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Acquisitions aim to drive the model of care on a larger scale

May 30, 2014
by Julie Miller
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Tennessee-based Addiction Campuses of America (ACA) this week acquired Turning Point Recovery, a provider of addiction treatment and behavioral health services in northern Mississippi and Tennessee, and Spring2Life, a Murfreesboro, Tenn., provider of addiction, recovery and behavioral services with a spiritual focus.

The addiction treatment and behavioral health industry is lagging behind other segments of healthcare, and today’s model has room for improvement, according to Brent Clements, founder and CEO of ACA. He believes leaders must make more progress toward evaluating consumer outcomes.

“With changes through healthcare reform resulting in greater benefits and access to covered behavioral health services, we anticipate more hurting individuals will have access to care,” Clements says. “Our goal is to break the paradigm of multiple inpatient instances over the life of an individual struggling with addiction to one where results are achieved more quickly and sustained long-term. We believe with our approach of integrating a spiritual focus with empirically tested behavioral treatment modalities, the desired results can be achieved, and we can change the model of addiction and behavioral health treatment.”

He says ACA plans to integrate the two newly acquired programs while also pursuing additional growth through other targeted acquisitions. The organization's leadership team has operated and managed behavioral healthcare campuses across the United States and is marketing a collective 100-plus years of experience in the treatment industry.

How bigger must get better

However, acquisition growth shouldn’t come at the detriment of better service, according to Thomas Updike, PhD, chief vision officer and regional vice president of Recovery Innovations in Phoenix.  Updike says sometimes venture capital might be too focused on profit and return on investment, rather than quality of service. 

“Private businesses are filled with examples of less service for the consumer,” he says. “For example, when large mergers are considered, even the government regulators agree there will be likely increases in the cost to the consumer.”

Updike cites airlines as one example. More carriers are reducing their available routes while at the same time increasing prices for tickets and adding on extra fees.

He believes particularly in healthcare, any growing company must remain focused on local concerns, demonstrate what it plans to do to improve outcomes and explain how the consumer will be better served after the merger or acquisition.  Respect must be maintained for the participant of services, he says.

“In all business dealings, I insist the recipient of service is the reason for the company’s existence,” Updike says. “Serve the person well, and profit will come.”