Unravelling the Addiction Treatment Industry: An Exclusive Chat with Michael DeMasi, Vice President of Business Growth at Centric Behavioural Health

By  //  September 20, 2023

In the behavioral health arena, one of the most complex areas that continue to challenge professionals is addiction. Tackling addiction is perhaps the most complicated yet urgent problem in this arena.

Business owners within this domain will understand that there is much more involved than simply ticking boxes to meet medical standards. Building partnerships and strategic planning need to form part of everything they do to stay competitive in the marketplace.

To gain valuable insight, we are delighted to welcome the vice president of business development, Mr Michael DeMassi, from Centric Behavioural Health, to discuss this issue. He is a driving force in Centric Behavioural Health, and his vast wealth of experience and knowledge are highly respected. The success of the company is in part due to his incredible determination. During the interview, we will be posing questions that will enable us to understand better how addiction treatment works using the dynamics of the business aspect. Of course, every company has challenges, so we will also speak to him about his challenges and how he develops new strategies in an ever-changing landscape.

Read on to learn the tricks and tips that someone of his standing has picked up over the years when it comes to the intricacies of addiction treatment from the perspective of a business.

Question: When it comes to addiction treatment methodologies, how does innovation play its part, and how do Chief Executives ensure that the centre is able to foster an innovative culture?

Answer: Innovation is a vital and powerful tool. It has the capability to create a revolution, and when it comes to treating addiction, innovation is a very exciting part.

This culture is something that is very much instilled within Centric. We are determined to lead the way when it comes to new methodologies and novel approaches because this is how the best care can be delivered.

A key part of being able to foster such an environment is a strong leadership team. At Centric, we also have several members of the team who have directly or indirectly experienced addiction on a personal level. When you face addiction head-on, it creates a unique passion and a need to be constantly searching for new and effective treatments. 

Innovation requires investment in high-class research and in collaboration with other field experts, as well as the continual need to question and challenge existing methodologies in a quest to find better, more effective and holistic ways of treating addiction.

Question: Branding and marketing of such a sensitive subject requires maintaining high ethical standards, which can be challenging. So, how have you managed to navigate this issue in the promotion of addiction treatment services at your centre?

Answer: Gaining trust is one the most important things you can do, and transparency is the easiest way to ensure this happens. It is such a core ethos that everything we do, including our marketing strategies, is built around the four pillars of our company, which are transparency, credibility, education, and community engagement.

The thinking behind this is as follows.

Transparency means ensuring that any patient or member of their family is easily able to understand every step along the treatment path and the reasons why we are approaching it in this manner.

Credibility is reputation-based. We know that our hard work and dedication will pay off, and therefore, not only can we demonstrate the success stories, but our patients can see the value of our commitment to our evidence-based treatment.

Education helps break down concerns and fears, and this is much bigger than just the patients in our care. It’s important to us that society, on a wider scale, understands what we are doing. So, part of our work is providing information sessions and workshops to help break down addiction and the stigma surrounding it.

Community engagement is our last pillar, and as it sounds, this means we get out and participate in our local community. We want to be seen as a partner, not just a faceless treatment centre, so we take part in awareness sessions and sponsor other local events.

Question: Being the CEO is a big responsibility, and it is important that in this role, they can contribute to the overall success and have a vision that aligns with the rest of the objectives. How do you combine your own personal growth with the need for an effective and strong leadership team?

Answer: The first thing to do is find people who share the vision and purpose. Of course, there has to be a certain skill set involved, but without this important unity and alignment, success will remain out of reach. When we recruit staff at Centric, we are looking to find people who not only demonstrate the professional expertise we need but also have an understanding and commitment to achieving our mission. Whether this is because they have personal experience or just because they are deeply committed and believe in what we are doing, this unity ensures that every decision that is made keeps the patient at the centre of everything we do and focuses on their health and well-being.

It’s also important that we spend time together building our team and recharging using tools such as leadership retreats and teambuilding exercises. This way, we can ensure that the commitment to the vision and values remains at our heart and that everyone is connected.

Question: A successful business must remain compliant with regulations and ethical standards and yet must show profitability and grow. How does a CEO manage this?

Answer: The first rule at Centric is not negotiable in any way, and that is, our ethical practice must be upheld to the highest standards.

To ensure this happens, we have an extensive compliance framework, and every member of the team is committed to this. The framework exceeds industry regulations, and therefore, we can ensure that we do meet them and work hard at being the best.

As mentioned, our recruitment process plays a large part because we are not just looking for professional skills but a strong, ethical compass and belief in everything we do. When you work this way, you bring about a natural alignment with the values of the company. It doesn’t stop there. We also constantly train and retrain in ethics so that we can ensure everyone is maintaining the very important best practices we have developed. Everything we do revolves around a team’s understanding of changing regulations and how things work in real-world scenarios, as this helps us reinforce and test our ethical decision-making abilities. This is how we have been able to maintain our profitability and growth while still adhering to all the regulations and standards presented by the industry.

Question: How can a CEO execute effective strategies that create a work culture of empowerment and support for all staff members who are based in addiction treatment centres?

Answer: The first thing you must do is accept that your business would not be where it is today without the people in it. An atmosphere of support in the workplace boosts staff morale and improves patient outcomes; therefore, we can see why it is so vital that we foster it.

There are several ways to create an environment to support. Mentor programs are always a good place to start using our more experienced team members to guide new starters. This is an excellent way to transfer knowledge and ensure that everyone gets to grow professionally.

Feedback is encouraged both through regular sessions and via anonymous channels if people prefer. The feedback is incredibly useful, and over the years, we have been able to improve where things are not working and celebrate together achievements and successes.

Finally, ongoing training is vital, and we always make sure there is time and opportunity for everyone. This might be in the form of soft skills training or perhaps a workshop that looks at new treatment methodologies. Working in this way helps every member of our team feel valued and capable when it comes to delivering the best treatment for all their patients.