RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -

Renowned addiction treatment providers Hazelden and Betty Ford Center announced today their respective boards have voted to merge.

In a joint statement, the Chair of the Hazelden Foundation Board of Trustees and the Chair of Betty Ford Center's Board of Directors, said, "The integration of these two industry leaders will expand our geographic reach to help more people.  It will position us well to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by health care reform and the rapidly changing marketplace.  The merger will help us achieve scale so we're able to invest in state-of-the-art facilities and research and development."

The combined entity will constitute the largest nonprofit addiction treatment provider in the country.

"Both organizations are iconic leaders and have remarkable strengths," said Mark Mishek current Hazelden President and soon to be CEO of the new organization once the merger is effective. "Combined, we will be able to do more than ever to help all those who are seeking recovery, find it and live it.  This dynamic combination will enable the new `Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation' to become the acknowledged world leader dedicated to alcohol and drug addiction treatment and recovery."

Together, the new organization will offer residential and outpatient services based on its 12-Step, abstinence-based treatment model for individuals suffering from addiction, their families and other loved ones, at 14 sites across the U.S.

Also under the aegis of the new Foundation will be Hazelden's addiction and recovery publishing house (the nation's largest), a fully-accredited graduate school of addiction studies, an addiction research center, a prevention training program, along with Betty Ford Center's education arm for medical professionals and Children's Program.

The agreement now will head through the regulatory approval process, with the goal of completing the merger by year's end.  

Under the terms of the merger agreement, the new entity will be named the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.  The boards will merge; Mishek will become CEO of the combined organization.  Hazelden will also rename its Women's Recovery Center in Minnesota to honor Betty Ford's commitment to promote treatment and recovery for women.

The Ford family will also play a role in the new organization.  Ford's daughter,  Susan Ford Bales, now trustee of the Elizabeth B. Ford Family Trust will help appoint two members of the board according to Mishek.  Bales released this statement after the merger:

"I'm excited that mother's passion and vision for ensuring access to high quality treatment will be honored and expanded.  Mother's and my focus will always be on the patients of addiction and alcoholism and their family members. She would be pleased, as am I, with the Hazelden organization and its outstanding leadership team and staff, each of whom shares our focus."

Hazelden, a national nonprofit organization founded in 1949, helps people fighting addiction.  It has facilities in Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York and Florida.  

Betty Ford Center, a licensed addiction treatment hospital, is based in Rancho Mirage.  Its Children's Program is also offered in Denver and Dallas/Ft. Worth.  It is in the forefront of teaching medical professionals about the disease of addiction.