Variety Care and NorthCare enter strategic alignment

Oklahoma City – Variety Care, Oklahoma's largest community health center, proudly announces it has entered a strategic alignment with NorthCare, a leading provider of behavioral health services for Oklahomans living with mental illness, trauma and addiction.

 According to the Delta Center, 80 percent of Oklahomans who seek primary care note mental health is a concern. Variety Care and NorthCare are coming together under an aligned structure to honor the strengths of both organizations and set the stage for collaborative care for patients and consumers across the state.

“Our goal is to meet people where they are,” said Lou Carmichael, president and CEO of Variety Care and the newly aligned entity. “Coming together bolsters our ability to provide whole-being care for the individuals we serve”, she added.

 The Variety Care Board of Directors, which will now include members of the existing NorthCare Board of Directors, will oversee both organizations. This community-based, consumer-majority Board has named Lou Carmichael president and CEO of the aligned entities. Randy Tate, the CEO of NorthCare, will serve as Director, Strategic Integration Projects, for the aligned entities. Sally Kerr, Variety Care’s director of Integrated Health Services, has been named Executive Director of NorthCare. These changes are effective June 15.

 The integration of primary care, mental health and community-based services is a growing trend. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) studies show reduced emergency room visits and better health overall among patients who participate in an integrated health care model connected to community services such as food, housing, and transportation.

 “Data shows that individuals who struggle with severe and persistent mental health illness have a 25-year shorter life expectancy than the general population,” said Randy Tate. “By bringing primary care, behavioral health, and community-based services together, we’re able to change those outcomes for the better,” Tate added.

 “The time has come for collaborative partnerships and alignment of community-based services as Oklahoma has entered into Medicaid Managed Care,” said Carmichael. “This gives us the opportunity to align around value-based care,” she added.

 The new governance structure aims to bring improved health outcomes as patients will have more access to critical behavioral health interventions and receiving whole-person care.

 “Having partnered together in various community collaboratives and being committed to the integration of community-based services, the alignment of these two organizations is a natural fit for our envisioned work together,” said Jason Pledger, chair of the Variety Care Board of Directors and vice president, chief experience officer with American Fidelity.

 “Our mission is to serve more people and to find better ways to help Oklahomans access to services they need,” Pledger added.

 For more information on Variety Care, please visit To schedule an appointment, please call (405) 632-6688.

 About Variety Care, Inc. Variety Care, Inc. is Oklahoma’s largest community health center with 20 sites in central and western Oklahoma, and two new sites opening soon in Norman and Yukon. Variety Care serves approximately 84,000 patients annually and provides comprehensive and coordinated social services to over 200,000 people through face-to-face and group visits. A United Way partner agency, Variety Care serves all and strives to make health care affordable and accessible for everyone. The Variety Care Foundation provides philanthropic support and community awareness for Variety Care and its efforts. For more information, please visit

 About NorthCare NorthCare is a place for hope and recovery. Known locally and nationally, the center delivers innovative and effective services for individuals and families.

Incorporated as a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit in 1980, NorthCare is governed by a community-based board of directors. Located in the heart of Oklahoma, the center provides social services and behavioral health care to the community while ensuring care to those most in need.