Betty Ford Center and Hazelden Foundation say talks for partnership ongoing despite leadership shake-up

July 26th, 2013 | by Victoria Pelham | Comments

The Betty Ford Center and Hazelden Foundation both say that talks to create a formal partnership are still ongoing, despite the shake-up this week that removed Betty Ford Center CEO John Schwarzlose from daily operations and included the departure of two board members.

Schwarzlose, who had been at the helm of the center since it opened and had plans to retire in 2014, was moved to a “CEO emeritus” role through a board decision. Two board members resigned the day he was told.

The drug and alcohol abuse treatment facilities, both operated on the same 12-step recovery model, have been in discussions this summer to form an alliance.

In Thursday’s story, Betty Ford Center officials said the two facilities were still in discussions ahead of a planned meeting in Center City, Minnesota.

A foundation spokeswoman repeated the Betty Ford Center’s position – almost word for word —  in an email statement Friday.

“The talks on the Betty Ford Center/Hazelden integration are continuing, and the organizations are actively engaged in the due diligence process,” the foundation’s Christine Anderson said. “Several complex business matters will be discussed between the two organizations at an upcoming meeting next month in Center City, Minnesota.”

The Minnesota-based Hazelden Foundation runs treatment centers throughout the country, while Betty Ford Center leadership has traditionally been focused on its Rancho Mirage site. But the board has disagreed in recent years on whether or not the center should expand, and The Desert Sun has reported extensively on internal controversies at the center which have left its future leadership in question.

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