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Treatment Talent Teams With Private Equity Player
August 2007

Acquiring and Building, Solacium is Using its Deep Pockets to Create an Integrated Clinical Offering

Alldredge AcademyA couple of years ago, veteran healthcare entrepreneur Val Christensen began talks with a Dallas private equity boutique called CIC Partners, which specializes in teaming up with operators in high growth industries. And the industry that Christensen and CIC were talking about, the therapeutic schools and wilderness programs industry, was indeed very high growth, the highest growth sector of behavioral healthcare, in fact.

In early 2006, CIC and Christensen formed a company called Solacium, whose purpose is to acquire and build youth treatment and educational programs. Since then, Solacium has been on a program acquisition tear, buying up 5 properties with a combined capacity of over 200 beds. They serve young men and woman with a variety of problems ranging from addiction, to learning disabilities and behavioral disorders.

As CEO of New Haven Residential Treatment Center in Utah, Christensen, who later negotiated the sale of the center to Solacium, began a dialogue with L. Jay Mitchell, a successful therapeutic schools entrepreneur and founder of the Alldredge Academy in West Virginia.

The two began to sketch out a vision of a company that would develop and acquire a full spectrum of programs that would be highly synergistic clinically.

Mitchell sold Alldredge to Solacium in September 2006, becoming a principal, and joined the company as an EVP and chief program officer.

The clinical strategy at Solacium, one that Mitchell had long wanted to implement, will combine a variety of interventions eclectically, but in a way that avoids therapeutic contradictions that are often inherent with clinical eclecticism, according to Mitchell. “I had always known that to implement this eclectic clinical strategy properly, that it would be expensive from a training standpoint,” he said.

And in his discussions with Christensen, it became apparent to Mitchell that Solacium could provide the proper kind of support for such a clinical undertaking.

“With the backing of CIC, and with the financial strength inherent from a larger grouping of programs, it was clear to me that there would be an ability to implement the clinical vision that we had in mind,” he says.

Ultimately, what Solacium sees emerging from this clinical effort will be a highly successful, proprietary model of care that has the potential to deliver superior outcomes.

New Haven Resident Treatment CenterIn March, Solacium teamed up with another veteran treatment entrepreneur, Anthony Geraci, who has now joined the company as EVP marketing. Geraci, who is also a Solacium principal, sold two Texas programs he founded and built, Fulshear Ranch and Transitions of Galveston Island, to Solacium.

“Together, our programs have enormous clinical strength. And we now have a management structure in place at Solacium that frees up our program managers to concentrate soley and intently on therapeutics,” says Geraci. Solacium also manages another program in Texas called Sommerville Young Adult Community, which may eventually be acquired by Solacium, according to Geraci. He adds that the company is actively scouting other acquisition opportunities, including the purchase of a primary care addiction treatment facility.

And, in a major greenfield treatment buildout, Solacium will soon be opening a new therapeutic boarding school for young women, which will be located at an old girls finishing school property not far from the famous Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.

With about 100 beds, the school will be called Greenbrier Academy. “This will be a first class academy for girls, with the opening scheduled for the end of this year,” says Mitchell. JW

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