Walden partners with Pyramid Health Care

CALIFORNIA, Md. - Since 1973, Walden’s presence in the Southern Maryland community has provided help and hope to those impacted by crisis, trauma, substance use or mental health concerns.  Walden is proud of our history of modifying and increasing services as the needs of our community have evolved.   As an organization, we believe in quality treatment and strive to provide premier behavioral health services to Southern Maryland.  We now want to bring additional services to Southern Maryland as well as share our successful model with other Maryland communities in need of quality behavioral health services.  In keeping with the dynamic nature of our organization and our values and goals, we are pleased to announce that Walden is partnering with Pyramid Healthcare, Inc.

Pyramid Healthcare, Inc. is a premier provider of behavioral health care founded in 1999. Today, Pyramid Healthcare employs a staff of over 2,000 and operates 78 facilities and 6 Autism schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and North Carolina.  Pyramid offers a variety of treatment, education and recovery services for adults and teens through a network of residential and outpatient substance use , mental health and eating disorder facilities.

Pyramid facilities are CARF Accredited,  are a long-standing member of the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA), and share Walden’s commitment to excellence, support of CARF certification, and the unique set of services that link community members to a full continuum of behavioral health treatment and recovery access. 

Walden leadership sees the decision to join Pyramid Healthcare as a new opportunity to expand and improve behavioral health services for our community.  “Walden has long been a leader in the provision of a comprehensive continuum of care, and we hope to grow our brand in other communities around the state. We have much to be proud of and believe this partnership allows us to build on our strong foundation”, commented Kathy O’Brien, PhD., Walden’s CEO of 45 years.    Walden was among the first behavioral health providers in the country to link a therapeutic screening and response to trauma to their substance use treatment services.  This is now considered a national best practice.  “We are proud of our 45 year history of providing “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow” and our future will build on and honor our keystone belief in responding to community needs”, said O’Brien.

From humble beginnings to their current status as a nationally recognized organization, Walden’s commitment to providing community members the service excellence that they deserve remains unchanged. “The times have changed, however, and we must grow and change to respond to the ever increasing complexity and acuity of health needs experienced by the people in the communities we are privileged to serve.   With the changes in public funding and the ever increasing need for quality treatment, the Board of Directors and Leadership have sought to make sure we have mission sustainability, financial viability and the ability to expand our wonderful services.  This partnership accomplishes all three,” said Kathleen O’Brien.

Walden believes this partnership is a gift to our community that will ensure that they can “ride the tide of change” and bring additional services to our community.   Walden leadership sincerely thanks the community for its past and present support of our programs.   Community members with general questions about this change can contact Dr. O’Brien at  Clinical services questions may be directed to Betsy Lenhart-Cooksey, Clinical Services Officer, at  Questions regarding community outreach and services may be directed to Laura Webb, Recovery Support Director, at

Some Anticipated Questions with Answers:

What, if any, Walden services will change?  Walden will continue to provide our full range of inpatient and outpatient substance use treatment, outpatient mental health treatment, and recovery support/peer services.  Walden is in the process of turning over our programming offering free crisis and trauma services to the best community partners possible to assume these services for victims of domestic violence sexual assault and violent crime. 

Will all facility sites remain open?  Yes.

Will there be changes in cost of services to community members?  Walden will continue to accept all insurance carriers we currently partner with as well as pursue the opportunity to be in network with additional carriers.  It is our ongoing goal to remove financial barriers to accessing behavioral healthcare.  Peer recovery support services will remain available at no cost.

Will there be fewer or more staff providing services at Walden?  We anticipate that there will be continuity of staff and services with an expansion of staff and services over time.

Will Walden remain a non-profit?   Walden will no longer be a non-profit organization, although operations will continue under the Walden name.  Walden Sierra will become a foundation that will honor the tradition of Walden’s role in the community by providing hotline services as well as promoting research and best practices in behavioral health treatment.

Will control of Walden’s services remain local?  Yes.  Dr. O’Brien (, Clinical Services Officer Betsy Lenhart-Cooksey (, and Recovery Support Director Laura Webb ( will be staying on with Walden.  Pyramid will be bringing in a Chief Operations Officer to assist with blending the organizations.

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