- Associated Press - Monday, August 1, 2016

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) - Lewis & Clark Behavioral Health Services, Inc. is stepping up to tackle a growing need across the state - a need for more.

Preparations are under way to turn the third floor of the Benedictine Center at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital into a chemical dependency treatment center for adults. The project is a collaboration between L&CBHS; and ASHH, with L&CBHS; running the program itself.

Dr. Tom Stanage, executive director of L&CBHS;, told the Press & Dakotan (https://bit.ly/2a5lchm ) that the process began early this year.

“We responded to an RFP (request for proposal) that was released back in January where the state was looking at expanding their adult inpatient alcohol and drug treatment capacity,” Stanage said. “We put together a proposal and we were successful in getting the contract to develop expanded capacity.”

He added the new program and its facility will address a couple of services needed both across the state and in the Yankton area.

“It’s trying to do two things,” he said. “It’s trying to address the long wait times for individuals to get into inpatient treatment. Then we will have a couple of beds for detox. That’s just been a long-standing need in our community.”

The program will have capacity for 16 patients at any given time and will employ 28-day inpatient services and five-day clinical detoxification services. The program will utilize 16 L&CBHS; employees.

When the South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) announced Lewis & Clark’s expansion of inpatient chemical dependency and detox services in April, it was included in a press release on the elimination of a similar program for adolescents at the Human Services Center.

Stanage said this created some confusion.

“When the state initially announced it, they did it in the same news release when they were closing down the adolescent alcohol and drug program,” he said. “The two have nothing to do with each other. I don’t know why they did it that way. This is for adults.”

ASHH President and CEO Doug Ekeren told the Press & Dakotan he’s happy the hospital can host the program, but said the bulk of it will be conducted by L&CBHS.;

“Recognizing a need in our community, Lewis and Clark Behavioral Health Services and Avera Sacred Heart Hospital collaborated on creating adult chemical dependency unit on the ASHH campus,” Ekeren said. “L&CBH; will be running the program and employing the staff for the unit and utilizing space in the Benedictine Center on our campus.”

ASHH will provide some limited services for the program, including food service, medical support, pastoral care, laboratory needs, pharmacy services and nutrition and dietary services.

Stanage said there’s still a lot of work to go before the program opens.

“We’re looking opening this fall in September or October,” he said. “There’s an awful lot of work to get done to get everything ready - space, staffing, programming. We have a lot of work to do, but it’s work that we’re pleased to be able to do.”

He added that L&CBHS; is happy to address the community’s long-standing need for such services.

“This has been a need that our community has had ever since I’ve been practicing in Yankton,” he said. “We’re just absolutely thrilled to be able to be successful with the proposal and to be able to develop the services. . Lewis & Clark has provided alcohol and drug treatment services, but it has been limited to outpatient services. This will allow us to provide a full continuum of care, and people won’t have to go out of the community to get services if they don’t need to or don’t want to.”

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Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan, https://www.yankton.net/

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