Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Deborah L. Stephens is Founder/Chairman/ CEO of Behavioral Health Systems, Inc.  Since 1989 BHS has provided a comprehensive range of Mental Health/Substance Abuse services to business and industry nationally, including a specialized 17,000+ member PPO, care management thru carve-out plans, employee assistance, drug testing, education & training, wellness, et al. BHS covers over 500,000 persons.

The former CFO/COO of a physical rehab hospital system in Milwaukee for 11+ yrs, Stephens is a graduate of the University of Iowa. She completed the Western Institute of Healthcare Executive Program at the University of CA-Berkeley. Stephens has achieved national recognition in healthcare startups and reorgs, zero base budgeting, strategic planning and finance.

Stephens was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top entrepreneurs in the nation. She has been an active director on over 8 governing boards, has authored and conducted numerous articles/presentations nationally, and served on a DHHS advisory committee for prospective payment issues.

Medical Director

Patterson has been with the company since 1992 and has over 40 years’ experience in the medical field specializing in psychiatric conditions. Patterson is double board certified in psychiatry and neurology.

Patterson has served as Vice Chairman & Director of Psychiatry Training for the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).  He has also served as the Director of the UAB Anxiety Disorders Program, Adult Outpatient Psychiatry Services, and Psychiatry Residency Training Program.

Patterson completed his undergraduate degree in Pre-Med (Psychology) at the University of Alabama and his medical degree in Psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  He also completed a medical internship and psychiatric residency program at Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco.

President, Safety First Division

Cooner is President, Safety First, a division of Behavioral Health Systems, Inc.  He has been with the company since 1996. Cooner’s 40 years of experience include 19 years working for a national reference laboratory in various management-level positions. He was the Regional Director for LabCorp America, specializing in medical technology.

He maintains several certifications including American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) and the Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) certification for medical technology. He is certified as the only Substance Abuse Program Administrator (SAPA) in Alabama. Cooner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospital Administration and is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Executive Vice President & Chief Clinical Officer (CCO)

Strange has been with BHS since 1997 and has over 25 years of experience in the behavioral health field. At BHS, Strange manages both the Clinical Services division and Corporate Relations division.  Additionally, he serves as the primary liaison for new and current clients, and related brokers.

Strange completed his undergraduate work in Psychology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He then obtained his Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The focus of his MSW curriculum was on clinical work with mental health populations. Strange has been a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) since 1996.

Executive Vice President & Chief Information Officer (CIO)

Covington has more than 25 years’ experience as an information technology executive. At BHS, he oversees all information technology aspects of the company including system administration as well as programming and development, eligibility maintenance and technical support. He is the original author of many of the systems that BHS uses today and continues to make enhancements to better support BHS clients. He manages and writes all interfaces between BHS and its clients and is responsible for all data integrity for the various systems BHS utilizes.

Before re-joining BHS, Covington managed system development for all U.S. government-funded clinical trial and drug research at Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD), a leading clinical research organization.

Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing/Corporate Relations Officer (CMO)

Flanagan joined BHS in 2006 as Director, Public Relations.  At BHS, she manages the day-to-day activities of the Corporate Relations and BHS A.S.S.I.S.T. divisions and directs BHS’ community and public relations presence.

In her corporate relations role, Flanagan serves as the BHS client contact for BHS’ managed care companies.  She is instrumental in ensuring BHS’ client satisfaction and retention rate of 92%+.

Previously, Flanagan served in various advertising and public relations roles at Luckie & Company and the Zimmerman Agency. She has a bachelor of science degree from Florida State University.

Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Cannon has been with BHS since 2012 and has more than 20 years’ experience in accounting. At BHS, she is responsible for oversight of financial reporting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, contract analysis, client reporting, audits and divisional budgets.

Before joining BHS, Cannon served in various accounting roles at Hospice Compassus, Books-A-Million and United Healthcare. Cannon has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Senior Vice President, Administrative Services & Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)

Millican has been with BHS since 2008 and has more than 20 years of experience in administration. At BHS, she is responsible for all aspects of BHS administration including office operations, human resources and payroll. In addition, she also provides administrative support to the CEO. She oversees the clinical administration support division as well as the provider credentialing division.

Before joining BHS, Millican worked in brokerage and administration with Merrill Lynch, Royal Cup Coffee and Caremark Rx. She earned her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) designation and is involved in the National and Birmingham chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.