CHI St. Vincent announced last week it is working with Bradford Health Services of Birmingham, Alabama, one of the largest providers of substance abuse treatment and recovery services in the Southeastern United States.
The collaboration includes a new substance use disorder program at the Little Rock Infirmary that will have both outpatient and hospital inpatient components, Bonnie Ward, CHI St. Vincent’s market director for marketing and communications, said in an email to Arkansas Business. “The new program is a step forward for the hospital system’s 132-year healing ministry and recognizes the growing need for integrated, compassionate care programs to address substance use disorders in Arkansas.”
More details about the program will be released later.
CHI’s announcement comes as recovery centers across the state are trying to fill the void left by the recent closure of Quapaw House Inc., the troubled Hot Springs drug and alcohol treatment provider.
Some providers’ expansion plans, however, had been in the works before Quapaw House began shutting its doors in mid-March because of financial problems, resulting in 108 residential beds in several locations in Arkansas being removed from service.
Serenity Park Recovery Center’s phones haven’t stopped ringing since Quapaw House’s closure. “We get probably 40 to 50 incoming inquiries every week,” said Tucker Martin, director of market development at Serenity Park of Little Rock. “It has created an emergency, and this obviously has been going on for some time.”
Serenity Park said it was renovating a building on its property at 2801 W. Roosevelt Road to serve as a 20-bed residential facility for women. The project is estimated to cost more than $1.6 million and be finished in the fall of 2021. “That was part of our growth strategy all along,” Martin said.
The Recovery Centers of Arkansas also had expansion plans in the works before Quapaw House closed, said Executive Director Carole Baxter.
In June, it spent $800,000 for one of Quapaw House’s substance abuse treatment and behavioral outpatient clinics at 9219 Sibley Hole Road in south Little Rock. Conway’s North American Baptist Loan Association Inc., led by John David Smith, was the owner of the property.
Recovery Centers has renovated one of the three buildings at the site and plans to open a 16-bed facility for sober living for residents on Sept. 1, Baxter said.
She didn’t have the final costs of the renovations. The project is “what we feel we needed to do,” Baxter said.
One of the buildings will be for Recovery Center’s offices and will offer rehabilitation services. The building will be renovated, but a timetable hasn’t been announced for when it will be open.
Martin of Serenity Park said he is concerned that some of Quapaw’s former clients aren’t being served.
He said it’s a burden for someone who lives in Grant County or Garland County to travel to northwest Arkansas or Little Rock for treatment. “That has had a significant impact,” he said.
He said “a lot” of people without insurance that normally would have gone to Quapaw House “just don’t have a treatment option.”
Quapaw House was a private provider that had a contract with the Arkansas Department of Human Services to deliver substance abuse services, said Jay Hill, the director of the Division of Aging, Adult & Behavioral Health Services.
For the fiscal year that ended June 30, the total contracts were worth about $2.4 million.
Speaking of the patients who were at Quapaw House voluntarily, Hill said, “my staff or our substance abuse staff worked with those individuals to find other treatment providers for them.”
Baxter of Recovery Centers said that when Quapaw closed “many groups have stepped up and have seen to it that there is not a lack of services available to people who want help in that area.”