Our Story

For more than 25 years, Community Behavioral Health has been expanding access to mental health services for Philadelphians. Explore our stories of progress, partnership, and community as we advance our vision of a healthy, thriving Philadelphia.

Our Mission





Access. Quality. Accountability.

CBH provides access to high-quality, accountable care to improve the health and mental wellness of our members.

Our First Day

The energy and commitment of our first day of operations in 1997 still flows through everything we do.

This Is CBH

We approach healthcare differently—for our members, providers, and the city of Philadelphia.


We Care.

We value and appreciate our staff and service providers, believing that a healthy, happy workforce creates healthy, happy members. We show our appreciation regularly and listen to concerns. We also care deeply for the overall health of Philadelphians, knowing that a vibrant, thriving, resilient city hinges upon healthy citizens.

We Empower.

We are here for our employees, members, and partners. We are open and transparent, encouraging dialogue and fostering growth so we can all be our best, healthiest selves.

We Connect.

We’re updating our processes and technology to better serve our community and communicate more effectively and efficiently. We cultivate two-way communication, sharing our appreciation for our staff and welcoming feedback from them.

We Lead.

Behavioral and mental wellness is our passion, and we are experts in the field. We have been serving the Philadelphia community since 1997, and we know the industry. We cultivate close working relationships with our partners, who are also leaders in the mental health field. We are open to change and innovation to ensure the highest standard of care for all.


Leading innovation in whole-person care for healthy, thriving communities.




A Legacy of Caring

Origins (1980s)

Founding (1997)

Present Day

  • Mid-1980s

    Research on managed care lays the groundwork for CBH. 

  • October 1986

    Philadelphia receives a $13 million grant for long-term mental healthcare from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • 1987

    An investigation uncovers terrible conditions at Byberry, the Philadelphia State Hospital, underscoring the need for an evolution in managed behavioral healthcare.

  • 1990

    Byberry closes. Estelle Richman and Sandy Vasko, key figures in the story of CBH’s founding, both assist with the process of deinstitutionalization.

  • 1994

    Pennsylvania announces plans to privatize the management of Medicaid. Activists fight for a “carve-out” on behavioral health, supported by a blue-ribbon commission in 1996.

  • 1994

    CBH is incorporated, though we won’t open for business until 1997. Pat Bass serves as our first executive director.

  • 1996

    Pennsylvania officially awards CBH contracts to administer mental and behavioral health for Medicaid recipients.

  • 1997

    On Feb. 1, CBH opens for business with phones ringing off the hook.

  • 1997

    CBH funds services for 48,000 members in our first year.

  • 2000

    Nancy Lucas becomes chief executive of CBH.

  • 2003

    CBH launches a school-based behavioral health program.

  • 2005

    CBH launches Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), a pay-for-performance system to elevate standards and quality of care.

  • 2007

    At the 10-year mark, CBH doubles our number of members served.

  • 2013

    Joan Erney becomes chief executive of CBH in February.

  • 2013

    EPIC, the Evidence-based Practice and Innovation Center, is launched.

  • 2015

    Pennsylvania expands Medicaid, bringing new members into the CBH fold.

  • 2020

    The COVID-19 pandemic redefines the need for and shape of behavioral healthcare. CBH maintains access to much-needed services in Philadelphia.

  • 2020

    Dr. Faith Dyson-Washington becomes the new CEO of CBH.

  • 2022

    CBH celebrates 25 years of being Philadelphia’s key to mental wellness. Since 1997, we have ensured that more than 500,000 Philadelphians have had access to mental health treatment.


Explore More

CBH Profiles: Estelle Richman

Founder of CBH and a passionate healthcare ally.

CBH Profiles: Laura DeRiggi

Delivering inspired healthcare solutions for members.

CBH’s Impact

Making a difference in people’s lives.

What Does Access to Quality Mean?

Connecting members to treatment.

What Is Whole Person Care?

Recognizing that every dimension of a person and community’s health matters.