State workload hinders getting help to heroin addicts in Dayton

Heroin clinic backlog
Heroin clinic backlog

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – On the eve of a site inspection by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, a Dayton residential treatment center wonders why it’s taken so long to get a license.  Woodhaven, a business ready to tackle the heroin problem in Dayton, has run into what it calls an unusual delay in getting state approval.

“We are looking to put a large dent in the heroin epidemic in the state of Ohio,” said James Goodwin, CEO of Woodhaven.

Goodwin told 2 NEWS Investigates Woodhaven has a ten-year lease agreement to provide residential addiction treatment on two floors of the Medical Center at Elizabeth Place, one for adult men and one for adult women.  There are 66 beds. Goodwin says there are 30 people ready to move in.

Goodwin told 2 NEWS Investigates, “We’ve got a lot of clients that are ready and they are calling us everyday right now just asking us questions and wanting to know when they can get in.”

Woodhaven submitted a license application to the state March 4, but didn’t hear anything until 3 weeks later.  He and the 42 people hired thought they would be open in May, but they’re still not open.

“We’re dead in the water without that licensure,” said Goodwin.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services responded by email stating:

  • OhioMHAS surveyors are scheduled to conduct a site visit tomorrow (6/6/14). Barring any unforeseen issues, this should be the final step toward certification.
  • As is the case with all applicants, client health and safety is paramount. OhioMHAS surveyors have a responsibility to carefully review policies and procedures, facilities, staff credentials, etc., and provide technical assistance/guidance as needed. There is no one-size-fits all approach to certification and there is almost always some back and forth as we work with applicants to ensure everything is in compliance with our standards for quality care. In this case, Woodhaven did not initially submit policies and procedures that were compliant. Woodhaven has since submitted the necessary paperwork.
  • The Department has seen a recent increase in new applicants, especially among  alcohol and other drug addiction prevention, treatment and recovery support services providers. To help address the increased volume in applications, the Department has brought four new regional surveyors on board in the past six months and is in the process of training these staff members. Their positioning in the field will help to reduce travel time and expedite the certification process.   

Goodwin told 2 NEWS Investigates since the process has taken longer than expected those who could be served at Woodhaven are likely staying with friends, in shelters, and even on the streets.

Goodwin said there are few residential drug treatment centers available because Medicaid does not pay for overnight stays.  Woodhaven is being run as a private facility that will accept Medicaid for other services.  Goodwin said centers that are funded by the government are vulnerable to closing when money is tight, so he chose to not seek grants and government assistance.  He also appreciates the freedom he has as a private operator in setting up programs about which he feels strongly.

Last year the State of Ohio merged two departments into one to address addiction and mental health services creating more workload, however, the state says in cutting administrative costs there’s more money being reinvested in communities.

Goodwin is already talking about expanding in Dayton because of the need and because of the welcome the city has given his operation.  His told 2 NEWS Investigates he was unsuccessful in getting the necessary zoning he needed for a location in Cincinnati.

To find out more you go to the website or call 1-800-788-0440.


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