MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A local veterans group trying to expand its care is fighting to open a detox facility here in Mobile.
Veterans Recovery Resources, a non-profit group, will be going to argue for the chance to open their own substance detox and residential treatment facility.
“This facility that we’re trying to build will have 24-hour, 7-day a week emergency detox right next door,” said John Kilpatrick, the founder and executive director of Veterans Recovery Resources.
Veterans Recovery Resources has been providing mental wellness programs developed specifically for veterans by veterans since 2018. “We’ve served about 580 veterans, first responders, and their families in our outpatient clinic,” Kilpatrick said.
Now, they’re looking to expand to treat substance abuse disorders in local veterans and help them through recovery. They want to open a 34-bed detox facility that offers medically monitored detox to veterans regardless of their ability to pay.
“The historic school next door we intend to renovate to create a detox and residential treatment facility, we’ve been raising money really since we’ve opened this. We’re ready to go,” Kilpatrick said.
In August, the state denied Veterans Recovery Resources a certificate of need. The state cited the state health plan did not provide a need for new substance abuse beds. Currently, there are more than 800 beds in the state. The state health plan says there needs to be 458 beds in the state.
“Unfortunately, we have an average of 550-740 people on a waiting list to get into those 800 beds, which are 350 more than we need according to the state health plan,” Kilpatrick said.
Now, another health service is opposing that adjustment to the state health plan. Bradford Health Services filed an opposition stating there is no need to change the state health plan and that they have the bed capacity.
“Not everyone needs the level of care we’re talking about. It’s actually a small percentage, but the ones that need it, need it right now. And they need it where they are not four hours away,” Kilpatrick said.
Currently, there is no inpatient detox facility with that level of care in Mobile. Veterans Recovery Resources says they typically have to refer veterans to Biloxi or Birmingham for residential treatment services.
Veterans Recovery Resources will be driving up to Montgomery Tuesday morning to argue their case in front of the state health coordinating council. This could determine whether or not they can get that certificate of need. They are inviting others to join them tomorrow to support their efforts, and are organizing a bus. If you are interested in joining, you’re asked to send an email to email@example.com and use “Transportation to Montgomery.”