The Brainerd Regional Human Services Center, a state facility that had been perceived by some as going through its last throes, is increasingly showing signs of life.
In addition to being the subject of a community-wide effort to convince state officials to locate veterans health care programs there, state officials Monday announced anticipated changes involving a pair of health programs that will operate at the former state hospital.
Despite the increased activity, no changes in the number of employees at the regional treatment center are anticipated at this point, Patrice Vick, Minnesota Department of Human Services spokesperson said Monday.
The state programs include a chemical addiction recovery program that's being consolidated with a similar program and transferred from Carlton to Brainerd and an outpatient satellite clinic for Children and Adolescent Behavioral Health Systems.
The Brainerd center was the site of a Children and Adolescent Behavioral System program until early 2008 when it was transferred to Willmar by the Department of Human Services. After that closure, Ward successfully authored a bill preventing DHS and State Operated Services from relocating, shutting down or transferring such services without legislative authority. The bill was subsequently vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
The Chemical Addiction Recovery Enterprise had been operating in Carlton. Ward said a problem with broken pipes forced a move to Brainerd and that move, he was informed by state officials, will become permanent. About 40 employees currently work in the addiction recovery program in Brainerd, Vick said.
"I really feel bad for the Carlton folks," Ward said. "We know how they feel because we've gone through it many times in Brainerd. It's disappointment and frustration for the Carlton folks but this is good for us. Anytime we can create and retain jobs, it's going to be great for us."
In a statement released Friday the shift of the addiction recovery program for women to Brainerd means the loss of 31 state jobs in Carlton. State officials said in the past six to nine months, use of the recovery program has decreased to a level where it is 50 beds under the expected use.
"The transfer of the program to Brainerd will bring the number of staffed beds in line with the current average daily census," Mike Tessneer, chief executive officer of State Operated Services in the Department of Human Services, wrote.
MIKE O'ROURKE may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5860.
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