MIAMI — Willow Crest Hospital and Moccasin Bend Ranch now has a new owner: Vizion Health, LLC.
Willow Crest is a 50-bed acute care psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents ages 5-17 experiencing emotional, psychiatric, behavioral and substance abuse issues requiring 24-hour care.
Moccasin Bend Ranch is a 28-bed residential treatment center dedicated exclusively to help adolescents ages 13-17. It allows residents to focus on their treatment free from outside distractions while promoting self-confidence and acquiring new skills for future challenges.
Vizion Health, LLC, offers services including acute psychiatric hospital management, residential treatment center management, outpatient and intensive outpatient program management and psychiatric hospital operation consultation.
Vizion has been working on the Willow Crest purchase for approximately three years, which officially went through on Oct. 13. Anne Anthony, who retired, was the previous owner of the hospital.
“Vizion’s acquisition of Willow Crest marks the beginning of an aggressive campaign to purchase facilities throughout the country,” said Mark Schneider, CEO and founder of Vizion Health. “I knew the previous owner of Willow Crest for many years and look forward to continuing the high quality of care and professionalism the exceptional staff provides at Willow Crest and Moccasin Bend Ranch.”
After partnering in two previously successful behavioral healthcare companies, Schneider formed a third company, Vizion Health.
Schneider has over 40 years experience in starting and managing a wide variety of psychiatric and mental health systems to include military units, acute care hospitals, residential treatment centers, intensive outpatient facilities and private practice models.
Vizion is privately owned with its headquarters located in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Willow Crest Hospital is Vizion’s first acquisition in the mental health arena and the team plans to acquire several additional psychiatric facilities and addiction treatment programs across the country.
“We started this company to acquire quality hospitals to make a larger company,” Schneider said. “Willow Crest is our first acquisition and we’ve been pursuing it for a long time. What I knew about this hospital is it has a very good reputation, quality staff and unbelievably loyal employees.
“We’ve been in business for many years in psychiatric and addictive medicine,” he added. “This is one of the psychiatric facilities we’ve purchased but we’re also purchasing some addictive disease treatment programs, as well.”
Vizion is a relatively new company and is run by four principals: Schneider, Chief Operating Officer Stephen Chesney, Chief Development Officer Dr. Ann Miller and Aaron Kneas, managing director with New Century Capital Partners (NCCP).
Miller and Schneider said the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will be putting a large strain on hospitals like Willow Crest.
“If you look at the bigger picture for us, you have the Affordable Care Act, which is going to put a lot of pressure on mental health facilities to have a stronger back office, electronic medical records, and I think these smaller hospitals will have a hard time surviving by themselves,” Miller said. “This is an effort to support them and help them improve and survive.”
“In states like Oklahoma where there have been very severe rate cuts, small facilities like this sometimes can’t survive,” Schneider said. “They don’t have deep enough pockets. It’s feast or famine in some of these facilities.”
Schneider said they will not be making major changes to the facilities, programming or types of treatment programs. However, the company plans to spruce up the hospital’s exterior with a fresh coat of paint and update the outdoor landscape.
The Vizion team will also be working alongside its new advisory board, which includes Oklahoma State Rep. Ben Loring, Security Bank president Marcel Walther, Carrie Harlan of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Chesney and Shari Murphree, Willow Crest administrator.
“We may add additional people to the advisory committee because there are stakeholders in the community,” Schneider said. “We do all of our banking with Security and all of our legislation with the state of Oklahoma and the Department of Mental Health. We want them to be stakeholders in this and how we can improve. Is there a service that is not being provided that we can provide. Is there a service we are providing that people don’t need? We’ll be looking at that.”
Murphree previous was Assistant Administrator of Operations before being promoted to Willow Crest adminstrator.
Murphree said the staff was comfortable and reassured with the transition to its new owners.
“All of us knew for three years that they have been trying to buy the company,” Murphree said. “They faced a lot of obstacles and a lot of people would’ve just said forget it, but we knew they were so confident in us that they kept going. That gives us a feeling of safety.”
Vizion’s mission is to provide a full continuum of high quality behavioral healthcare and addiction treatment services. The company is currently involved in the construction of a new 90-bed state-of-the-art acute care psychiatric hospital on the west coast.
“The strength of the core Vizion team enables us to grow quickly while continuing to ensure quality programming throughout our system,” Schneider said.
The new owners plan to arrange an open house for next year, but the date is not yet scheduled.