Florida Blue parent takes majority stake in mental health provider

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GuideWell, the parent company of Florida Blue, signed an agreement Nov. 2 to become a majority shareholder in New Directions Behavioral Health, a managed mental health organization based in Leawood, Kan.

Under the transaction, GuideWell will acquire all interests from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas and BlueCross Blue Shield of Louisiana remain minority shareholders of New Directions. 

New Directions provides managed mental health services, employee and student assistance programs, organizational consulting, and health coaching to private and public health plans. The behavioral health firm doubled its membership in the last five years to more than 16 million members.

New Directions will continue to independently operate and keep its customers.

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