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OP ED: Recent CRC Health Corp. National Press Coverage Uninformed | Print |  E-mail
Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire

07/30/2012 - ATIN - Treatment Magazine - though FAR from being an apologist over the years for CRC Health Corp. and mostly a source of hard-hitting CRC articles - vehemently disagrees with the recent negative national press coverage of the nation's largest addiction treatment, drug rehab and alcohol rehab provider. We know for a fact that the coverage started with an agenda - the writer contacted us many times for addiction industry expertise while researching the CRC story, as journalists often do - which was to take advantage of Mitt Romney's connection to CRC owner Bain Capital in an election year to interest a national publication in the CRC story. And editors at Salon.com, a major Internet magazine, fell for it and published what we consider to be a highly biased poorly informed story. The article is basically a litany of the lawsuits that have been filed against CRC recently, which may or may not have individual merit, but which we know are NOT indicative of CRC as a whole clinically. We at Treatment Magazine hear of patient deaths and problems at treatment centers of every stripe across the nation almost weekly, and the vast majority of cases do not result in litigation. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT CRC GETS SUED IN PART BECAUSE LAWYERS AND PLAINTIFFS KNOW A WEALTHY CRC, BACKED BY BIG WALL STREET MONEY, MEANS A GREATER LIKLIHOOD OF GETTING PAID. The vast majority of the CRC litigation involves problems that have arisen from treating adolescents and young adults, which CRC treats by the many tens of thousands every year, a very risky and courageous business move. A KEY THING TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT, MEDICALLY, THERE IS NO MORE RISKY A POPULATION TO TREAT THAN MALADAPTED AND ADDICTED YOUNG PEOPLE. It is a virtual guarantee of problems, to some degree, especially if you get as big as CRC has in treating this population. That CRC, and its Bain backers, recognize that CRC may have gotten to be too big is pretty obvious. It has been years since the company has reported much acquisition activity outside of its methadone business. They have jettisoned founder Barry Karlin and his dubious management skills, as well as his undisciplined acquisition strategy. New CRC management has made considerable progress in fixing the mess Karlin inherited when he vastly overpaid for Aspen Education, the nation's biggest treater of troubled addicted youth and the center of the most serious CRC clinical and legal problems. Problems at Sierra Tucson and at New Life Lodge in Tennessee, the subject of substantial local regulatory and press attention, involve a grand total OF THREE PEOPLE!!! These are the first major publicised problems CRC has ever had outside of the Aspen youth division and CRC has had a 20K DAILY CENSUS  for years!! Enough said. It is obviously absurd to paint CRC as more concerned with making money than on its clinical performance based on the above, which the Salon.com article basically asserts. It is a highly substandard piece of journalism and we predict the Salon.com CRC story will go exactly...nowhere.

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written by Jerry Shulman, July 30, 2012
With a history of 50 years of experience in addiction treatment at all levels of care, with adults and adolescent patients, in propietary and nonprofit programs, in single and multi-site systems, I don't impress easily. I was asked to serve on CRC Clinical Advisory Board and in doing so I am impressed with two things. The first is the openness with which CRC presents its programs and its problems, looking for board members to provide suggestions and ideas for enhancing treatment and/or remedying problems. The second is the group of professionals that CRC has brought together to serve as its Clinical Advisory Board. It is likely that if asked, CRC would share the composition of the board with anyone who asks and I know that reviewing the membership would reveal some of the most competent, credible, experienced and respected professionals in the field.

As for problems, given their size, CRC has substantially fewer problems that would be projected. In my experience, "problems" are an expected result of treating this population.

I want people who regard me as a credible professional working in addiction to know that I feel honored to be part of CRC's effort to enhance their clinical services.
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