Remembering Jim Moore

The longest serving CEO in Cumberland Heights’ history is being remembered as a man with a mission – a mission that helped preserve the future of addiction treatment in Middle Tennessee.

Jim Moore passed away Tuesday, August 11. He was 68 years old.

Jim served as Executive Director/CEO of Cumberland Heights from 1990 to 2014, but he was part of the CH family for even longer. Jim held many positions beginning as a driver. He also worked in quality improvement, helping the organization achieve Joint Commission accreditation.

“Jim’s leadership helped guide us through the early days of managed care and saw the organization grow for over two decades. One of his proudest accomplishments would no doubt have been the start of the Still Waters programs. As employees, each of us builds upon the accomplishments of those that came before us. Our hope is to leave Cumberland Heights, Still Waters and ARCH Academy a little better off than when our life’s work first began. This is especially true for Jim’s accomplishments at Cumberland Heights,” said CEO Jay Crosson.

Long-time board member Frank Gorrell shared this memory of Jim:

“One of my best memories of Jimmy is riding with him down to Linden, TN for the first time to look at a piece of property to do a different kind of treatment center. It seemed like we had been driving for hours once we exited I-40. And after we made that exit, we drove even further. We took a break, stopped at a convenience store, sat at card table and had a ham sandwich. We got back in the car, curved in and around up and down and finally pulled into a driveway only to drive another mile! Finally, we pulled into this rambling resort type home surrounded by trees with a pool and a lake. Jimmy said he and another employee had an idea to create an old school Big Book intensive treatment program. I thought, ‘Good idea, but who will ever find it?’ Little did I know that a year later I would be one of the first patients there. That place is Still Waters and it saved my life.”

Jim was supervisor to Chief Clinical Officer Cinde Stewart Freeman for most of her 30 years at Cumberland Heights. She says the thing she remembers most about Jim was his vision. She said she’d hear him throw out an idea or a direction that no one else would be talking about until several years down the road.

“The idea for the First Step program, a major programming innovation for us that helped us weather the first incursion of managed care for us was Jim’s idea,” said Cinde.

Chief Community Officer Randal Lea echoed that.

“There was more than one rough patch in the 1990s, and every decision Jim made that I thought was a bad idea at the time usually turned out to be something the agency could not have survived without. That included mergers with the Alano Club, Recovery Residences and Community High School. It included trying new programs and levels of care, hiring an interventionist and cultivating preferred business relationships with Unions, Railroads and Airlines.

“Buying the property of the Alano Club allowed Cumberland Heights to have a large, successful outpatient hub that became a central location for assessment and outpatient care. Later, the location was sold, and we established smaller, more localized centers; but this step put CH into the world of outpatient on a grand scale. Merger with Recovery Residences, a long-term program for youth in state custody, opened Cumberland Heights to employing and serving a broader demographic range than before. This paved the way for our ‘First Step Program’ – an approach that Cumberland used for over 20 years to face the realities and demands of managed care agencies who wanted shorter residential stays coupled with outpatient care. The merger with Community High School took Cumberland Heights from an agency that gave cursory notice to our adolescent patients’ educational needs into a comprehensive center that could accelerate learning and credit recovery while establishing a base of recovery from addiction, “said Randal.

When people talk about Jim, you will often hear the term ‘spear headed.’ He was full of ideas and he brought them to fruition.

“In 2012, Jim was responsible for convening ‘the Nashville Summit’ which was a meeting of executives from like-minded residential treatment centers across the country.  An enduring legacy of that meeting is an email group of Addiction Medicine physicians.  There are over 400 Addiction Medicine specialists in the group whose primary purpose is to maintain spiritual principles in the recovery process, said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chapman Sledge.

Jim worked closely with Board Chairs Stafford McNamee and Rob Crichton to ensure that even during the leanest times of the mid 1990s that Cumberland Heights would not fail. He found a way to invest in deteriorating buildings, launch capital campaigns to bolster our detoxification unit and ultimately launch on a grand scale a facility redesign. Jim was also able to target a national presence for Cumberland Heights, breaking out of the regional provider role that had served Cumberland well for its first 35 years of existence.

The Cumberland Heights family is grateful for Jim Moore. His leadership, innovative ideas and steadfast dedication has undoubtedly helped heal countless families. When you pair a heart for recovery with hard work and determination, you can do wonderful things for those struggling with the disease of addiction. Thank you, Jim, for your pursuit and passion.

A service for Jim will be held Wednesday, August 19 at Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. Visitation will begin at noon, with a service following at 12:30. Masks are required, and social distancing practices will be put in place.

About the Author:

Liz Stanislawski is the Marketing & Public Relations Manager for Cumberland Heights.