Substance abuse treatment facility seeks state certificate to move forward

by Trish Rudder

The Lotus Recovery Center, with plans to renovate and operate an in-house substance abuse treatment facility in the old Bath Schoolhouse, has applied for a Certificate of Need to the WV Health Care Authority (HCA), the state regulating agency.

The July 14 application is for the addition of 26 acute care psychiatric beds which will be located at 187 S. Green Street in Berkeley Springs.

A Certificate of Need (CON) from the agency would confirm the proposed facility will fulfill the needs of the community.

Earlier last month, a legal notice announced the Authority had received a Letter of Intent from Lotus, which is the first step to obtain approval from the state.

Lotus chief operating officer, David Stup said last week that “after we receive approval from the HCA, we can begin to take the steps necessary to mobilize for construction.”

According to the project timetable in the CON application, it will take an estimated 13 month to complete the project and be in operation once it receives approval to go forward.

Stup said the original application process began in March and the current application was revised “based on collaboration and feedback with the HCA.”

He said prior to March, Lotus was working with the HCA and the architects “to develop the site plans that would be ideal for our treatment setting while concurrently working with the National Park Service to maintain the historic preservation status of the building.”

According to the letter from Michael Mesveskas, Lotus director of development, “the proposed project is expected to be completed within one year after the certificate of need approval.”

Renovations to the building will “require approximately 12 months” for the facility to meet hospital licensure standards, safety standards and other regulatory body standards, according to the CON filed by Lotus.

The objective of the Lotus Berkeley Springs facility “is to open access for individuals diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD) who would otherwise not receive specialized SUD services in a general hospital setting or be denied admission in a free-standing behavioral health facility due to medical and/or psychiatric comorbidities.

“Lotus Recovery Center proposes that these beds are necessary to ensure West Virginia residents are afforded access to treatment regardless of psychiatric and medical related factors, which deem them inappropriate for services at a freestanding behavioral health facility.

“The proposed project in this application aims to reduce hospital readmission rates and reduce overall healthcare costs by addressing patient’s SUD and medical/psychiatric diagnoses in a single care setting,” the application reads.

The Berkeley Springs facility is expected to mainly serve the Eastern Panhandle and surrounding counties, “specifically, Berkeley County, Jefferson County, Morgan County.” It could also include services to patients from Hampshire, Grant, Mineral and Hardy counties, the application says.

In addition to state approval, Lotus will also have to seek town approval for any building or renovation plans at the old school property.