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Highland-Clarksburg $17M expansion to include drug treatment beds

By DARLENE J. SWIGER

The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va.  — Highland-Clarksburg Hospital will be adding a total of 58 beds in 2018, 38 of which will be dedicated to substance abuse to help address the addiction crisis in West Virginia.

The beds will be part of a $17.4 million expansion that will include an 8,000-square-foot gymnasium, a 200-foot by 110-foot outdoor green space for patients and a day-care center for employees.

The state Health Care Authority recently issued Highland-Clarksburg an exemption for a certificate of need to develop the detoxification and residential treatment program for 19 adults and 19 adolescents, according to authority Chair Sonia Chambers.

Highland-Clarksburg CEO Michael Casdorph said the other 20 beds in the expansion will be for additional forensics patients in a sex-offender unit.

“We currently have 115 beds, and this will give us 173 beds. We will be increasing by 50 percent,” Casdorph said.

He estimated that the hospital’s 281 full-time equivalent employees will increase to 350 by the end of 2019.

“We are looking at substantial growth at Highland-Clarksburg, primarily on the clinical side and also support staff,” he said.

Officials are working with U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development to secure low-interest financing for the expansion project, which is expected to be under construction in 2018.

The loan is to consist of $10.5 million to cover total construction costs, $4 million to cover ancillary costs and $4 million to pay off an existing loan with Huntington National Bank, Casdorph said.

“WYK Associates is the project architect. When architecture plans are finalized, we will work to get approval of the facility design, which is necessary for the final USDA loan approval,” he said.

Julie Bozarth, Highland-Clarksburg director of therapy and social services, said that in addition to planned 38 new substance abuse beds, a 10-bed acute unit for 13- to 17-year-olds, which will serve as a seven- to 10-day detoxification unit, will open July 5.

“The goal is to transfer these patients to the 28-day residential substance abuse program in the future,” Bozarth said. “This will be a safe place to get the drugs out of their system. It is a volatile time with both physical and mental issues that must be addressed.”

A community health needs assessment survey identified needs, and drug treatment issues was the biggest need for North Central West Virginia, she said.

“We will be offering Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) to the community and Self Management and Recovery Training (SMART) for patients and their families,” Bozarth said. “We are also working with community members for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous programs.”

The CRAFT and SMART programs will begin July 5. CRAFT will be offered 5-7 p.m. Wednesdays, and SMART will be offered 1:30-2:30 p.m. Monday-Fridays. For more information, call Highland-Clarksburg at (304) 969-3100.

The day-care center for employees will be run by a local third party.

“The hospital is family-centered, and this was one way to assist employees who can’t always access traditional day-care centers because of a 7 a.m.-7 p.m. schedule,” Bozarth said.

Highland-Clarksburg, which will celebrate its fourth anniversary on Aug. 19, is being used at 70 to 75 percent capacity.

“This is the opportune time to best benefit the community going forward with a substance abuse focus,” Casdorph said. “With the way the hospital is designed, growth is relatively inexpensive. We just have to renovate the interior in non-patient areas. This is an exciting time at HCHI.”

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