|Written by Ted Jackson|
It looked like pretty much a slam dunk good play at the time, many many years ago before the emergence of the Sierra Tucson’s and Meadows’ of the world, to do a deal with Palm Beach med surg St. Mary’s – med surg was big in addictions in the 1980s – and take a track of land in environs that are arguably the worst on offer at a destination renowned as a playground for the rich. Fast forward and the deal that placed Hanley right in the middle of one of the worst neighborhood’s in South Florida, not to mention saddled with hospital-style institutional infrastructure, was the bane – the heavy albatross they just could NOT shake – when the Hanley family and a very devoted excited and hopeful staff famously attempted independence from Hazelden.
When Caron CEO Doug Tieman made the deal for Hanley- as his ﬁrst assignment as an eager young Hazelden exec he was charged with helping Jack Hanley launch the foundation and center – it was like coming full circle. Except now he was charged with a Hanley asset that had struggled mightily to ﬁll beds for years, its operating side bleeding red ink, thus draining the all important capital account and the center’s ability, absolutely critically, to engagein new builds and renovations throughout the campus. But with Caron’s well-oiled patient acquisition machine in place, and its already signiﬁcant presence in South Florida through Sid Goodman’s Renaissance Center, acquired in 2005 around the same time Hanley went out on its own, census at Hanley has been lifted to levels where surplus is being achieved. “We are focusing intently on the transformation of the campus,” says Drew
Rothermel who, as EVP of Caron Treatment Programs, President Florida Market and formerly CFO, has been at Tieman’s right hand as the renowned non-proﬁt engaged in an unprecedented expansion – Dallas, Bermuda, South Florida, at the main campus in Wernersville, PA, and more – that has sent client services revenues soaring ﬁve-fold in a decade. Together, along with Caron’s stellar mission driven board, Tieman and Rothermel have transformed Caron into one of the nation’s largest non-profit addictions center, just this year hitting $108M and almost surpassing Hazelden, which for decades has seemingly sat permanently atop that perch.
In many years of talking to hundreds of treatment executives, this reporter has never met a busier guy than Drew Rothermel appears to be these days, charged as he is with the Han- ley rebirth and intergration into Caron. Sounding almost like a general contractor, Rothermel describes a whopping $34M spend that Caron has planned for the near future. Except for the construction of an administrative center on the main Wernersville, PA campus – a necessity given the growing Caron empire – virtually all the new build is going to Hanley. “No doubt, what was holding Hanley back, to a large extent, was a vicious circle where a lack of revenue was being driven by a facility that hadn’t kept up with the times. In turn, that lack of revenue prevented the realization of the capital plan ” says Rothermel, adding that Hanley gained its independence just as the Internet was making marketing on the private side of the business infinitely more complex, expensive and risky.
When the dust settles on the Hanley construction site – with new builds coming in at over 100K sf and renovation galore to rid the campus of its med surg institutional setting, Caron’s dominant presence in the South Florida addiction treatment market – the nation’s premier “destination” addictions locale – will be apparent to all, if it isn’t already. With nearly 400 hundred residential beds in locations stretching from Vero Beach in the north to Boca Raton in the south, Caron will be by far the largest addiction treatment play- er in the South Florida market with, arguably, one of the broadest arrays of facilities and specialty programmatic offerings available anywhere.
With the intent of offering affordable care for prescription drug addicts, Caron will continue to run the Gate Lodge program in Vero Beach, while at the same opening what is arguably the most ﬁnely targeted center aimed at the super wealthy: Ocean Drive in Delray Beach – a program that charges $120K for a 60-day ultra high-end Florida Model operation.
Clearly the crown jewel from the many Hanley assets taken over by Caron is the older adult program that was started by Carol Colleran just shortly before the Hazelden divorce and whose institution by Ms Colleran was literally a demographics and clinical programmatic stroke of genius. Called the Boomer Program – referring the orgy of baby conception that occurred as GI’s formed families upon arriving home from WWII – this this group of seniors is not only by far the fastest growing overall demographic in the nation, but also BY FAR the fastest growing age cluster for falling prey to addiction currently.
Seeing the likelihood that these trends would materialize a decade ago, Colleran has worked tirelessly to establish Hanley’s Boomer track as the one to beat when it comes treating older adults. “Not only does South Florida have more seniors than any place else but no other center even comes close to having an older adult program with the kind of national re- putation and brand name like the Boomer Program at Hanley,” says Rothermel. TJ
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