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Two California organizations respond to shortage of residential beds

July 19, 2010
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Clients in intensive outpatient treatment receive a new supervised-living option

Could the combination of intensive outpatient services plus supervised living in a sober home duplicate the experience of a residential treatment stay? Two Southern California organizations are testing the idea in response to state funding cutbacks that have resulted in severe shortages of affordable residential treatment options.

Twin Town Treatment Centers, based in Los Alamitos, and Serene Center Long Beach have established a strategic alliance that to date has served half a dozen clients. The individuals receive IOP services at Twin Town and reside at Serene Center. Because Serene Center is a state-licensed operation by virtue of its transitional-living services component, it can offer to IOP patients a level of supervision (with 24-hour staffing) that cannot be accessed in most typical recovery home settings.

“An unforeseen benefit to the patient is that our counseling staffs see the patient at different times of the day, and we can communicate the behavioral changes we see back and forth,” says Andrew Martin, Serene Center’s president.

Martin says the arrangement also works because the two organizations have similar missions with respect to client services. “We both believe in a long continuum of care, and a rigid accountability structure,” he says.

Martin explains that dramatic cuts to government-supported treatment programs in California have led to wait times of up to four months for county residential treatment beds. “Even ‘tomorrow’ doesn’t work for people who are looking for treatment today,” he says.

The two entities are advertising the availability of five months of treatment with supervised living at a cost of $1,540 a month plus food expenses.

Martin expects the partnership to be sustained over the long haul, not simply becoming a short-term response to the present budget crisis in California. He adds that while residential treatment in one setting might still be the preferable scenario to many, he believes longer-term treatment that involves support for a longer period than the duration of a residential stay could prove more beneficial.