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Father Martin's will apply major gift to integrated care site

June 13, 2014
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Former U.S. Sen. Joseph Tydings and Father Mark Hushen

With the presenting needs of many addiction treatment patients becoming more complex, facilities could struggle to provide comprehensive services in the same physical spaces they have operated traditionally. This week at the Father Martin's Ashley center in Maryland, staff celebrated the announcement of an historic gift that leaders say will help create the capacity for the whole-person treatment that they consider essential for today's patient.

The 31-year-old center announced this week that the Skip Viragh Foundation has donated $13 million to the center, placing it close to an overall $20 million fundraising goal for a capital campaign that was launched with little fanfare two years ago. The foundation, which has supported subject areas such as medical research and services for children and families, stands as a legacy of business leader Skip Viragh, the founder of Rydex Investments who died of cancer at age 62 in 2003.

The gift has allowed Father Martin's Ashley to break ground on a 44,000-square-foot building that will be called Skip's Hall for Integrated Addiction Treatment and will expand the facility's overall capacity and add program features such as a state-of-the-art wellness center. Leaders anticipate a fall 2015 opening for the new building on Father Martin's Havre de Grace, Md., campus.

“Our staff felt very validated that a foundation would be giving a significant gift to addiction treatment,” says Father Mark Hushen, president and CEO of Father Martin's Ashley.

Helping the medically compromised

The services that will be housed at Skip's Hall do not reflect any shift in priorities for a treatment organization still built on strong 12-Step principles, but more an acknowledgment that Father Martin's needs more accommodating space to serve the diverse needs that it is already addressing in its existing facilities.

“There's a misperception out there about Ashley, that we're simply old-school 12 Step,” says Hushen. “We're doing all of [these services] already.”

He cites as a prime example the organization's Pain Recovery Program, an integrated approach to assisting patients who present with pain management and substance use service needs. Numerous interventions from physical therapy to acupuncture to massage are made available in the program, and it has become challenging to offer these services within the confines of the existing treatment space at Father Martin's.

Also, leaders want to make sure that patients dealing with other co-occurring medical issues have the space and privacy they need, while still being part of the larger patient community, Hushen says. Construction of the new facility will guarantee that all patients can have either private or semi-private housing while in treatment. The overall patient capacity at Father Martin's will increase from the present 85 to 100.

Other features of Skip's Hall will include multiple nursing stations to facilitate more efficient distribution of medication for multiple-need patients.

“The addiction patient in the 21st century is very different from the patient when we started here in 1983,” says Hushen. “The profile needs to change.”

He says nearly all of the existing buildings on campus will continue to be used after Skip's Hall is opened, with the possible exception of a modular unit that has housed the fitness area for patients.

Fundraising

Father Martin's Ashley has now raised $18 million of the $20 million needed to complete its new facility, placing the overall goal within reach in time for the 2015 opening.

An event this week at the facility was attended mainly by donors and referral sources. Also in attendance was former U.S. Sen. Joseph D. Tydings, who grew up on the estate property that later would become the Father Martin's campus. Father Martin's director of marketing Lisa Bucklin says Tydings, 86, spoke at the event about how the current service-focused use of the property that was his home has greatly exceeded his expectations, saving the property from development and saving lives at the same time.

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