Laura Lovett at Behavioral Health Business:
The Centers for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) is shutting down – or has already halted – operations in 10 states.
Backed by private equity firm Blackstone, CARD is one of the largest autism providers in the U.S. At the end of 2021, CARD was operating in 24 states across the country and had 221 locations. Following these closures, it will operate in 14 states.
The company was acquired by Blackstone, whose investments also include virtual behavioral health provider Ginger and consumer genomics giant Ancestry.
The decision to pull back in certain markets comes after key CARD leadership changes. In February, Jennifer Webster came on board as CEO to replace Tony Kilgore, who resigned for undisclosed reasons.
CARD is just one of the many autism providers downsizing.
Looking at the autism space overall, investors and ABA providers grew national platforms as quickly as possible to try to gain market share and leverage in payer rate negotiations. Throughout 2022, some of these companies were forced to cut back operations to match economic realities in local employment markets and limited reimbursement increases.