The traditional patient populations of Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and Phoenix House differ substantially, but the two large nonprofit organizations believe they can learn a great deal from each other—now more than ever. A new clinical initiatives agreement between the two organizations, announced publicly this week, reflects what their leaders see as a blurring of the lines between privately and publicly funded services under health reform.
“We have to be alongside each other in the health reform world,” says Phoenix House CEO Ann Bray. “We have to take care of populations, in communities. Population health will help solve some of our issues in healthcare.”
For Hazelden Betty Ford, which recently has ventured more into the insurance market from a traditional self-pay structure (much in the same way that Phoenix House has started to become more insurance-focused from its customary place of being reliant on government contracts), leaders see this type of agreement possibly being repeated with other treatment organizations as well. “We expect more of these agreements to happen,” says Nick Motu, whose roles at Hazelden Betty Ford include the positions of vice president of business development and vice president of the Institute for Recovery Advocacy.
Origins of alliance
Bray is a former vice president of strategic initiatives at Hazelden Betty Ford, and the presence of some individuals who have worked in both organizations certainly helped pave the way for this clinical initiatives agreement.
Bray sees the agreement, full details of which are still being explored between the two organizations, as an extension of emerging efforts in the industry to share best practices in order to improve clinical outcomes. Sharing of clinical protocols is expected to be part of the organizations' activities going forward, she says.
She adds that Phoenix House will look to expand its staff training and education capabilities by taking further advantage of Hazelden resources in its publishing and graduate school operations. “This is an opportunity to tap into a good educational program that's ready,” she says.
It is even possible that the two organizations could collaborate on research studies that would involve both entities' traditional patient populations. This could offer a significant boost to Phoenix House's data collection capabilities.
“For organizations like Phoenix House that are serving the underserved, there are sometimes less resources to use to investigate,” Bray says.
While the traditional patient profile in the two organizations differs, both operate out of multiple locations and see each other as having a national perspective on clinical quality of treatment. The agreement to this point does not involve any up-front financial payments from one organization to the other.
The two organizations stated in their joint announcement of the agreement that its goals also include assisting in the development of effective recovery support systems and the establishment of innovative new approaches to improve the lives of individuals with addictions.
“This is clearly in the wheelhouse of our strategy,” Motu says in reference to Hazelden Betty Ford's organizational mission. “Affiliation agreements are a part of that.”