Home Publisher's Note Booming South Florida Market
Publisher's Note
Booming South Florida Market
April 2006

In this our April 2006 issue, Treatment Magazine’s Special Report focuses on the venerable Hanley Center, which probably more than any other institution is responsible for the emergence of South Florida as one of the nation’s premier regions for addiction treatment, on a par now with Minnesota, Southern California and Arizona.

The growth of the South Florida market, likely more so than the other regions, saw its genesis in the boom times of the 1980s. An epoch we at Treatment Magazine sometimes refer to jokingly as the “money for nothing and chicks for free” era of addiction treatment, the 1980s decade was in many ways chemical dependency’s Wild West age, fueled as its was by the then highly generous reimbursement policies of commercial insurers. More than any other part of South Florida, Palm Beach County has been the epicenter of the industry’s growth in the region. Dozens of treatment facilities sprung up in Palm Beach during the 1980s, joining a very small number of other already existing centers like The Palm Beach Institute, which was founded in 1971 and was the first private treatment center in the area.

Most of the facilities founded in Palm Beach in the 1980s have gone by the wayside, victims, like so many other centers across the country, of managed care cutbacks. Some centers, like elsewhere, were also the victims of their own mismanagement and greed. During the mid-1990s, the treatment industry began to experience a slow renaissance, and South Florida was no exception. But this time, growth has been based on a more realistic set of industry economic strictures in managed care’s wake.

Fast forward more than a decade, and the South Florida market is once again booming. There are now, according to Treatment Magazine estimates, more than 750 private residential and inpatient beds in Palm Beach County alone, up over 35 percent from 550 just three years ago. These numbers substantially under count the extent of residential type treatment activity in Palm Beach because of the prevalence of a business model that gets its name from the region, the “Florida model.” With the Florida model, treatment facilities bring in patients from throughout the nation by offering partial hospitalization while at the same time also arranging for housing, either through a third party or an entity that is legally at arms-length from the treatment provider. People like Wellness Resource Center’s Michele Michael and Renaissance’s Sid Goodman are often credited as being pioneers in the development of the Florida model.

Over the past several weeks, Treatment Magazine has gotten reports that most centers in South Florida are experiencing record census counts. Typical is the Hanley Center, which COO Joe Monastra says is operating at record census after seeing a growth rate in its average census count of about 6 percent annually over the past five years. Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, BHOPB, has seen its census skyrocket, according to founder Don Mullaney, who says demand is far outstripping his center’s capacity.


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