We are less than one week away from the launch of our ETHOS seminar series, and we could not be more excited! Our dynamic speakers are prepared to deliver truly actionable business and ethics training to attendees at our first event in Chicago. (If you haven’t registered yet, it’s not too late!)
Harry Nelson is one such presenter who will offer valuable insight on the complex legal landscape of the addiction treatment industry. Harry is the founder and managing partner of Nelson Hardiman and recently helped to launch the American Addiction Treatment Association (AATA), the first organization to provide national legal, regulatory, and compliance resources in the area of addiction treatment.
We sat down with Harry to discuss his approach to tackling regulatory challenges in the addiction treatment space, and what he hopes to offer ETHOS attendees.
Recovery Brands: You’ve been a problem-solver for the healthcare industry for more than two decades. How has this vast experience shaped your approach to tackling regulatory challenges in the healthcare space?
Harry: The most important lessons I’ve learned during my 25 years of practicing healthcare regulatory law are:
a.) Integrity and transparency need to be overriding values in addressing challenges, and
b.) Even short-term problems call for a long-term lens.
All too often, organizations facing regulatory challenges expend their most precious resource, credibility, by not owning up to previous mistakes and committing to a path forward that ensures survival and success. The single biggest mistake that healthcare organizations make is squandering credibility with short-term thinking. Stay away from quick fixes!
The key to enduring success is not only achieving desired near-term outcomes, but also building a foundation based on trust, vulnerability, and openness to create a strong business organization hand in hand with legal and regulatory compliance.
Recovery Brands: You recently released a book which discusses the direction of future healthcare policies. Where do you think the biggest opportunity lies for behavioral health organizations to adjust their sails and succeed in the future?
Harry: We are entering uncharted territory with enormous uncertainty about the future of behavioral health coverage, and facing the prospect of a significantly smaller number of insured lives as well as lower reimbursement levels. Only organizations that build effective evidenced-based models which also integrate into larger health networks and systems will succeed.
Because addiction treatment was largely outside the parameters of insurance reimbursement until 2012, it has not been fully subjected to evidence-based criteria that drive treatment of medical health conditions. As such, we continue to face surprisingly high rates of relapse and legitimate questions about efficacy. This also presents opportunity for significant advances in identifying evidence-based approaches to deal with the opioid epidemic and the broader addiction crisis.
Recovery Brands: You’ve taken special interest in the addiction treatment space, helping to launch the American Addiction Treatment Association. Why did you want to place your stake and offer your voice to the evolving world of addiction treatment regulations?
Harry: The most stunning aspect of my long career in healthcare is the extent to which behavioral health generally, and addiction treatment specifically, have been ignored and/or not been taken seriously. In that light, I’m deeply inspired by healthcare professionals who have suffered through addictions that upended their lives who now dedicate themselves to helping others in similar circumstances. I want to do my part so we see the day when addiction treatment is on the same page as heart disease.
I’ve also been personally affected by the disease. I’ve witnessed firsthand the enormous suffering close friends experienced when their child’s life was cut short by drug overdose. My biggest fear is that one of my children would ever need to go through our drug treatment system. That’s what drives me.
Recovery Brands: How does the ETHOS Series align with AATA’s mission and why do you think addiction professionals should attend?
Harry: There is close alignment between our mission of clarifying and helping establish standards for compliance across industry issues and the ETHOS focus on ethical practices as a foundation of organizational success. We are thrilled to have partners who are equally committed to ethics and understand that ethical practice pave the way to the greatest level of strategic success for any organization.