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Ravenna's former Altercare facility on New Milford Road could become the frontline of opioid epidemic under a proposal from Family & Community Services, Inc.
The proposal was submitted to the Sales and Use Tax Subcommittee for considering last week ahead of a planned regular meeting of the body on Wednesday. That meeting will be held at 9 a.m. in the 7th floor boardroom instead of the usual 3rd floor conference room.
The plan calls for a "Detoxification and Residential Treatment Center and Recovery Campus" housed at the former Altercare facility in Ravenna. That property is currently owned by Neighborhood Development Services.
"The advantage of this facility over others it that it will provide multiple treatments under one roof, reducing the likelihood of relapse, and increasingly timely and continuous treatment in a supportive sober environment," the proposal reads.
The plan calls for 16 detox beds and 44 residential beds for both men and women, with addiction services ranging from "medical oversight and detox assistance to individual and group counseling, with 24 hour supervision," a concept that involves clients progressing from detox to residential treatment, each housed in separate wings of the building.
Both wings will include units certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, one Medically Monitored Inpatient Detoxification unit (16 beds for 3 to 7 days) and one Clinically Managed Low-Intensity Residential unit (44 beds for up to 60 days).
An estimated 832-1,952 people could be served in one year for detox, with an additional 528 in the residential wing.
A second floor wing could also provide 14 reentry housing units under the supervision of Judge Becky Doherty and Sheriff's Major Dale Kelly. Specific plans were not included in the proposal, however.
F&CS projects the facility to break even in expenses due to a reliance on Medicaid and commercial insurance. That plan could fail, however, if the state budget eliminates expansion measures on Medicaid.
As proposed, the facility will cost $1.5 million to staff both wings. That staff will include a director, program manager, a medical doctor, nurse and assistant, therapist, case manager, advocate and a few essential staff.
NDS purchased the property in 2015 for $15,000, but the building is now in desperate need of rehabilitation itself: F&Cs estimates that holding costs, boiler work, various maintenance items -- including a new roof and security system -- amounts to about $200,000 in direct costs.
According to the proposal, the plan is for NDS to repair the building and donate it to F&CS for operation. "NDA has sufficient cash to begin the project," the proposal states. F&CS estimates $2.5 million is necessary for development work. It is unclear who would provide this funding.
While F&CS director Mark Frisone has voiced support for the plan and has actively been working with NDS to obtain the building, County Commissioner Maureen Frederick has expressed concern over the sustainability of the facility.
Frederick said the county currently pays around $250,000 for Park House (operated by F&CS) in hopes that county residents that are not eligible for state and federal insurance programs could receive care.
It is now in the hands of the Sales and Use Tax Subcommittee to consider, alongside six other proposals, each vying for roughly $5 million generated by the quarter-percent sales tax imposed by commissioners in 2015.