KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Netsmart Technologies, a growing New York-based health care information technology firm, is relocating its headquarters to the Kansas City area, creating 130 jobs to start and with the goal of hiring 520 people locally within five years.
Netsmart, whose CEO Michael Valentine was a top Cerner executive until last spring, announced its decision to relocate the firm's headquarters Friday at the annual luncheon of the Kansas City Area Development Council.
Netsmart's primary niche is providing IT services to organizations and agencies in the mental health field.
The 40-year-old firm has more than 18,000 client organizations using its health care information technology services and just this week won a $93 million contract with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Last month, it purchased Sequest Technologies, an Illinois-based health care-record software provider for mental health organizations.
Valentine worked for Cerner for 13 years and was chief operating officer before leaving the North Kansas City-based health care technology giant last May to run Netsmart. He has continued living in Kansas City while managing Netsmart. Another Netsmart executive, chief operating officer Tom Herzog, also was a former senior executive at Cerner.
Those connections played a key role in the decision to move the company headquarters here, Valentine said.
"I live here, and I think it's a great place to recruit the kind of human resources we need to build out our organization," he said.
Bob Marcusse, president and CEO of the KCADC, the organization charged with marketing the Kansas City region for business opportunities, said Netsmart has not decided on a location for its new operating center and future corporate headquarters, but is looking at sites on both sides of the state line and expects to make a decision soon.
It currently has temporary offices in Overland Park.
"Any time a community can attract both the headquarters and operations center of a company like Netsmart on the cutting edge of health care technology, it's a huge win," Marcusse said.
"We're blessed we already have a deep and rich culture in the health care information technology industry with Cerner here. This is a significant addition to that sector."
Right now, Netsmart headquarters is in Great River, N.Y., a Long Island suburb of New York City. Valentine said the company will continue to have offices in Long Island, Chicago and Ohio after the Kansas City move.
The Kansas City relocation and expansion plan calls for the firm to initially occupy 40,000 square feet of space and eventually expand to 150,000 square feet. Valentine said a decision on a permanent location is expected to be made by the end of this month and the company would like to be in place by late winter.
Both Kansas and Missouri have offered incentives to attract the Netsmart corporate offices and the data center the firm is expected to occupy.
While Valentine said his firm has been looking at potential locations throughout the metropolitan area, including Kansas City, the firm will likely wind up somewhere in the south section of the metro area.
He ruled out downtown as a potential site, saying "health care is not a big corporate environment, it's not a good downtown fit."