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New entrants to field seek major splash

June 4, 2014
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Letter From the Editor

Leaders of a pair of organizations just entering the addiction treatment market offered refreshingly blunt responses as they recently outlined their current plans and future goals. The treatment leader, Brent Clements of Tennessee-based Addiction Campuses of America, quickly rebuffed any suggestions that he would model the new organization's programming after any existing operations in the industry. “Absolutely not” was Clements' rapid response to that theory.

The financing leader, Tom Greer of Atlanta-based Fulcrum Equity Partners, offered a similarly direct explanation for why the $3.8 million deal with Addiction Campuses of America represents its first foray into the addiction treatment space. “This is an area we have wanted to get into for some time—we just never found the right one to work with,” explains Greer.

In an industry attracting increasingly keen interest from private investment, as we outlined in Addiction Professional's March/April 2014 cover story, don't expect Fulcrum to become a household name, however. Greer, a partner with the company that specializes in financings ranging between $2 million and $10 million, says Fulcrum will not be backing another team in the same market. “We want this to be a national provider,” he says of Addiction Campuses of America.

And Clements appears poised to deliver just that. Addiction Campuses of America's CEO says the company intends to grow to encompass 8 to 10 facilities within the next three years, both through acquisitions and establishment of new programs. The company's first two properties, Spring2Life in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Turning Point Recovery, with operations in Memphis and in northern Mississippi, reflect Clements' and his team's desire to feature both spiritually based programs (Spring2Life) and programs focused to therapies such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (Turning Point Recovery) in the company's holdings.

What will tie all of the programs together, Clements vows, is a purposeful focus on patient outcomes (many talk it but few are truly driven by it, he says) and a refusal to accept frequent cycling through the same program for some patients. “That's failure,” he says.

Clements intends for the programs under Addiction Campuses of America to offer both self-pay and insurance-based arrangements, and for typical stays of 30 to 90 days to be followed by a year of close monitoring. “There's a treatment program at every corner that will provide you with 30 days of treatment and send you away with hopefully a discharge plan, and good luck to you,” he says.

Greer says Fulcrum gravitated to Addiction Campuses of America not merely because of Clements' vision, but also because that vision was backed and strengthened by the presence of an experienced management team whose members were familiar with one another.

“One guy can't do it,” says Greer, whose company also has financed deals in home health, emergency medicine and other healthcare disciplines. “Sometimes we'll have a meeting and the CEO will do all of the talking. Here, all of the participants were equally eager to talk.”

Some of the Addiction Campuses of America team previously worked together at American Addiction Centers, but Clements says he's not concerned about brand recognition challenges for his new organization with the similar sounding name. “We plan to operate in a campus environment, where the client has to get out in the community,” he says in explaining the name choice. “Our model is 15 to 50 acres.”

Clements makes no effort to hide his desire for the company to grow in a hurry. “We just feel like the addiction space is so far behind,” he says. “The continuum of care needs to be revamped.”