|Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire|
|09/27/2013 –ATIN – In a much signaled and anticipated deal, Betty Ford and Hazelden have agreed to merge in a historic combination that will create the largest non-profit addictions treatment enterprise in the nation. As Betty Ford CEO John Schwarzlose prepares to retire in the wake of debilitating board room battles at the Palm Springs center in recent years, and intense high-end competition from Malibu style Six Bed Model centers all up and down the California coast, Hazelden CEO Mark Mishek will become the new CEO of the combined entities. Earlier this year, Betty Ford and Hazelden announced they would examine the pursuit of a “partnership,” which Treatment Magazine predicted in its July 2013 print issue would likely lead to a merger.
“Not Cutting It”
While Mishek did not return recent emails seeking comment on the status of the talks between Betty Ford and Hazelden, earlier this week following announcement of the deal Mishek did tell the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the “world of the free-standing residential centers wasn’t going to cut it anymore” amidst big changes coming with the introduction of Obamacare health care industry reform. Despite Hazelden’s efforts recently to branch out into outpatient and the purchase of an addiction medicine practice in the Northwest, Hazelden and especially Betty Ford are overwhelmingly residential care providers using the traditional 12-Step modalities both institutions helped pioneer. Given this, it wasn’t immediately clear from his comments what a merger with Betty Ford would do to position the new merged entity in the brave new Obamacare world. Certainly the new non-profit, which after regulatory approvals is expected to finalize the deal by early next year, will be much larger and financially strong with an expected combined treatment services revenues of $150M, $110M from Hazelden and $40M from Betty Ford.
In a hat’s off to the critical role former First Lady Betty Ford played in de-stigmatizing addiction by going public in the 1980s about her own travails, the women’s center at Hazelden that opened under CEO Ellen Breyer’s stewardship will be renamed to honor Mrs. Ford. The merged non-profit will go by the name of Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
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