Tribe hopes to ease fears of MAT facility

Health director says they look to correct misnomers

SEQUIM — Brent Simcosky, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s health services director, hopes the tribe’s August forum on a proposed Medical-Assisted Treatment facility can help alleviate concerns heard at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Simcosky was one of several civic and health officials in attendance at the city meeting on the tribe’s proposed facility, which was attended by about 500 people.

After hearing from residents Monday, Simcosky said there’s a lot of fear for the facility “based on misinformation.”

“The last thing we want to do is make it unsafe for folks in Sequim,” he said.

The tribe will host a meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, in the Guy Cole Event Center in Carrie Blake Park, 202 N. Blake Ave. The forum has been moved from Blyn because of the expected attendance.

MAT facility

The tribe’s proposed two-phase MAT facility and an inpatient psychiatric evaluation and treatment facility, called a Healing Campus, would dispense daily doses of methadone, Suboxone and Vivitrol in a 15,000-square-foot building that could grow to about 25,000 square feet, tribal officials said.

The tribe applied for and received $7.2 million for phase one from the state’s capital budget application, and tribal officials plan to seek the remainder of the facility’s funding in the 2020 legislative session.

Simcosky said the tribe will use about $3 million of its own funds for Phase One as well.

He said patients would be self-referred and not be, as some residents said during Monday’s forum, as “hardcore addicts in downtown Seattle.”

Simcosky said the biggest misnomer he’s heard is that the facility will grow up to 600 beds.

“We’re only going to see 250 patients but that’s going to take a couple of years,” he said.

“We’ll do intakes and select the right people for self-referral. If any problems arise, we can fix them.

“We’ll work out a mitigation plan with the city, [and]put tracking badges on people. We can do all kinds of things.”

On Aug. 8, Simcosky said tribal staff will lead an approximate 20-minute presentation with ifnroamtion presented by leaders from other stakeholders, like Olympic Medical Center, as well as law enforcement

‘Hear us out’

“We’re asking people to hear us out,” Simcosky said. “If they disagree with what we’re doing, I get it. At least disagree with the facts and not some perceived thing.”

Simcosky said tribal leaders have spoken to local health care organizations about a possible facility for one-and-a-half-years and they seemed supportive to help stop the opioid epidemic.

“We didn’t know we were going to buy this property but it was zoned for health care and the owner dropped their price $600,000,” he said. “We thought it was an opportunity.”

Despite most in attendance at Monday’s forum opposed to the tribe’s facility, Simcosky said he feels there are just as many people in favor of the project as at the forum.

“We can build it, but we want people to feel comfortable and safe,” he said. “We’ll prove it once we open it. We’d like more people to feel comfortable now though.”

For more information on the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, visit jamestowntribe.org or call the clinic at 360-683-5900.

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