Memorial Regional Health: Clearing up misconceptions
We want to thank Melvin and Joan Snyder for their comments published on June 19, 2019 regarding the proposed Providence Recovery Solutions (PRS) initiative tentatively to be located at the 775 Yampa Ave. building. We also have received multiple inquiries from community members via social media and e-mail. The purpose of this communication is to address a few factually inaccurate comments and concerns circulating through various media outlets. We can only address such comments as they pertain to MRH.
First, this joint venture is not “an out-of-state firm that has no ties to our community.” This is a public-private partnership where MRH retains 50% ownership of the new corporate entity: PRS. The corporation was formed in Colorado along with two other private investors (an individual physician who was born, raised, and has current family ties to this part of Colorado and another company). This new entity and public-private partnership has contracted with an out-of-state organization to help manage the services for a limited engagement and time.
Second, the information relating to, “(no-one) knows what exactly are the plans to “revamp” it to meet the needs of this out-of-state company,” may have been missed by the community. The Craig Press published the redesign of the building several months ago. The link to that publication is here: https://www.craigdailypress.com/news/memorial-regional-health- moffat-county-school-district-provide-answers-treatment-center/. The building renovations are currently projected to exceed $1.1 million and are required to meet state and federal regulatory compliance.
Third, we appreciate the comment regarding the use of the old Russell Street hospital. In terms of the old hospital, before MRH decided to build the new medical office building (currently under construction), the old hospital building was fully evaluated in terms of its ability to be salvaged by an outside engineering firm. Sadly, the building is beyond its past useful life, renovation costs are prohibitive, and the engineering consultants recommended that the building be demolished. It is clearly not suitable for continued public or private use.
We have also receive communications not associated with Melvin and Joan Snyder’s letter to the editor. We hope that some of the answers below will help further explain and clarify a few misinformed themes circulating in the community:
Public Comment: MRH is collaborating with Ascension who is the largest not for profit health care system in the United States, operating in 21 states and the District of Columbia.
This statement is incorrect. Ascension Recovery Services is not affiliated with or part of Ascension Healthcare. Ascension Recovery Services is located in Morgantown, West Virginia. Ascension Recovery Services is engaged on a limited basis by PRS to help start and manage the facility. They are not owners or investors of PRS.
Public Comment: No plans have been announced related to MRH’s old hospital located at 785 Russell St.
In 2016, MRH contracted with an engineering company to do a complete mechanical, electrical and plumbing analysis of the old hospital building prior to beginning the construction of the replacement medical office building attached to the main hospital campus. As previously stated, MRH received a recommendation that the building was not salvageable and should be demolished. This is what will ultimately happen to the building. The land will be re-zoned residential per city requirements and either donated or sold.
Public Comment: The care (drug rehabilitation) begins with an isolation period in a, drug, alcohol, and sober living facility. For a 30 or 60-day period, the client is provided with only very limited access outside the Treatment Center. Clients may get some limited privileges, like time to go to a park.
PRS is not a detox facility. The comments above reflect care at a detox facility. A detox facility offers significantly different services as compared to a sober living facility. PRS provides two distinct services: (1) intensive outpatient therapy along with medicated addiction therapy (MAT) that is closely monitored by medical providers, and (2) a sober living component. The entire purpose of this project and endeavor was to meet a community need pertaining to drug and alcohol substance abuse and recovery. While it is true that the “sober living” component will attract patients from outside the area, they are not relocating here permanently. These patients are coming to Craig for a respite to heal. They are not mandated by court order to achieve any treatment goals. The bulk of the services will be serving local community members on an outpatient basis. These are your neighbors, your friends, and people who live here in Craig and around Moffat County that are in need of PRS services.
Public Comment: How much has been budgeted for renovations and where does that money come from?
Estimates for renovations are currently around $1.1 million. It is anticipated that a private developer will provide funds to renovate and sub-lease the building back to Providence Recovery.
Public Comment: When does the hospital plan to have the treatment center open and operating?
We assume that this comment is based on the confusion surrounding the Ascension Recovery Services and Ascension Healthcare entities. Providence Recovery has not set an exact timeline yet for being fully open. Opening is based on how fast renovations can be completed. As a conservative estimate, eight to nine months to be fully operational is a workable timeline allowing for licensing and renovations.
Public Comment: Where does the money from Providence Recovery go?
Assuming the joint venture is successful and profits exists beyond what is necessary to put back into the organization to grow it, pay for expenses and capital improvements, like any other business, profits return to the investors.
In summary, the underlying purpose of this project was to address a local community need pertaining to drug and alcohol substance abuse and recovery. While it is true that the “sober living” component will attract patients from outside the Moffat County area, they are not relocating to Craig permanently. Indeed, these particular patients are using PRS to heal, and are not required by legal process to seek such assistance.
Most importantly, the majority of the services provided by PRS will be utilized by local community members on an outpatient basis. Hopefully, your neighbors, your friends, and community members who permanently live in Craig and around Moffat County will seek to heal in this fashion.
Memorial Regional Health administration