May 1st, 2012

High Point plans 96-bed Middleborough facility

The High Point Treatment Center has set a July 2014 target date to open a new 96-bed mental health and detox and rehabilitation facility on the site of the former St Luke’s Hospital in Middleborough, Mass.

“With a little bit of luck,” Daniel Mumbauer, the New Bedford-based nonprofit organization’s president and chief financial officer, says of the timetable.

So far luck has been on High Point’s side. The 65,000 square foot facility on the edge of downtown at 52 Oak St., was donated to High Point by Mary O’Donnell, a member of its board of directors. She acquired the property in 2002, but plans to develop affordable housing there fell through and other potential uses explored never materialized. The property has been gutted and asbestos already removed, Mumbauer says.

High Point currently operates a total of 769 beds that includes 16 inpatient psychiatric beds, 24 dual diagnosis beds, 120 detoxification beds, 184 clinical stabilization beds, 76 transitional support beds, 87 recovery home beds, 103 permanent housing beds, and 159 shelter beds. Seven outpatient clinics are in the communities of Brockton, Manomet, New Bedford, Plymouth, and Taunton. High Point had a $45 million operating budget for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011, according to its last annual report.

At least 200 new jobs will be created at the new facility including doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists and other mental health specialists, Mumbauer says.

The 16 inpatient psychiatric beds at High Point’s Plymouth campus in Manomet will move to Middleborough where the total of such beds will increase to 40. The expansion will meet a significant need, Mumbauer says.

“We’ve been full for years,” he said. “We really haven’t been in a position to meet the needs of folks trying to refer clients to us.”

The expansion will also give High Point flexibility in segregating clients based on age or severity of their illness. About 25 percent of its clients are now under the age of 25. The small size of Manomet’s unit makes it difficult to group clients with similar characteristics and needs together, says Michael I. Liebowitz, M.D., chief of psychiatry and addiction medicine at High Point’s Plymouth campus in Manomet.

“We certainly are looking forward to the change,” Liebowitz said. “I believe that the new location has approximately two to three times the space that we have now.”

The new campus will also  house 56 addiction treatment beds to be divided between dual diagnosis and detox units. A portion of those beds will be for adolescents. High Point presently has only one 25-bed unit in Brockton to treat adolescents with substance abuse problems.

“We have families who call with adolescents who need a higher level of care that we can’t accommodate,” Mumbauer said.

Mumbauer had actually toured the site about 15 years ago when High Point was looking to expand. “We weren’t big enough to take on that project. We were a much smaller organization at that time,” he said.

High Point hopes to have financing in place by fall and go out to bid next spring.

By Janine Weisman

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