In an interview with Patti Greenough this afternoon, Historic City News editor Michael Gold learned of plans to raise $1.65 million to purchase about 8,500 square-feet of clinical treatment facilities as part of an effort to bring a detoxification center to St Johns County.
Greenough, who is Chief Executive Officer of EPIC Behavioral Healthcare, said the race is on to see if the agency can raise the major capital expenditure before an August 1, 2013 deadline.
“This property on US-1 South near Old Moultrie Road is ideal for our needs,” Greenough observed. “Since it is already built, we are presented with a significant cost savings and are many months closer to delivering services to those who require treatment.”
The medical treatment available in the facility will be voluntary; no one will be sentenced to participate. Too often, because such a facility is not available, the patients who need detoxification wind up being taken to an emergency room, or to jail.
Payment for detox services will be blended, according to Greenough. “There will be some fee-for-service, billing of private insurance, indigent care, as well as government payment.”
Once the property is acquired, and the medical staff is in place, the center will have access to $1.3 million which was appropriated in the state budget to defray operating costs of the center in St Johns County.
“Addiction treatment yields lower crime, and medical costs,” Greenough explained. “We are very appreciative to the State Legislature for recognizing this need.”
The planned facility will have 16 beds and be led by a team of physicians, nurses, and trained substance abuse professionals, according to Greenough.
The stakeholders in other local agencies support the effort being undertaken by EPIC; citing the need and importance of a detox center in St Johns County for the safety and well-being of our residents.
Greenough told Historic City News that St Johns County is the largest county in the State of Florida without such a facility. According to St Johns County Sheriff, David Shoar, 80% of our residents that needed detox assistance last year were unable to receive the necessary medical care.
Shoar is joined by the St Johns County Board of County Commissioners, Flagler Hospital, the St Johns County School District, the City of St Augustine, State Attorney R. J. Larizza, United Way of St Johns County, and Home Again St Johns in endorsing the proposed detox center.
“Most people are touched by substance abuse in some way,” Greenough pointed out. “A detox center will allow for the evaluation, stabilization and the fostering of a person’s readiness for entry into substance abuse treatment.”
Greenough says that she has “high hopes” for successful patient outcomes; noting that treatment of chemical and substance addiction is as successful as treatment of other chronic diseases. “Detoxification is the proper first step in a person’s recovery journey from drug and alcohol addiction.” The fundraising campaign kicks off tomorrow in earnest. “If we are going to move forward with our plans, we must close on this building by August 1 — so time is of the essence,” Greenough emphasized.
To learn more about the proposed center and opportunities to contribute to the building fund, you are encouraged to call EPIC at (904) 829-2273.