|Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire|
|08/14/2012 – ATIN- Deal discussions are underway between Houston-based The Right Step and acquisitive addiction treatment, drug rehab and alcohol rehab asset aggregator Elements Behavioral of California, sources in a position to know tell Treatment Magazine. Neither party has as of yet returned emails seeking comment. The addition of The Right Step to Elements, which began its addictions buyout spree about five years ago with the purchase of legendary Promises of Malibu, would add the largest addiction treatment operation in the Southwest to the portfolio of one of the fastest growing addictions companies in the nation. The Right Step was founded about fifteen years ago by George Joseph, who has emerged as undeniably a pioneer in the development of affordable, in-network models of addiction care, along the way developing what are arguably the closest and most amicable relations with commercial payors as exist anywhere in the industry. Right Step, which has also branched out into the high-end, private pay sphere with its greenfield development of Spirit Lodge outside of Austin, has made a bit of specialty scooping up distressed treatment assets and turning them around, the method by which it acquired outpatient centers in New Mexico and more recently San Cristobal, a Taos, NM, youth center in the wilderness vein. Elements CEO David Sack has ample experience in the youth treatment market, having been chief medical officer at therapeutic schools leader Aspen Education before it was disastrously acquired by CRC Health in 2007. In his leadership capacity at Elements, which is backed by the private equity player Frazier Healthcare that made a fortune underwriting Aspen early on, Sack has methodically expanded the company, rigorously applying what can often be, if poorly executed, a highly risky growth by acquisition model. Elements now also owns treatment assets in Florida and Tennessee and a Right Step acquisition would dramatically increase the size of the company, vastly contributing to the provider’s stated ambition of achieving a national footprint. And as the industry’s other asset aggregator, CRC Health Corp, which started buying centers way back in the late 1990s, has since the financial crisis been preoccupied with integrating Aspen while mostly avoiding non-methadone acquisitions, Elements could emerge as unquestionably the nation’s top addictions aggregator with a big Right Step purchase.
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