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The boards of the Betty Ford Center and the Hazelden Foundation, two of the nation’s biggest addiction treatment providers, are considering a formal alliance, the Pioneer Press reports.

In an announcement released this week, both boards said they have engaged in talks. No formal contract is close to being drafted, they noted. Officials at both organizations said one incentive for a possible alliance is the Affordable Care Act, which is expected to greatly increase the number of Americans who will receive health care coverage.

Judge Susan Fox Gillis, Chair of Hazelden’s Board of Trustees, said the health care law provides challenges and opportunities. “The good news is that many more Americans who desperately need help will be eligible to receive quality treatment for their addiction to alcohol or other drugs,” she says. “The challenge will be to pay for that expanded coverage and service. At this stage it appears that institutionally, only the strong will survive and thrive. Both Betty Ford and Hazelden are recognized as industry leaders, but the fact is we’d be even stronger if we collaborated on a formal basis.”

Both organizations provide inpatient and outpatient services for drug and alcohol abuse. Hazelden, based in Center City, Minnesota, employs about 1,000 people in Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York and Florida. The Betty Ford Center, in Rancho Mirage, California, was founded by the wife of former President Gerald Ford. It employs about 225 people. The statement notes that in both organizations, “the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous provide the foundation for treatment protocols, which are abstinence-based.”

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