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Influx of young patients creates longstanding waiting list at Ohio center

June 16, 2011
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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About 60% of Glenbeigh clients have primary opiate issue

Epidemic-level abuse of opiates and improved access to treatment for young adults are combining to make waiting lists at the Glenbeigh treatment facility in rural Ohio the norm rather than the exception.
The Rock Creek-based Glenbeigh’s 113-bed inpatient facility has maintained a waiting list for the entire calendar year, and the organization’s CEO believes demand for services will only grow in the future.

“Because of the opportunity to stay in treatment longer with extended-care options, that has promoted a waiting list,” says Glenbeigh CEO Pat Weston-Hall.

Glenbeigh in recent years has built on a continuum-of-care approach, adding an extended-care facility for women in January. That operation made it to 90% capacity within just a month of opening, says Glenbeigh program director Gary Seech.

Weston-Hall and Seech cite several factors contributing to the high demand in general. High levels of heroin abuse and prescription opiate misuse among young adults are bringing many first-time clients to treatment. Weston-Hall estimates that opiates are the primary substance of abuse for 60% of Glenbeigh’s clients.

Family members of the young adult group have seen their loved one’s problems escalate rapidly and want to see that person in treatment for a longer period, Seech says. And the provision in the health reform law that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance policy until age 26 is creating the payment vehicle for many of these treatment stays, he says.

Glenbeigh has had to maintain strong ties with referral sources in recent months; Weston-Hall explains that the center will conduct a careful initial assessment of which prospective clients might need services immediately (and therefore a possible referral elsewhere) and which can more safely wait to receive treatment.

Glenbeigh leaders also believe that recent improvements to its environment of care, from facility renovations to enhanced customer service through the availability of personalized telephone contact and other services, are fueling demand as well.

The executive team does see some opportunities to expand capacity on the horizon, although a new extended-care facility for men that is under consideration probably will not be established before 2013, Weston-Hall says.

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