Citing ‘New Needs,’ Addiction Treatment Provider Aware Recovery Care Shakes Up C-Suite

Aware Recovery Care has had a total reset in its C-suite. The shakeup comes as it settles in under a new CEO and continues its steep growth trajectory.

Since the beginning of the year, the in-home addiction treatment provider has seen 12 C-suite executives come and go — seven people leaving and five new people joining the leadership team. By the end of the year, the company will have had three different chief operating officers.

Aware Recovery Care CEO Brian Holzer, who joined the company in April, told Behavioral Health Business that the company’s leadership shakeup is a response to the organization’s changing needs. Looking ahead, Holzer noted the company is focusing on hyper-growth and shifting to greater use of technology.


“The company is growing, and we need different things. In many cases, we are adding, not replacing,” Holzer said. “The organization just has new needs, and that’s why you’re seeing the influx of these executives.”

Holzer replaced co-founder Stephen Randazzo in the CEO role, coming to the company from the corporate leadership of the national post-acute and specialty hospital provider Kindred Healthcare. Randazzo moved to chairman at Aware Recovery Care.

Earlier in October, the company announced the addition of three C-suite leaders: Chief Legal Officer Jennifer Lohse, formerly of Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation; Chief People Officer Roy Day, formerly of Wellpath; and Chief Information Officer Mark Tumblin.


The chief legal officer and chief people officer roles are new additions to the leadership team.

While the company has had other IT and human resources leaders outside of the C-suite, the addition of Day and Tumblin better supports the size and trajectory of the company, Holzer said. Tumblin succeeds Kara Evans, who left the role at the end of August.

“Mark just brings 40 years of health information technology expertise, a lot of expertise in the area of machine learning and artificial intelligence that will really help us evolve into a tech-enabled service,” Holzer said.

On the side of departures, Aware Recovery Care hired Dennis Fitzpatrick to succeed Lee Tuveson as chief financial officer, making the announcement in August.

Matt Eacott, a co-founder and chief operating officer, shifted to an advisory role in January. Erin Scraper took up the role in May and will leave the role at the end of the month.

Holzer said the company has found a new COO but will hold off on announcing the candidate until the beginning of December.

Aware Recovery Care presently is without a C-suite leader dedicated to clinical care. The company previously elevated a state medical director to the chief medical officer role. However, it was untenable to have a leader concurrently hold both roles. Further, Aware Recovery Care’s state medical directors operate as contractors, Holzer said.

The company hired Jonathan Muther in April as chief clinical officer, but he has since left the role. Aware Recovery Care Head of Medical Affairs Shelley Halligan is standing in as chief clinical officer until the company hires a new chief medical officer. The company plans on doing so by the end of the year. Halligan will report to the new CMO, Holzer said.  

Aware Recovery Care President Andrea Auxier, who joined the C-suite in May 2021 and was made president in February, left in late September and has become the founding CEO of a psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy startup in stealth mode that’s backed by Redesign Health. The company won’t seek a new president, Holzer said. 

The behavioral health C-suite landscape 

There are typical and expected phases of development at a company that tends to have more executive change than others, Tim Gordon, founder and managing partner of executive search and consulting firm Aequitas Partners, told BHB. These junctures often fall along the amount of revenue generated or the headcount of the company.

“If you lump it all together, the odds that your C-suite folks are the same when you’re at $2 million in revenue as you are when you’re $20 million is low,” Gordon said. “From a headcount perspective, there are people that are really good at zero to 50. … Over 150 is a whole new skill set for a lot of folks. So the odds that someone who’s really good from zero to 50 is also really good at 300 is pretty slim, but not impossible.”

In general, C-suite executive changes don’t typically indicate fundemental problems within a company as much as they do suggest cultural issues, or the fact that those leaders are simply ill-fitted for the role, Gordon said.

“Growth exposes cracks in the foundation if it’s not properly laid, and that’s normal,” Gordon said.

The behavioral health space has not seen unusual levels of executive changes, and many companies are adding to their C-suites, Gordon said.

Behavioral health, especially in the digital space, is attractive to C-suite and other high-positioned executives. The influx of venture capital and private equity combined with the heady and daunting challenges appeal to many in the entrepreneurial space, Gordon said.

Aware Recovery Care’s growth 

Aware Recovery Care is stretching itself from a private-pay company that plowed fresh ground as a novelty provider in a few states to the only scaled in-home addiction treatment provider in the nation. On top of that, it’s expanding its national footprint with sophisticated partnerships with major payers.

Based in Wallingford, Connecticut, Aware Recovery Care was founded in 2011. It secured its $22 million Series A round in a round led by New York City-based Health Enterprise Partners in January 2021.

The company now employs about 750. The company employed 300 people in 2020. Since April, the company has added 175 new employees, Holzer said.

“This company has, I would argue, a leadership team that’s second to none for companies of our stage,” Holzer said. “I don’t know that it’s all that usual to even see this degree of leadership talent at an organization that is sub-1,000 employees and just north of a Series A round.”

He added that the new C-suite members have also brought “a sense of calmness and competency to the organization.”

Aware Recovery Care now operates in nine states. But it will soon operate in 12. Service will launch in Kentucky in early December, and in New York and Georgia during the first quarter of 2023, Holzer said.

The company also holds 16 value-based care contracts. Aware Recovery Care’s program is a year-long in-home effort that provides several types of care and seeks to help direct patients to other local care partners as needed.

Historically, Aware Recovery Care’s top barrier to growth was bringing payers around to their value-based care-focused care model because they often lacked a frame of reference.

But that may be shifting as payers begin to explore value-based care, opening up the way for accelerated growth.

“What we are doing is different,” Holzer said. “But we have a track record of six years growing with delivering outcomes for an anchor, large national health plan. … Along the way, other health plans have stepped up and recognized the uniqueness of our model – and the differentiated outcomes we’re able to deliver.”

Where the company is going

While Aware Recovery Care won’t shift its care model, Holzer said it will push its operations in a different direction, one that focuses on technology to make its operations more impactful and efficient.

“I think that’s fairly natural in the evolution of a people-first company,” Holzer said. “We’re not a technology company; our DNA is people. We believe that … the outcomes we drive are because of the interactions with people in the home.”

But ultimately, Aware Recovery Care will “embrace technology” that can help make its employees and caregivers “even more effective,” he explained.

Aware Recovery Care, for example, is using wearable technology paired with self-report data to track stress levels, using that data to provide insights on whether or not a person is heading toward relapse. Holzer declined to name the company Aware Recovery is partnering with in its pilot of wearables.

Additionally, the company has contracted with Bamboo Health to use its cross-setting health care use tracking system to identify patients who have sought higher levels of care and intervene as needed.

“It brings that real-time data, objective data into the equation to allow our care team to be informed, over a longitudinal period of time, of what’s going on with the client and then that can drive either an increase or reduction in the frequency of visits into the home,” Holzer said.

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