By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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American Behavioral Health Systems, a private company based in Spokane, has purchased the former Port Angeles Care Center building at 825 E. Fifth St. with plans to create a 30-day treatment center and separate detox facility for drug and alcohol-addicted Medicaid adults, Anderson told the three county commissioners Monday.
“This would be, in most providers' view, a very, very good thing for the community,” she said.
“We've had such as spike in heroin addiction, in particular, and other opiate addiction.”
The facility at the northwest corner of Fifth and Race streets would accept referrals from emergency rooms, drug court programs and outpatient providers throughout the region.
“Some of the funding we get from the state would pay for those services for certain Medicaid clients,” Anderson said.
Although the region has a network of chemical dependency treatment providers, there is no detoxification center on the North Olympic Peninsula.
Patients in need of detox are typically sent to Kitsap County or Tacoma, Anderson said.
“In a way, the detox would serve as the feeder into the inpatient program,” she added.
After the work session, Anderson said the proposed treatment and detox center is “by no means a done deal.”
The city of Port Angeles would have to rezone the facility from residential to commercial.
Anderson said the City Council is expected to consider the zoning aspect during today's 6 p.m. meeting at City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St.
A conditional use permit would be required for the center to open.
If approved by the city, the facility would likely open this fall, Anderson said.
Cost estimates for the new facility are not yet available.
Meanwhile, Peninsula Behavioral Health plans to open a six-bed mental health crisis respite center for patients in a remodeled St. Vincent De Paul building at 112 E. Eighth St. later this year.
Clallam County Health and Human Services Director Iva Burks said the 16-bed inpatient drug and alcohol treatment and 16-bed detox center of American Behavioral Health Systems would “go along with the opening of the crisis center, probably within a few months either way.”
A portion of the chemical dependency patients will have co-occurring mental health disorders, Anderson said.
Commissioner Mike Doherty said the goal has been to serve both sets of clients at one site.
“This is second-best, I guess,” Doherty said, noting the proximity of the proposed sub-acute detox facility to Olympic Medical Center.
The county's Chemical Dependency/Mental Health Program Fund Advisory Board has drafted a letter of support for the East Fifth Street facility to the Port Angeles City Council.
If approved by the city, the center would create about 30 jobs.
It would be operated by American Behavioral Health Systems, which has a primary treatment facility in Spokane, Anderson said.
“Again, most providers we talked to see this as a real plus,” Anderson said of the proposal.
“Everybody can see that this is a real gap in service in our community, and this would fill that.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.