Purchase of National Deaf Academy


Sold: In the news this week, the Florida-based National Deaf Academy (NDA) has been purchased by Psychiatric Solutions, Inc. (PSI). A residential treatment program for Deaf children, adolescents, and adults in need of intensive psychiatric care, NDA is one of the few inpatient programs in the United States that specifically serves the Deaf community. With the purchase of NDA, PSI now runs 61 psychiatric inpatient programs in 27 states.

Good news? Bad news? Does anyone know?

  1. Jules -oo- July 7, 2006

    From a business standpoint it’s good news for PSI because NDA reported revenues of $14.2 million in 2005. This is from Reuters stocks “key developments” website. There are a number of other articles about this purchase of which all are from business publications. I’ve yet to see anything discussing the sale from a different perspective. It may be it’s too early? Also, I’ve been trying to find out PSI’s record with the other institutions they’ve bought and so far the market is the only information I am finding. So, I admit to curiosity as to what PSI’s track record has been like with the institutions they’ve bought…and by track record I mean the care and working conditions for both clients and employees. I think this is what you wish to know about, too. I wish I had a more direct answer. I will say, though, that I get nervous when there are only market reports about a business. -oo-

  2. Alan Cohen, MD June 20, 2007

    To those of you curious about the NDA sale to PSI:

    I am the original Founder and Medical Director of National Deaf Academy, and it was my decision to sell to PSI last year. Though my motivation was clearly personal, my emotional investment in NDA is quite strong and I had numerous options available to me once I made the commitment to pass the baton. The reader should know that prior to even discussing the possibility of putting NDA up for sale that I approached both Gallaudet University and Sorenson in an effort to keep the facility in Deaf hands. Unfortunately, neither expressed any interest and I was ultimately faced with options only in the business world.

    That said, and given my complete appreciation for the past negative experiences when Deaf institutions are transferred to non-Deaf hands, I will only say that for NDA to prosper and provide help for Deaf patients and jobs for Deaf staff members, it has to function as an efficient business. I am aware that many Deaf people fear that NDA will become “less” Deaf as a result of the sale, but that anxiety neglects the fact that any dilution of NDA’s “Deafness” would directly effect the quality of business, and therefore, be less likely to happen. In short, the market will control NDA’s destiny — if NDA continues to provide high quality care to a needy population, it will continue to flourish as evidenced by the recent completion of 48 additional beds that were solely financed by PSI.

    In addition to the above, please note that PSI required me to remain in my position as CEO and Medical Director for a minimum of 18 months as a condition of the sale, and has been nothing but extremely supportive since the closing last July. Further, special arrangements were made to continue NDA’s original 401K plan for at least a while.

    I fully understand everyone’s concern, but in reality, if Deaf businesses are to grow, there has to be a willingness to be evaluated on the basis of merit rather than as a “special” program in need of concessions. I am confident that the facuility itself, as well as the extraordinary programs and staff that we have amassed over the years, will enable NDA to be regarded as one of the highest quality mental health programs in the nation — not just the best “Deaf” program. Ultimately, that is in everybody’s best interest.

    I would encourage anyone with questions to contact me directly at NDA.com.

    Alan Cohen, MD


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