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Retreat at Lancaster County

December 4, 2012
by Gary Enos, Editor
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Click to view photos of the Retreat at Lancaster County

Peter Schorr doesn’t define a patient room that features a granite bathroom countertop and a brass headboard on the bed as luxury for luxury’s sake. “It’s hard enough to engage people in treatment as it is,” says Schorr, CEO of the Retreat at Lancaster County. “If they then find something wrong with their accommodations, that’s what they end up focusing on.”

The Retreat opened in Pennsylvania in August 2011 after a four-month site renovation that truly transformed a facility that previously had served as a residential center for troubled youths (prior to that, the site had housed a resort and then an addiction treatment center). “The rooms were all cinderblock. All the windows had been painted,” Schorr says.

The 120-bed center (30 detox beds and 90 primary treatment beds) now features tiled showers in the bathrooms; a full-service gym with a basketball court, cardio equipment and space for 12-Step meetings; and meals coordinated by an executive chef who was hired from a local country club. The interior amenities complement a picturesque 24-acre hillside campus that allows for client activities ranging from playing beach volleyball to tending a vegetable garden to relaxing with others at a Sunday barbecue.

The renovation represented a $10 million investment for Schorr, who is presently developing treatment center sites in New Haven, Conn., and Lake Worth, Fla. Private-pay clients spend $30,000 for the 30-day residential program in Lancaster County, but 80% of the Retreat’s revenue is from insurance reimbursement.

Schorr says the Retreat’s design details generally represent his own vision, as he did not work with a design consultant on the property redevelopment. Furniture for the center was custom built in a rustic style by a local Amish company.

Several physical features of the property enhance convenience and comfort, explains director of marketing Tom Garofola. “We have four different levels, but because we’re built into the contour of a hill, you can drive to every floor,” he says. “So someone from our detox unit could be picked up directly for transportation to the ER if that’s needed.”

From the moment an individual agrees to receive care at the facility, he or she is treated with comfort in mind, says Schorr. He purchased a number of luxury vehicles and vans for purposes of transporting patients to and from the Retreat.

Most of the center’s clients have had previous treatment experiences, and the message the staff receives about this program is that few clients have seen anything like it elsewhere from a facility standpoint, Schorr says.
About half of the program’s clients are age 26 and under, with opiate addiction increasingly common in that group. These patients participate in their own groups on a specialized clinical track.

Garofola says of the patient experience in general, “We’re not space-challenged here. Patients can spread their wings.”

Schorr’s next two planned facilities will take on a somewhat different appearance based on their locations. For example, the Connecticut site, formerly housing a nursing home, is located in a more urban environment; it is scheduled to open next spring. The Palm Beach Country, Fla., center is scheduled to open next October. Each of the new facilities will carry a “Retreat” name and some of the same comfort-focused approaches.