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Seniors Help Drive Caron's Plans for Major New Medical Center  E-mail
Written by Ted Jackson   
July 2015

For the Caron Board the fourth time was the charm. That's how many times architect Ted Mondzelewski and his team at Philly-based Architectural Concepts had to come back with plans for a $15M medical center, the critical backbone to Caron's push to become a leading name in providing addiction care to seniors, a top candidate for the fastest growing segment of the treatment industry.

The Dream Team

Working out of Florida, arguably the leading professional in seniors addiction care is Caron's Barbara Krantz. We respect her ladyship's right to keep her age at the guessing level, but energy and enthusiasm flow from the admitted boomer agreeing as she does that this is "her time" as the seniors program flourishes. Says CEO Doug Tieman, who has already allocated bed space at the 150 acres home campus just outside of Reading, PA ,whose citizens CEO Doug Tieman says benefit greatly from Caron scholarships: "We have been full seniors wise pretty much the whole time, the demand is phenomenal," Tieman says.

Dr. Joe Garbely

For Phase I, which is centered around the $15M Frank Lloyd Wright style Medical Center, with modern Green touches like garden grass roofs, and had the golden spade inaugural shovel of dirt overturned at the non-profit's big annual alumni shindig in very late June. According to Caron spokesperson Karen Pasternak, about $7M has been raised for the new medical center and Caron expects real work to begin on the medical wing in the spring of 2016.

First Look

It was at this year's Alumni  Picnic where donors, large and small, got their first look at Caron's new Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joe Garbely, for whom employment at Caron was "the dream job." Garbely told Treatment Magazine the new job is a half hour commute from his home in the suburbs of Philly, where he previously worked at what he says is one of the nation's oldest continuously operating psych institutions, called Friends, obviously backed by the kind Quakers where Joe describes underground passages still used today that were a vital stop-off point for the slave freeing Underground Railway, he says.

Blossoming Medical Team

Under Dr, Garbely a rapidly expanding medical team is materializing with two more full time docs, a couple of addictions specialist nurse practitioners and a soon-to-arrive addiction psychiatrist. "We are practicing evidence-based medicine here on an increasing basis," Garbely says. When the medical center project is finished it will house primarily in terms of equipment mainly imaging machines that allow the medical team  to judge the progress of neuro-brain functionality, wings for a newly approved fellowship program - one Garbely says is among less than 30 nationwide with degree granting power into the addiction medicine specialty, which will provide a continuous talent pool for Dr. Garbely, who has extensive teaching experience and will head up the school. Of course, the new digs will have rooms for senior and older clientele requiring more extensive medical care, the new building is also Caron's new front door to admissions and detox, which will wrap up the project from the point of view of usefulness.

From the Point of View of Aesthetics

What the board was looking for was integration into the surroundings with minimal disturbance to the existing clientele . "Despite the significant acerage here, that turned out to be quite a challenge ... technical issues such as grade and being on a mountain, so water retention, and, of course, providing  adequate parking. "What we wound up with was every room with views of the valley such was the board's determination to get what  they wanted. All of this working on a mountain,"compounding engineering problems to the max," Tieman said.

Here Comes Florida - Phase II

Caron has extensive operations in Florida, with 130 beds and expanding, one Sid Goodman's key youth oriented Renaissance in Delray Beach and the phenomenally successful boutique program Ocean Drive, which has in it's short 2-3 yr life span had a significant impact on upward mobility for the scholarship program - adding 2-3 points to a total 17 point charity care on a percentage-of-annual-revenue basis, Tieman says, with 2015 annual revenues expected to come in at around $100M mid-year, says Tieman. A little over a decade ago, Caron was at $20M in revenues with 10 percent charity care, Tieman confirms.

Affluence and Influence

Caron Exec Sid Goodman, who oversaw and founded Ocean Drive for Caron, says a month's stay is in the $64K area, but stays often run two months and sometimes more, resulting in eye-popping five figure  bills only the very richest Americans can afford. And that's where the influence comes in, with Tieman working on getting the donations needed to keep Caron running and growing. Mr. Goodman has recently taken up an emeritus type position and relationship with Caron after working closely with Caron executive Bradley F. Sorte. Mr Sorte has now taken on the full time role of Executive Director at the important Ocean Drive property in Delray Beach as well leadership of Caron Renaissance.

Looking for the Anchor

Right now Tieman is working on building trust with the highly influential Ocean Drive-type alumni, looking for that seven figure anchor donor for an eventual Florida Phase II of the seniors addiction program. Clearly, Dr. Krantz and Renaissance - which Caron says it bought for $5M in 2005 - founder and chief Sid Goodman will both play key roles in duplicating seniors addiction in Florida, and now Mr. Sorte as well. A formidible team indeed.

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