Jeff Pritchard Takes on Oceans Healthcare’s Newly Minted COO Role

Jeff Pritchard started at the bottom of the ladder in addiction treatment. In the early 1990s, he worked as a behavioral health technician in Terra Alta, West Virginia — population: 1,713.

Today, he’s the new chief operating officer for Oceans Healthcare LLC, a fast-growing Plano, Texas-based psychiatric and addiction treatment provider. He started the role at the end of May.

“The drive to serve people was something that always made a lot of sense,” Pritchard told Behavioral Health Business.. “From those earliest days talking to people with mental health or addiction issues, you realize that what people really need is to be heard and to be treated with dignity and respect.”


That, Pritchard explained, was something that “grabbed” him early on.

In the newly created COO role, he oversees all the day-to-day operations of Oceans Healthcare. He took over those duties from CEO Stuart Archer, who Pritchard said was “playing double duty.”

The company already has a considerable footprint that’s also quickly growing.


Oceans Healthcare takes on the future

Founded in 2004, Oceans Healthcare has seen the number of people it employs and its annual revenue increase by 44% from 2017 to 2021.

Today, Oceans Healthcare employs 2,300 people, 900 of which are clinicians, across 23 inpatient facilities and 20 outpatient locations in three states: Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Oceans Healthcare’s revenue grew 29% to $154 million in 2020, according to data Oceans provided to the Dallas Business Journal. Based on other data from the publication, Oceans’ 2021 revenue would be about $158 million, assuming 44% growth.

The growth that has of late defined Oceans Healthcare — and caught the attention of Pritchard — may accelerate after taking on new capital.

In February, Oceans Healthcare announced a new financial partnership with Waltham, Massachusetts-based private equity firm Webster Equity Partners, ending its relationship with General Catalyst Partners. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In 2013, Oceans Healthcare raised $17 million from General Catalyst.

At some level, Pritchard said that the new investment in the company was part of the reason that he was brought on, freeing Archer to focus on advocating for the behavioral health industry, as well as supporting the growth and vision of the company.

“The other thing that really stands out for me was there’s a true advocacy piece,” Pritchard said. “You see this from Stuart and from the team; there’s really a piece where it’s not just we’re in this business. We’ve got to make things better in the system for folks with needs. We have to do a lot of high-level work to accomplish that.”

Also in February, West Palm Beach, Florida-based Comvest Credit Partners and Greenwich, Connecticut-based Silver Point Capital LP announced that they partnered to provide Oceans Healthcare with a $109 million credit facility as part of the Webster Equity Partners investment.

“Part of the vision that excited me was the want of Oceans to grow and take this great product and spread it to other folks in need,” Pritchard said. “Webster, obviously, joining in that as a partner is pretty exciting.”

Pritchard’s experience in the field

Pritchard wasn’t looking for a new opportunity when a recruiter approached him about taking on the newly created COO role at Oceans Healthcare. But the timing of that outreach was just right.

Previously, Pritched worked as COO of Louisville, Kentucky-based Springstone Inc., a mental health and addiction treatment provider that operates 18 hospitals and over 30 outpatient locations. He started with Springstone as a facility CEO in West Chester, Ohio, in November 2015 and became COO in August 2019.

In late October, Medical Properties Trust (NYSE: MPW) closed a $950 million deal to acquire Springstone’s hospital portfolio and the interest in Springstone from its owner Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, a New York City-based private equity firm.

Medical Properties Trust leased the facilities back to Springstone and included a $185 million loan for the company as part of the deal.

“If you’re ever going to look, the time to do it is after that sale,” Pritchard said. “I was at that point where it made sense to listen. … I was just really blown away by the people, first and foremost.”

Pritchard was also attracted to the culture of Oceans Healthcare — an important factor in his decision to join the company. It was similar in some ways to Springtone’s culture. Key elements include focusing on the patient experience, safety and care quality.

“T​hey cared about getting people better,” Pritchard said.

Looking back, Pritchard is somewhat incredulous about how his career has taken its course. For a few years, he worked for a wound care company in the 2000s. But he couldn’t find what he was looking for and jumped back into the behavioral health space.

“If someone would have asked me 30 years ago, ‘What are you going to do when you grow up?’ I don’t know it would be this. I didn’t know this was a thing,” Pritchard said. “But I’m really happy to be doing it.”

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