GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Hundreds of people being treated for drug addiction in Michigan will need to find a new provider.
Hope Network is closing its Center for Recovery locations, including the nonprofit’s largest in Grand Rapids, as well as smaller ones in Traverse City and Petoskey.
“It was not an easy decision to make,” Chief Operating Officer Tim Becker told News 8.
In a letter sent to patients, the nonprofit said the locations will close on May 20.
“We will be available until May 20, 2022 for final appointments and urgent needs but urge you to schedule as early as possible,” the note states.
Hope Network launched its Center for Recovery in 2019 to help those struggling with substance abuse.
“The primary focus when we first launched was to serve folks who needed medication-assisted treatment,” Becker said. “To help people wean off the substances they’ve been using. It’s a lot of outpatient therapy and counseling.”
Just last year, Hope Network added a detox program, giving those in need a place to stay while they recover. Becker said they helped people who hit “rock bottom.”
“I’ve heard from folks who really do credit the team that we had providing services there with essentially saving their life,” Becker said.
For those struggling with addiction, Becker said the program was a turning point in their lives.
“These are folks that didn’t know where else to turn,” Becker said. “They were able to detox, get back on their feet, get into an ongoing therapy beyond that.”
Statewide, about 300 patients will be impacted. About 150 are in Grand Rapids.
Since the facilities won’t close for another month and a half, Becker said there’s enough time to ensure patients are covered elsewhere.
“Organizations like Cherry Health, Pine Rest, Salvation Army,” Becker said. “These are organizations that have been in the substance-use space for many years. And they’ll do a fine job taking care of them.”
Thirty-four employees will also be affected. Hope Network is working to find those employees other jobs within the nonprofit or with similar organizations.
Becker said the pandemic put a burden on the program, even making it challenging to get off the ground in the first place.
“It just slowed down things like the accreditation from our accrediting board, slowed down some of the licensing with the state, slowed down some of the contracts with our payers,” he said. “We had to make this call to rededicate our limited resources into other areas that we have been excelling at for a number of years.”
Becker said rising labor costs have been another challenge, with reimbursements not “keeping pace with those increased costs of doing these services.”
“That’s kind of a crunch,” he said. “Expenses go up, revenue’s lagging a little behind. That’s making it challenging for all sorts of organizations, but nonprofits especially, where margins are razor-thin to begin with.”
The closures come amid the opioid epidemic nationwide, with more than 100,000 overdose deaths just last year. It made the decision especially difficult.
“It’s not lost on folks how important these services are,” Becker said. “And how the increase in demand is only going to continue to escalate beyond the pandemic.”
The nonprofit will focus on other areas, including helping people with mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities or developmental disabilities. The organization also provides housing, transportation and workforce training for those in need.
“We made a difficult decision,” he said. “Given everything else we do as a nonprofit, we (are) going to refocus on what we do and what we have done for many years.”