Boston Business Journal
October 15, 2014

When Walden Behavioral Care opened its first eating disorder treatment center in Waltham in 2003, most of the patients were adolescent women.

Now, the for-profit organization is treating girls as young as 8 years old, and treating an increasing number of boys. Older women suffering from anorexia, binge eating, and bulimia are coming forward for the first time to seek help.

As the proliferation of eating disorders increases, Walden has expanded, opening a 7,000 square-foot day clinic and outpatient treatment center in Peabody on Oct. 13.

The expansion is only the beginning for the organization, which treats over 300 patients each month in six treatment centers, 47 hospital beds, and 20 residential beds.

“We are looking to expand and expand into other areas,” said Stu Koman, Walden president and CEO. “We’re discussing opening an inpatient unit in Connecticut and we’re talking to a number of general hospitals about leasing space to allow us to expand.”

The group has already begun their expansion into Connecticut, opening a day clinic in 2013 as part of a plan to expand into all the New England states.

The Peabody location will help broaden access to similar day programs in the North Shore, putting 90 percent of the state within 45 minutes of a Walden clinic.

Coupled with existing and to-be-expanded inpatient programs, Koman said his organization has been able to offer comprehensive treatment of eating disorders.

“The whole idea about Walden is that we provide a full system of care. We try to have our and be able to stick with our patients through their recovery process. We don’t have to refer them out,” Koman said.

Funding for the Peabody expansion came from Seacoast Capital out of Danvers. The funding is mainly debt, which will translate into partial ownership once the debt is repaid, Koman said.

The expansion of the residential and hospital level of care programs will take even more capital, however Koman said financial support had been readily available.

“Behavioral health has become a hot market, and we had probably over 20 groups interested during (our) equity infusion,” Koman said.

Besides Waltham and South Windor, Connecticut, Walden has current locations in Northampton, Worcester, Braintree.