Canada’s Edgewood and Bellwood in Historic Merger

Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire
09/10/2014 -ATIN – In a merger in the Canadian market for private addiction treatment services that has the rough equivalency in terms of prestige and historic implications as the recent merger of the Betty Ford Center and Minnesota’s Hazelden for the U.S. addictions marketplace, Vancouver area-based Edgewood Treatment Centre and Toronto’s Bellwood Health Services have joined to form Edgewood Health Network (EHN), which is now by far Canada’s largest private provider of adult addiction and mental health treatment services. Canada has a mixed private and public system of healthcare, with each of the country’s ten provinces administering the vast majority of healthcare through a “single payor” system like in country’s largest province Ontario where every citizen is guaranteed healthcare services through the Ontario Hospitalization Insurance Program, or OHIP.

The Canadian Private Treatment Market

Definitely Canada’s largest and oldest private addiction treatment services “hub” has been the one that has grown up around the founding of Edgewood exactly 20 years ago, which used the incredible scenic temperate climate mountainous beauty of British Columbia to create the beginnings of Canada’s first “destination” high-end addictions hub. Since then, the Vancouver area has grown into a kind of “Malibu North” except that in the two dozen or so treatment centers that have opened in the hub there, there is a MUCH greater range of pricing than in the Malibu Market proper, with some private centers in “Malibu North” charging some of the most reasonable private rates for high quality treatment to be found anywhere in the North American addiction treatment market. Second and third private addiction treatment hubs also began to show big growth a little over a decade ago in the lakes region north of Toronto and in the Eastern Townships near Montreal.

A Truly National Addictions Player

In an exclusive interview with ATIN, EHN’s new CEO Christopher Dawson said that the for-profit EHN currently has 180 beds combined total at Bellwood in Toronto and at Edgewood in Vancouver, 180 of which are full service acute care and 40 of which are “step down” extended care. He would not reveal combined client services revenues at the new EHN, but said the company currently has over 200 emplyees. Dawson told Treatment Magazine that the goal is to deliver a consistent standard of care that addresses all aspects of the provider’s clients’ health. “Addiction is a chronic disease and we are committed to helping our patients find their way out of it. Our respective established treatment models at Bellwood and Edgewood have helped many Canadians successfully overcome their addictions.” Dawson said that before the merger was struck, the respective boards of Bellwood and Edgewood hit it off well in terms of sharing almost identical philosophies about how to grow Canada’s truly first national “pure play” addiction treatment services center.

Key Financial Backing

Dawson and EHN were able to get the initial historic merger done, as well as the financial resources necessary for the planned national expansion, through a financial partnership and backing with Toronto-based Alignvest Capital Management, an international alternative investment management firm. Alignvest has a number of partners and principals, but the most important of which from EHN’s perspective is Joe Manget who will be taking on the key governance role of board chairman at EHN. Dawson himself is no financial greenhorn, having worked previously at Bain & Co., one of the world’s most prominent corporate consultancies and related very closely to Bain Capital, a powerhouse global private equity firm which currently owns Cupertino, CA-based CRC Health Corp., the largest by far addiction treatment services provider in the U.S. Dawson refused to reveal any of the details of the terms of the transaction between Alignvest, Edgewod Treatment Centre and Bellwood  Health Services.

IOP Network and Big Residential Expansion

Currently the plan is to build out a network of 25 additional IOP centers across the country, mostly concentrated in the nation’s largest metro areas, which will add to the already five IOP cllinics EHN has in Seattle, WA, the capitol of British Columbia Victoria, Downton Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. In terms of residential bed expansion, Dawson said plans are for as many as 3 aditional residential centers with as many as 300 more beds beween them with a first emphasis on possible expansion in the province of Quebec, where Dawson says large corporate EAP demand is particularly acute because of a relative difficulty in providing french language addiction treatment services for their employees in the province.


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