. Current CEO Laura McCallister will become the Executive Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis in the Brightli system. Hilkin will also serve as President of Brightli’s Greater St. Louis Region.

“This partnership will allow us to deliver high-quality services to more people than ever before while preserving and growing Places for People’s legacy,” Hilkin said. “Places for People and Preferred Family Healthcare will partner to serve the St. Louis region more effectively. Together we will build on the synergies of each organization to have a bigger impact on some of the most critical issues facing our region. I’m incredibly excited about what this means for the future of behavioral health services in St. Louis.”

“Places for People provides lifesaving services every day, as my family has experienced firsthand,” said Andy Schmitz, Places for People board member. “I’m excited about this partnership because Places for People will be able to serve more people who desperately need their services. Joining the Brightli network and partnering with Preferred Family Healthcare means Places for People will be able to continue its impactful work for years to come.” 

Places for People will work with Preferred Family Healthcare in Brightli’s Greater St. Louis Region. Preferred Family Healthcare operates 21 clinical and residential locations in the St. Louis region including a walk-in Sobering Center on Dunnica Avenue, which opened in 2022. 

“We are thrilled to join forces with Places for People to expand access to vital mental health and substance use services,” said Cori Putz, Interim Regional President of Brightli’s Greater St. Louis Region, who will continue to serve alongside Hilkin as Chief Operating Officer. “By combining our expertise and resources, we are better positioned to meet the growing demand for comprehensive care for individuals, their families, and the communities of the Greater St. Louis region.” 

Places for People joins Burrell Behavioral Health, Preferred Family Healthcare, Southeast Missouri Behavioral Health, and a handful of smaller subsidiaries under the Brightli umbrella. Burrell Behavioral Health and Preferred Family Healthcare provide a full behavioral health (CMHC) and community health (FQHC) continuum, including dental services, as well as a significant developmental disability services operation across Missouri. Brightli serves more than 100,000 individuals with total annual revenues of around $500 million, making it the nation’s fourth-largest nonprofit behavioral health organization by total revenue.

“Joining forces with an organization with the reputation and legacy of Places for People is an outstanding opportunity for Brightli and the people of St. Louis,” said Brightli CEO Dr. C.J. Davis. “By adding services in the heart of St. Louis, I truly feel we are creating the most accessible and high-quality network of mental health services in the Midwest, if not the nation.”

About Places for People: Since 1972, Places for People has provided a human approach to health and healing, with a focus on mental and physical health, as well as substance use disorders. The organization, which is one of the few Certified Community Behavioral Health Organizations (CBHO) in St. Louis City or County, has approximately 360 employees and serves more than 2,800 people in ongoing services each year. Learn more at www.placesforpeople.org.

About Preferred Family Healthcare: For 38 years, Preferred Family Healthcare has been committed to improving the health and wellness of the communities we serve by offering a full continuum of integrated health services. Currently, PFH has locations throughout Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, and Oklahoma. PFH strives to serve the whole person by focusing on emotional and physical health and wellness, as well as addressing other needs that may present barriers to success. Learn more at www.pfh.org.

About Brightli: Brightli, Inc.’s subsidiaries include Burrell Behavioral Health, Preferred Family Healthcare, and Southeast Missouri Behavioral Health. While these organizations operate independently and are governed by separate boards of directors, their operations and services benefit from this parent-company model, which allows them to collaborate, share resources and system supports, increase recruiting and retention efforts, increase access to specialized care, and meet the growing demand for behavioral and addiction recovery care. Learn more at www.livebrightli.org.


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