For the past year, Rutland Mental Health Services has taken the lead on the opiate treatment center in Rutland; from finally deciding on a location after much debate within the city, to hiring extra staff. But their services, the state says, are no longer needed.
"We're sorry we weren't able to come into agreement with them. We're disappointed we weren't able to reach their financial needs. We have our limitations with taxpayer dollars in terms of what we can invest. So, we couldn't come to an agreement with them," Vt. Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen said.
Chen and Rutland Mental Health CEO Dan Quinn say the two sides couldn't agree on a bottom line. The state wanted a certain number of patients cared for within the first year. Rutland Mental Health couldn't make that happen within the state's budget. Quinn says it would have required an upfront investment that his company couldn't afford.
"We probably would have lost in the range of $100,000-$150,000 each year on that program. And that's a lot for our organization," Quinn said.
City officials are tired of the program being tied up in red tape. It was supposed to be up and running last month. But they say they are confident in the state's ability to get it going as soon as possible.
"The opiate treatment facility is needed more now than ever. Things are not getting better, frankly. And until we get that third leg of the three-legged stool in place, the treatment in addition to the prevention and enforcement, we'll just be spinning our wheels," Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras said.
Chen says the state will now start searching for a new provider. He acknowledges this is yet another unexpected delay to a needed program.
"We're hopeful that it won't be delayed too much. We're also hopeful that we'll be able to create that comprehensive system in Rutland at a later date instead of January; perhaps another year down the road," Chen said.
Chen says the totally comprehensive hub and spoke model will not be up and running until January 2014, but he does hope to have the methadone branch of the treatment plan ready before that. However, he couldn't say exactly when.
The two parted ways just this past Thursday. The state says the obvious first places to look will be Rutland Regional Medical Center and the HowardCenter in Burlington, which has experience running methadone treatments in that area of the state.
Dan Quinn says his company has already invested $40,000 into the program. That includes scouting a location, hiring an architect to draw up blueprints, hiring some staff and a brand new computer system. He believes they won't be reimbursed, but he did say he'd be willing to share that information with whomever the state hires if it will help keep the ball rolling.
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