It's taken a few trading sessions but it looks like the short sellers are cashing in on the news late last week that Jerrod Menz has stepped down as president of AAC Holdings after being one of five people charged in the death of a former patient in California. As of 2:20 p.m. Monday, AAC (Ticker: AAC) was off more than 13 percent to about $32.95. If they close at that level, it will be their lowest end to a trading day since mid-May. Volume has been very heavy, with almost 1.1 million shares having changed hands versus a daily average of about 270,000.
Short interest in Brentwood-based AAC has risen consistently since the company listed its shares on the Nasdaq last fall at $15 apiece and quickly began to climb. From less than 500,000 shares in mid-December, the number of shares sold short had risen above 1 million by mid-March and 2 million a month after that. Over the past four months, the number of days needed to cover short interest has consistently been in the double digits. By contrast, the days to cover short sellers of rival local behavioral health care venture Acadia Healthcare has been at eight or lower for more than three months.
Health benefit group UnitedHealthcare will donate $600,000 to the LifeCare Family Services of Nashville and Helen Ross McNabb Center in Chattanooga to aid in the construction of affordable housing for people discharged from mental health facilities.
The Nashville organization will receive $258,700 and the Chattanooga group will receive $341,000 to go toward building 18 housing units for individuals in need.
Belmont University's Jack C. Massey College of Business is partnering with substance abuse treatment organization Foundations Recovery Network to offer a business certificate program focusing on the behavioral health industry.
The continuing education track will offer attendees of Foundations Recovery Network conferences training in areas such as ethics, entrepreneurship, operations and strategy.
"We are proud to create innovative learning opportunities for our partners in Middle Tennessee," Pat Raines, dean of the Business College, said in a release. "Our partnership with Foundations Recovery Network reflects or mission to be engaged with the communities we serve through value-added relationship for us, helping others in their network by bringing business skills development workshops to their national conferences, having impact on the national recovery community."
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The joint venture between Health Choice, Iasis Healthcare's managed care division, and the Northern Arizona Behavioral Health Authority has landed a contract with the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Through the contract, terms of which were not disclosed in a release, the Health Choice Integrated Care joint venture will cover physical and behavioral health for about 6,000 Arizona members with serious mental illnesses. The JV will also cover general behavioral health care needs of 225,000 regional members.
The three-year contract begins in October 2015, with the state having two optional two-year extensions. According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Health Choice Integrated Care JV is expected to generate about $300 million in revenues for Iasis.
"Health Choice and NARBHA will utilize proven integrated care models tailored to rural Arizona communities to improve health care outcomes for some of the state's most vulnerable residents," Mike Uchrin, Health Choice CEO, said in a release. "[Members] with serious mental illnesses will receive coordinated and compassionate behavioral and physical health services through Health Choice Integrated Care."
Health Choice landed another Arizona contract earlier this month, with Phoenix Children's Care Network.
Acadia Heathcare is planning a $20 million expansion at one of its treatment centers in New Mexico.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, the renovation at Desert Hills of New Mexico will add 20 beds to an existing 100 and is expected to eventually add 50 jobs. Desert Hills is a residential behavioral treatment center for children and teens, with services for the mentally ill and those with substance abuse issues.
The centerpiece of the Desert Hills expansion is a new 43,342-square-foot residential building designed to the latest treatment standards for housing. Construction has begun on the $10.4 million building, scheduled for completion in April 2015.
Earlier this year, Centerstone Research Institute partnered with Verizon Wireless and Ginger.io, a behavioral health app, to launch coactionHealth, a three-month pilot involving Medicaid patients.
The pilot program, which centered on high-use patients with more than $25,000 in annual health care expenses, provided wellness coaches and support teams through mobile technology and in-person. The program also pushed mobile surveys to the patients, prompting them to answer questions on their well-being. Certain responses to the surveys would trigger alerts to caregivers, notifying them of health issues.
Centerstone reports the program was effective in reducing hospitalizations and readmissions, and the groups plan to expand the pilot to include additional providers and 95 patients.
"The coactionHealth pilot demonstrated that technology can be a vital tool in advancing behavioral health care and making the health care system more efficient and effective for people with chronic and complex conditions," Tom Doub, CRI CEO, said in a release. "By integrating mobile solutions and data analytics into coordinated care program, CRI, Ginger.io and Verizon we able to not only reduce hospitalization costs but create a positive mental and physical change for participants."
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