Behind the List with Will Isemann, CEO of KidsPeace

Services that offer real value

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Health care services are vast throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley.

From small private clinics to the large nonprofit hospitals and health networks in the area, the services offered in our communities are predominant. One company that's headquartered in the Lehigh Valley has been operating for 132 years, and it's showing signs for growth in the area and beyond.

Here to answer this week's "Behind the List" questions and give insight into mental and behavioral health services is Will Isemann, CEO of KidsPeace in Orefield.

Lehigh Valley Business: How long has KidsPeace been operating in the Greater Lehigh Valley and what are its primary services?

Will Isemann: KidsPeace was founded in Bethlehem in 1882, operating as an orphanage. Over the years, KidsPeace has grown and added services, caring for children and adults with behavioral and mental health issues. While KidsPeace maintains its corporate offices in the Lehigh Valley, we now operate in 10 states on the East Coast, in the Midwest and in Nevada.

LVB: With the costs of health care continuously on the rise, what strategies has KidsPeace implemented to provide affordable care to children and families in need?

Isemann: It has become very difficult to continue to support all of our programming because reimbursement for services has not kept pace with the cost of operations.

We have sold assets and closed programs to stay competitive. We pay attention to the market and try to develop more effective programming for the communities we serve.

We have a continuing commitment to provide the most crucial and necessary services for children and families.

LVB: What have been some of the biggest hardships and opportunities KidsPeace has encountered throughout its years in business?

Isemann: KidsPeace has recently been restructuring its operations to become more cost effective. The biggest challenge is that we have had to terminate our defined benefit pension plan and restructure our long- term bond obligations. This has proven to be very time-consuming and difficult for our employees and our investors.

Our opportunity for the future is that we will emerge from this restructuring financially stronger with the ability to grow as we begin to offer services to other client populations and grow our current services.

LVB: How does KidsPeace directly affect the local economy of the Greater Lehigh Valley?

Isemann: KidsPeace is the 20th largest employer in the Lehigh Valley. We employ approximately 1,200 people who maintain homes, provide a living for their families and pay taxes.

KidsPeace is growing by adding new services in Bethlehem and in several of our outpatient locations.

LVB: What does the future look like for KidsPeace on a local level? Does it have plans for growth?

Isemann: Mental and behavioral services are important in our society today with the pressures of maintaining or preparing for a career, taking care of our families, paying our bills and just trying to get by in life. Life has a way of creating pressures that, at times, are overwhelming.

KidsPeace is dedicated to taking care of children and families when the pressure gets too great, to help people maintain a productive and healthy life.

We intend to grow, to offer services that offer real value for people and to continue to support our communities. We were founded here in the Lehigh Valley and we are committed to the Valley. Our growth is here, our commitment is here.

Compiled by christopher holland

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland is a researcher for Lehigh Valley Business and blogs on arts and entertainment in the region.

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