Southwest Behavioral & Health Services, Southwest Human Development and Touchstone Health Services Partner with Mercy Care Plan and Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care To Open Four Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Centers of Excellence in the Valley

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Left to right: Dr. Ramiro Guillen, chief medical officer, Southwest Behavioral & Health Services; Jeff Jorde, president/CEO, Southwest Behavioral & Health Services; Eddy Broadway, chief executive officer, Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care; Kellie Bynum, program director – SACE, Southwest Behavioral & Health Services; Ginger Ward, chief executive officer, Southwest Human Development; and Steven Sheets, VP outpatient services Maricopa & Gila County, Southwest Behavioral & Health Services

(PHOENIX – October 4, 2017) Recognizing the need to provide a whole-health approach to diagnosing and treating autism spectrum disorder, Mercy Care Plan and Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care have selected the partnership of Southwest Behavioral & Health Services and Southwest Human Development to serve as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) Centers of Excellence throughout the Valley. Mercy has also entered into a partnership with Touchstone Health Services to serve as an ASD Center of Excellence as well.

Whole-health care is about offering comprehensive, integrated medical, developmental, and mental health/behavioral services which meet the needs of the individual as a whole.

Community members, parents and clinicians gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the four Valley locations:

  • Southwest Human Development (Birth to 5): 2850 N. 24th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85008
  • Southwest Behavioral & Health Services (6 Through Adulthood): 11221 N. 28th Drive, Building E, Phoenix, AZ 85029
  • Southwest Behavioral & Health Services (6 Through Adulthood): 1255 W. Baseline Road, #138, Mesa, AZ 85202
  • Touchstone Health Services: 3602 E. Greenway Rd., Suite 102, Phoenix, AZ 85032

The centers will coordinate care and services across multiple systems to ensure families receive effective and efficient care. These services include:

  • Diagnostic screening for ASD and developmental screening
  • Comprehensive team assessments
  • Evidenced-based, intervention services to address  medical, developmental, and mental health/behavioral needs associated with or impacted by ASD

“On average, children in Arizona receive a diagnosis for autism spectrum disorder nearly two years later in life than the national average,” said Tad Gary, chief operating officer, Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care. “To help address the need for better access to care, Mercy Care Plan and Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care have selected these three partners to serve as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) Centers of Excellence, providing our members, and families throughout the Valley, with access to providers and services that can diagnose and provide care and support for autism spectrum disorders.”

A Center of Excellence is a facility and/or program that is recognized as providing the highest level of leadership, quality and service.

“This partnership gives us a tremendous opportunity to enhance diagnostic and treatment outcomes for individuals who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” said Dr. Ramiro Guillen, chief medical officer, Southwest Behavioral & Health Services. “The centers will also work with the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities, Primary Care Physicians and the Arizona Department of Education, to coordinate care and provide families with additional support if needed.”

About Southwest Behavioral & Health Services:

Incorporated in 1974 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Southwest Behavioral & Health Services provides services in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, rural Maricopa County, Gila, Mohave, Coconino, and Yavapai counties. Our Mission: “We inspire people to feel better and reach their potential. Through helping people discover their strengths, we improve our communities.” SB&H is a leader in development and delivery of services in the areas of housing, residential care, prevention services, outpatient services to children, incarcerated persons and dually diagnosed adults (SMI/SA). An innovative leader in behavioral health, services are client directed-outcome informed, evidence-based and include treatment of co-occurring disorders, the FAST model in prevention services, the Arizona Treatment Initiative for children and families, and the Recovery Model for persons with serious mental illness. For more information on SB&H, please visit;

About Southwest Human Development

Founded in 1981, Southwest Human Development’s mission is to strengthen the foundation Arizona’s children need for a great start in life. Our vision is a positive future for every child. The agency is recognized as a leader in providing comprehensive services for children ages birth through 5 and their families in five primary areas:  Child Development and Mental Health; Easterseals Disabilities Services; Early Literacy and Head Start; Child Welfare; and Professional Development and Training. Southwest Human Development is Arizona's largest nonprofit dedicated to early childhood development, with a staff of over 900 serving more than 135,000 young children and their families each year. Our Children’s Developmental offers integrated medical, developmental, and mental health services to young children with complex developmental disorders and their families. Special areas of expertise include fragile infants – graduates of Newborn Intensive Care Units, and children with autism spectrum disorders, feeding disorders, and developmental delays secondary to trauma or abuse. Learn more at

About Touchstone Health Services

Touchstone Health Services has a long history of serving children and families in Arizona since 1968. Today, Touchstone partners with individuals, families, schools and other service providers to deliver the optimal continuum of health, education and social services, with an emphasis on services that support individuals and families to acquire the skills to live productive and responsible lives.

About Mercy Care Plan and Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care

Mercy Care Plan and Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care are non-profit health plans serving AHCCCS members throughout Arizona. Owned by Dignity Health and Ascension Health, Mercy Care Plan has served Medicaid members since 1985. Mercy Care Plan serves families, children, seniors, and people with physical and developmental/cognitive disabilities. Mercy Care Plan is also an owner of Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care, the Regional Behavioral Health Authority in Maricopa County and the first RBHA in Arizona to offer integrated physical and behavioral health services to persons determined to have a serious mental illness. Mercy Maricopa manages the public behavioral health system in Maricopa County and parts of Pinal County. They have a wide network of community providers that serve members and give them the support they need to reach their recovery goals.

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