MRH invests $500K over 2 years for new substance abuse treatment facility
CRAIG — People struggling to overcome substance abuse disorders are one step closer to having a local treatment option after the Memorial Regional Health Board of Trustees voted to approve an investment of a little more than $502,000 over the next two years to support the development of a comprehensive treatment program — both in-patient and out-patient — in Craig.
Ascension Recovery Services, headquartered in Morgantown, West Virginia, working with partners Sunflower Management Group and Affinity Healthcare, are working to develop a new, as yet unnamed, corporation to provide out-patient services later this year and comprehensive in-patient services within 15 months.
Initially, provider space will likely be provided at MRH’s existing medical clinic at 785 Russell St., MRH CEO Andy Daniels said. It’s his understanding that the company is considering making a request to the Moffat County School District Board of Education for the acquisition of the school district administration building at 775 Yampa Ave. once the school district completes relocation of it’s offices to the former East Elementary School building on Texas Avenue.
He said that the board should expect a return on the investment within about 15 months.
“We have a lot of investments right now, and we are waiting for them to turn out,” Daniels said. “There’s a risk in everything.”
He added that MRH will not manage or run the program.
“It’s not our name on the building. The impact on our operations are not significant. It’s an investment,” he said.
Moffat County currently has limited services available for treatment of substance use disorders.
“It’s a resource this community needs,” said Board Chair Todd Jourgensen.
The board discussed a six-month delay before committing funds, but that would leave Ascension Recovery Services and its partners vulnerable.
“They are worried about someone else coming in. … There is additional interest,” said Kyle Miller, MRH vice president of clinical support services.
“What we are going to get out of it and what we will do for the community, it makes this a good idea,” board Secretary/Treasurer Alman Nicodemus said. “I’m in favor of moving forward.”
Nicodemus then moved to approve the investment over the next two years, and his motion was seconded by board member Terry Carwile.
“I think it’s important enough that we need to take a risk,” agreed board member Forrest Luke.
The motion was approved unanimously by members present. Board member Kelly Hepworth, who was called away on a veterinary emergency, was not present to vote.
“We will try to be as conservative as we possibly can,” Daniels said.
After the meeting, former Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid wrote to the Craig Press stating: “I was at the monthly Memorial Regional Health board meeting and witnessed the vote to move forward to establish a drug and alcohol residential treatment facility in Moffat County. Kudos to Andy Daniels and the hospital board of trustees! This is a game changer and could change the face of our community for the better. Last night, the board voted to give desperate people hope. I pray that the treatment facility continues to move forward, that it becomes a huge success and that in turn changes the lives of our family members, neighbors, and the county. Hope is a powerful thing.”
During the meeting, board members also approved a consent agenda to adopt minutes from previous meetings, and after executive sessions, approved the 2018 fourth-quarter risk report and a review of physician contracts.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.
When it opens later this year, the Memorial Regional Health medical office building will recognize supporters with a hand-forged iron tree of life.