Avera to build addiction care center

March 8, 2018

The new Avera on Louise campus will include the Avera Addiction Care Center, an offering the health system says meets a growing public health need.

The $8 million project includes two buildings. The main one has space for group and individual counseling, dining and meditation. The other will offer 32 private rooms with separate areas for men and women.

The project is designed as a “comfortable, home-like environment,” with an emphasis on peace, serenity and privacy, said Dave Flicek, president and CEO of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center.

The addiction center will be on the northeast side of the property at 69th Street and Louise Avenue. A 24-bed surgical hospital already is under construction there and expected to open in late 2019 or early 2020.

The Avera Addiction Care Center will add 35 jobs and was developed through work with an advisory committee of addiction experts, community members and neighbors of the campus.

“Our programming will include components of behavioral health and standard addiction recovery. We’ll use grounded and proven methods, for example peer-based recovery, said Matt Stanley, vice president of Avera Behavioral Health Service Line and an Avera Medical Group psychiatrist.

“As is true in everything Avera does, our programming will care for the whole person – body, mind and spirit. We clearly see addiction as a medical disease, so we will engage in medical treatment of patients to help them in their recovery journey.”

The center is unique in Avera’s portfolio and in the field, said Dick Molseed, executive vice president of strategy and governance.

It will combine internal medicine physician access with genetics work, “so we’re uniquely positioned to get the right prescriptions to help people through this,” he said. There also will be easy access to Avera Behavioral Health nearby if patients need additional mental health services.

“And immediately, you start rolling into aftercare, which already exists, so only Avera can bring all those components to bear in one center like this. It’s overdue, and I’m really quite proud we’re doing this.”

Avera is the first member of The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s patient care network, which offers access to tools, resources and collaborative consultation.

Treatment at the center will be voluntary and typically will last 28 days. It will be offered to adults who are seeking help recovering from addiction to alcohol and other substances.

Avera estimates 10 percent to 15 percent of the general population deals with chemical dependency. In Sioux Falls, Avera does about 200 chemical dependency consults monthly and refers 22 people to residential care, often out of state.

The Avera Addiction Care Center grounds will be landscaped with trees and a berm to separate it from the adjacent neighborhood. It’s separate from the nearby Avera Behavioral Health, where beds are frequently full.

“Of all the things we can buid on that land, this is what I want as a neighbor. It’s going to be quiet. It’s high-quality. People want to be there,” Molseed said. “There won’t be ambulances and police there. With the landscaping, the buildings won’t be easily noticeable. I think the neighbors will be very pleased this is what Avera built there.”

Patients will be prescreened and stays will be prearranged. Meals will be upscale, including made-to-order breakfasts, and served in family-style settings. There’s even talk of adding an emotional support dog.

“What’s truly needed is the residential level of care,” Stanley said. “Addiction care most often does not require the high level of hospital care, which is in turn a more expensive level of care. Building this residential center involves good stewardship of our health care resources.”

Families also will be integrated into the care, Molseed said.

“You hear it time and time again how these terrible diseases impact families, and if you can start bringing them back together in the healing environment, they can learn with the resident how to manage post-residential care, while staying in our programming and through telemedicine,” he said.

Construction will start this summer, and the center is scheduled to open in mid-2019. About $1 million has been raised already from donors who support it as a way to address a community need.

“Having had decades of experience in behavioral health care, Avera feels this is an important piece in our continuum of care,” said Thomas Otten, assistant vice president for behavioral health at Avera McKennan.

“We are proud to be able to offer access to world-class addiction care in a beautiful, respectful and hopeful environment. We feel that families and individuals in our area whose lives are torn by addiction deserve no less.”

Avera offers updated look at Louise Avenue campus

Avera to build addiction care center

The new Avera on Louise campus will include the Avera Addiction Care Center, an offering the health system says meets a growing public health need.

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