The Healing Place Looking To Expand Model in West Virginia

Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire
04/27/2014 -ATIN – The Healing Place, a non-profit that has been opening new centers at a rapid fire pace using a what until now seems to have been a highly successful, smooth functioning public/private funding basis, is hoping to substantially expand its long-term, non-medical model approach in West Virginia, whose Appalachian coal-based economy has been devastated by a downturn in the use of coal in the world’s fuel mix, creating a vortex of poverty, unemployment  and listless purposeless lifestyles that has contributed to surging rates of addiction that are amongst the highest and most intractable in the nation. Despite West Virginia’s clear need for more addiction treatment centers, the state maintains a high barrier-to-entry regulatory environment by requiring the same level of state approval to open an addictions center as that required for opening, for example, a medical surgical hospital – one of the most intense and expensive business regulatory hurdles as exists for any type of business anywhere. But The Healing Place model, precisely because it is non-medical and does not claim in fact to be an addiction treatment center in the regulatory sense, is ideal for side-stepping West Virginia’s high-barriers to entry because it can avoid the long and expensive approval process and get beds up and running – fast and where they are needed.

Awaiting a Grant…

According to published reports, The Healing Place Huntington is awaiting the approval of a nearly half a million dollar grant so that it can break ground on a new center in West Virginia’s Mercer County, adding to the facilities The Healing Place Huntington already has in West Virginia. There are also Healing Place centers in Kentucky and North Carolina, both states that have also provided public funding as part of the payor mix at  Healing Place place centers in their locales, especially in Kentucky where the first Healing Place was founded in Louisville in conjunction with Kentucky’s innovative and well funded Recovery Kentucky anti-addiction and homelessness policy effort. The Healing Place Louisville has provided the model for other Healing Place centers which use a long term program model, clients are in the programs typically at least eight months and sometimes far longer, in a peer driven, therapeutic community model that was pioneered in the 1960s and 1970s by places like Phoenix House, Daytop Village and other centers that now form the basis of membership of industry associations like Therapeutic Communities of America, TCA. The Healing Place Huntington plans to start off in Mercer County with 20 beds, going eventually to as many as 60 beds, according to the reports.

Beware the Regulatory Arbitrage…

The Healing Place Huntington is far from the first center to try a “regulatory arbitrage” approach to get around expensive licensure requirements by employing a non-medical model, thus asserting in fact not to be a treatment center as defined by state regulatory codes. The late Mark Houston, one of the most renowned addictions therapists and entrepreneurs ever to come out of the Texas market, founded Mark Houston Recovery Centers about a decade ago in one of the first centers to open in the Texas Hill Country in the area around Austin, which has now developed into a thriving addictions “hub” to which one of the latest additions has been the opening of Promises Austin, the first expansion of the world famous Promises Malibu outside of its founding California locale. Houston’s aim was to tap into the big part of the addictions market of clientele who have been through primary care at least once before, offering a 90-day luxury care experience that was non-medical and non-licensed at rates that were somewhat less than would need to be charged had the expenses of maintaining licensure been factored in. The arbitrage also had the effect of boosting profit margins at Mark Houston Recovery Centers, which eventually caught the attention of Texas state regulators, who insisted the center – now Benchmark Recovery Center – become fully licensed and, thus, closing the arbitrage opportunity.

READ our Report on Promises Austin


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