Treatment and Recovery Center of Douglas County’s executive and medical director steps down; interim leader takes over

photo by: Kim Callahan/Journal-World

The Treatment and Recovery Center of Douglas County is pictured on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.

Dr. George Thompson, the executive and medical director of Douglas County’s troubled behavioral health crisis center project, has stepped down from his position, the nonprofit guiding the center announced in a news release Friday.

According to the release from the nonprofit, Behavioral Health Partners, new interim leadership is already in place to fill Thompson’s position, and there is a plan to permanently fill the position by early 2023.

Dr. Cord Huston, a staff psychiatrist and director of the University of Kansas’ adult psychiatry residency at Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, will serve as the interim director of the crisis center, known as the Treatment and Recovery Center of Douglas County. He’ll receive backup support from Dr. Nana Dadson, Bert Nash’s chief medical officer. Meanwhile, executive leadership will be shared by the Behavioral Health Partners board of directors, in collaboration with Bert Nash and the crisis center’s current leadership team under the direction of director of operations Santana Taylor.

Many problems have recently been brought to light involving the Treatment and Recovery Center, which has yet to open. In October, the Journal-World obtained documents from LMH Health that showed that Douglas County had discussions with an out-of-state for-profit company, Connections Health Solutions, to possibly oversee the center instead of Behavioral Health Partners. County officials later said that Behavioral Health Partners had failed to meet a number of deadlines related to the center.

At a County Commission meeting in mid-October, County Administrator Sarah Plinsky said that Behavioral Health Partners missed a contractual obligation to open the center over the summer, and that the nonprofit had yet to submit a budget to county staff. Then, on Nov. 10, Plinsky shared a list of 26 deadlines and deliverables that the county had requested from the nonprofit that were still outstanding.

Thompson was originally hired to serve as the facility’s medical director in November of 2021, then agreed to serve as both medical and executive director in February 2022. He told the board on Wednesday about his plan to step down, according to the release. The release said he wanted more free time to finish writing a book.

“While there have been challenges to opening the TRC, I am honored to have played a leadership role in establishing this incredible facility for the Douglas County community,” Thompson said in the release. “After obtaining a private psychiatric hospital license, hiring 40-plus staff and increasing annual funding for the center from $3 million to $9 million, it is time for me to pass the torch to the next team, which will continue the good work we’ve started.”

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

LMH Health CEO Russ Johnson; Laura Howard, the Secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services; Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center CEO Patrick Schmitz; Dr. George Thompson, the center’s executive director and medical director; Douglas County Commissioner Shannon Reid; and Bob Tryanski, the director of behavioral health projects for Douglas County, are pictured from left to right, as Thompson cuts the ribbon on the Treatment and Recover Center of Douglas County..


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