At least one alternative treatment center license applicant is feeling pangs of stress from a stay granted by courts that put ATC award announcements on hold.
Travis Ally, founder of vertical integration license applicant 93 ID Inc., said that a delay of even three months might be more than local operators who expected decisions by December can handle.
“A three-month delay as no big deal might be the case for multi-state operators, but to folks like us…local operators had to work hard to put together a complete application,” Ally said. “It’s not just the costs of the application and lawyers. You have to have site control. Right now we’re paying a lease on property in Orange, and we’re talking about 50,000 square feet of warehouse space. That’s costly. Now we have to pay another four to five months of leases at a huge cost, and we’re probably better off than some small agencies who maybe put their life savings [on the line].
“Once you’re licensed, it frees up so much more capital,” he added. “For entities like ours and smaller ones dealing with less capital, a delay until April might end them.”
Small operators gave estimates of their needs to investors based on the implied timing of last year’s awards, he said.
For entities like ours and smaller ones dealing with less capital, a delay until April might end them.
– Travis Ally, founder of vertical integration license applicant 93 ID Inc.
“The Department of Health didn’t make any guarantees for exactly when the announcement would be made. But in the different networking events, questions were asked about when we could expect to know and the thing we were told consistently was ‘you’ll know before 2020.’ The implication was no later than Dec. 31.”
To Ally, the solution is simple: “Winners were already picked,” he said. “Let the winners win, and let the lawsuits play out. If the winners win the lawsuit, score them out, and if they have enough points, grant them licenses. We’re talking about patients’ rights and access here.”
Another application round is expected in early 2020.
If granted a license, 93 ID would be up and running in four to six months, Ally said.
“People of color, formerly incarcerated, veterans, there’s a lot of folks where the medication is inaccessible [that] we reached out to,” Ally said, who himself is a veteran of color. His company name pays homage to the 93rd Infantry Division, a “colored” segregated unit of the United States Army in World War I and World War II.
His team developed a curriculum to bring to veteran’s homes, nursing homes, and elsewhere to educate these populations.
“The biggest hurdle is patient education,” he said.
If 93 ID doesn’t get a license, Ally said, he has no problem accepting it. He just wants to get the ball rolling.
Josh Bauchner, who represents the five disqualified groups that asked for the stay that has halted the awards process, told NJBIZ that his local clients are equally impacted.
“The whole point of this process is to create an equal playing field for everyone, whether you’re a big national player or local player,” Bauchner said. “Both types of applicants were improperly disqualified because of this issue.”