|Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire|
|07/23/2012 – ATIN – As part of a slew of online addictions developments in recent months- we may be in the midst of a “take off” point in a trend of increasing delivery of behavioral health services over the Internet, and indeed perhaps in overall medicine as well – the founder of Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center has launched a well funded, highly comprehensive website aimed at providing quality distance addiction treatment services. BeginRecovery.com is a venture noteworthy not just because of the size of the investment in the site, at about $500K enormous for the addictions space, but also because of who is behind it. One of the most successful addictions entrepreneurs of the post managed care addictions era, Dr. Douglas Cook built Palmetto into the largest treatment operation in the Deep South. A Louisiana-based powerhouse, Cook grew Palmetto into an operation with 100 beds, when, according to SAMHSA, the average residential center has just 40 beds capacity. In a singular marketing and management feat, Palmetto has typically run at near capacity census, according to Dr. Cook. (If treatment centers are well run, and census can stay north of 70 percent of capacity, even operations targeted at very modest price points can become enormously profitable) As part of a some shareholder ownership changes, Cook lost control of Palmetto and stepped down from active management a few years ago. “But I’m still Palmetto’s largest shareholder,” Dr. Cook told ATIN. Having previously launched a site, SoberMD.com, Cook realized the untapped potential of the Internet and its capacity for efficiency in addictions services delivery. Thus, shortly before stepping down as CEO of Palmetto, Cook turned his attention to the Internet and also
launched BeginRecovery.com, a mega addictions Internet project three years in the making. With outstanding production values, BeginRecovery offers a twelve week distance treatment protocol – coursework and education, no distance therapy – for about $350. Designed to work in tandem with strong AA participation, Dr. Cook’s venture will be a test of whether an inexpensive distance program can be a viable substitute for increasingly expensive traditional inpatient and outpatient treatment, with the potential if successful to be wildly disruptive to existing addiction treatment investments. And it is quite possible that people who have already been to treatment at least once, easily between 30 percent and 60 percent of census at any given time at any given center, may want to stop “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” – as we are endlessly counseled not to do by the very centers that serve up the same fare to the same clientele over and over again – and try a radically less expensive and vastly more convenient way to regain sobriety after relapse. BeginRecovery is also ideal for the burgeoning sober living space, easily the fastest growing sector .of the addictions marketplace currently, with BeginRecovery clients able to pick the residential, educational and therapeutic elements of traditional bundled treatment products in a highly flexible, consumer friendly a la carte manner. Already Cook’s venture has attracted interest from investors, who have offered seven figures to buyout the platform he has built, according to Cook. And Cook is talking to managed care companies, seeking “in network” status from commercial payors as they themselves seek cost effective ways of complying with increasing pressure from legislative and regulatory players to provide better access to addiction treatment services for insureds.
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