Executive Leadership

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Stephens is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Behavioral Health Systems, Inc. (BHS). Established in 1989 as a privately held corporation headquartered in Birmingham, AL, her organization created and administers a national preferred provider organization of 70,000+ behavioral health-related hospitals, physicians and professionals. BHS administers the mental health, substance abuse and employee assistance program benefits on behalf of 600+ employers and 500,000+ beneficiaries nationwide. In addition to overseeing the care provided through this network and processing all claims between the employer-client and BHS providers, the organization offers complementary behavioral health-related programs and services including drug testing, wellness, education & training, and behavioral workers’ comp. Ms. Stephens became a principal shareholder of BHS in 2015 and has been chairman of the board of directors since inception. Read more.

Medical Director

William Patterson is medical director for BHS. He has been with the company since 1992 and has over 40 years’ experience in the medical field specializing in psychiatric conditions. He is double board certified in psychiatry and neurology and is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Patterson has served as vice chairman and professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He has also served as director of the UAB Anxiety Disorders Program, Adult Outpatient Psychiatry Services and Psychiatry Residency Training Program at UAB. Read more.

Clinical Consultant

Willis Estis, Ed.D., LPC  has been with BHS since 1995 in the role of independent clinical consultant. In addition to providing clinical quality reviews of complex outpatient cases, Dr. Estis collaborates directly with BHS’ Medical Director and clinical staff in the development of patient care plans. He has over 40 years of experience in the mental health field providing services to a broad patient population. His professional experience includes work in acute care hospital settings and substance use disorder treatment facilities. Additionally, Dr. Estis has provided evaluation and treatment to individuals, couples and families in an outpatient setting. Read more.

Medical Director, Safety First Division

Steven Allen, M.D. is the medical director, Safety First division. He has been with the company since 2007 and has over 30 years experience in the medical field, specializing in family and occupational medicine. At BHS, Dr. Allen oversees all aspects of Safety First’s medical review services while providing quality assurance review of the drug testing process. He ensures the accuracy and integrity of lab results by determining if there are legitimate medical explanations for laboratory-confirmed positive, altered and/or invalid drug test results. Dr. Allen works daily with Safety First’s administrative staff to review complex tests and provide guidance to ensure quality. He also works directly with the president of Safety First to review appropriate procedures and policies. Read more.

Medical Review Officer, Safety First Division

Cheryl Szabo, M.D. is medical review officer, Safety First division. She has 25 years  of experience in emergency medicine, occupational health and family medicine. At BHS, Dr. Szabo assists the medical director in medical review services on behalf of Safety First’s client base. She ensures the accuracy and integrity of lab results and works closely with Safety First’s administrative staff to ensure accuracy and quality. Dr. Szabo currently serves as a physician with WorkDOT 1st. Additionally, she has experience as a medical director, onsite, for large employers. She also has experience as a staff physician in the emergency medicine and urgent care sector. Read more.

President, Safety First Division

Danny Cooner is the president, Safety First division. He has been with the company since 1996, serving in various leadership capacities within the division. Mr. Cooner’s current responsibilities include complete oversight of the drug and alcohol management and testing division. Additionally, he oversees the implementation of strategic marketing plans to ensure growth of Safety First. Under his direction, Safety First continues to see record growth year-over-year. Additionally, he serves as primary contact to many of Safety First’s largest clients including Caterpillar, Lamar Advertising and Coca-Cola United. Read more.


Executive Vice President & Chief Clinical Officer (CCO)

Kyle Strange, LICSW is the executive vice president & chief clinical/quality officer (CCO) at BHS. He has been with BHS since 1997 and has served as the company’s chief clinical officer since 2012. Mr. Strange manages operations of the clinical services division, serves over quality assurance and compliance activities and oversees BHS’ PPO network development division. Mr. Strange also serves on multiple BHS committees including the credentialing committee alongside BHS’ medical director and senior vice president, administrative services & chief human resource officer. Read more.

Executive Vice President &
Chief Operations Officer / Chief Financial Officer (COO/CFO)

Tina Cannon is executive vice president &
chief operations officer / chief financial officer (COO/CFO) and has been with BHS since 2012. In her role at BHS, Ms. Cannon oversees all operations of the organization’s fiscal division. Additionally, she oversees BHS’ claims administration and plays a primary role in fiscal operations for BHS’ Safety First division. Ms. Cannon also serves on the Board of Directors at BHS. She has been instrumental in leading corporate expansion efforts alongside BHS’ marketing and corporate relations divisions. She assists in all sales efforts to provide competitive pricing and comprehensive bids and RFPs. Read more.

Executive Vice President & Chief Information Officer (CIO)

Todd A. Cox is executive vice president & chief information officer (CIO) at BHS. Mr. Cox oversees the information technology aspects of the company including system administration as well as programming and development, eligibility maintenance and technical support. Mr. Cox has over 30 years of IT experience including software development, database administration and large-scale IT operations. Included in his experience is more than 20 years with a medical record software development company where he was chief technology officer, leading efforts to be one of the first three vendors in the country to achieve CCHIT certification. Read more.

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

Shannon Goff Flanagan is executive vice president & chief marketing/corporate relations officer (CMO). She has been with BHS since 2006. At BHS, Ms. Flanagan manages the day-to-day activities of the corporate relations and marketing divisions, directs BHS’ community and public relations presence and oversees BHS’ ancillary services including BHS A.S.S.I.S.T., Wellness First and Behavioral Comp Management. Among Ms. Flanagan’s accomplishments are maintaining a 85+% client retention rate among BHS’ book-of-business and direct oversight of the sales, implementation and account management of BHS’ national membership as well as the State of Alabama employee assistance program provided to 65,000 state employees and their families. Read more.

Senior Vice President, Operations Safety First Division

Jeffrey “Jeff” Hill is senior vice president, operations, Safety First division. Jeff is an accomplished human resources executive with extensive experience in building a best-in-class organizations. He holds an MRO-A (Medical Review Officer Administrator) certification from the Medical Review Officer Certification Council (MROCC). Mr. Hill has over 30 years of comprehensive, hands-on operations, HR and sales experience. Within BHS’ Safety First division, Mr. Hill leads all operations related to drug and alcohol management, and testing administration including corporate/client relations, quality control and assurance, compliance as well as personnel management. He also has extensive knowledge of DOT and FAA drug and alcohol testing regulations as he assists employers on maintaining compliance within their workforces. Read more.

Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Safety First Division

Liz Slater is senior vice president & chief marketing officer (CMO), Safety First division. Liz is directly responsible for all Safety First marketing and sales efforts including on-boarding, implementation and account management. She also works in collaboration with the president, Safety First division in the management of operations. With 22 years’ experience, Ms. Slater has extensive knowledge related to all facets of employment screening program management. She has been instrumental in the growth of Safety First over the past several years. Her national marketing presence has expanded Safety First’s client base to include Fortune 50 and Fortune 100 companies as well as membership in national organizations including SAPAA and NDASA. Read more.