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Detox facility in the works with $2 million state grant allocation

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A $2 million grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce will be used to introduce secure detox service to the community.

A 16-bed facility for secure withdrawal management will expand the continuum of care under Comprehensive Healthcare, operators say.

An exact location has not yet been determined, said Jodi Daly, Comprehensive Healthcare’s CEO.

The grant award was announced Thursday by Commerce Director Lisa Brown. The local allocation is one of 10 awards totaling $12.4 million and chosen through a competitive process conducted by Commerce, the Department of Health, Department of Social and Health Services and the Health Care Authority.

“These investments strengthen communities by increasing opportunities for patients with behavioral health and substance abuse challenges to be successful in their treatment by staying closer to their families, friends and support systems,” Brown said in a prepared statement.

The state’s investment will reportedly leverage an additional $10.1 million in total construction investment from other public and private sources. Projects selected support a five-year plan by Gov. Inslee to “modernize and transform Washington’s mental health system,” the announcement said. The idea is to work with legislators to end civil patient placements at the state’s large hospitals by offering smaller community-based facilities. The goal is to accomplish that by 2023.

Specific details for the project in the Walla Walla Valley are yet to be determined. Daly said Comprehensive Healthcare received word of the grant award at the same time as the rest of the public through the Department of Commerce announcement.

She had not yet had direct contact with Commerce about the funds or received a contract for review Friday.

A community effort, however, was behind the application for the funds, she said.

Comprehensive Healthcare had community meetings and input from law enforcement, health care providers, county commissioners and more on the need for a larger presence in Walla Walla.

Comprehensive is a nonprofit provider of behavioral care services in Walla Walla, as well as Yakima, Kitties, Klickitat, Benton and Franklin counties.

Its Walla Walla office is at 1520 Kelly Place, and it operates the 16-bed Waypoint Residential Treatment facility off Commercial Drive in College Place.

Daly said she is “ecstatic” to receive the grant, which is expected to cover a portion of the new development. She did not have a cost estimate, though new centers of its kind range in the $5 million to $6 million price, she said.

Construction could be more than a year away as steps to solidify the plan take place.

Daly said the project will have huge benefits to the community. Walla Walla, she said, is relatively removed from other secure detox facilities, which means clients are separated from their families and support networks when they leave. Keeping them geographically closer can help with the success outcomes, she said.

The development will also have potential social and economic benefits. For law enforcement, it provides an alternative to jail for drug-intoxicated people. Services are intended to assist clients as they work toward employment and housing, Daly said.

“We are so grateful,” she said. “This grant makes it possible to serve more people and achieve better outcomes.”

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 509-526-8321.

Vicki covers business and economic development, including tourism, the Port of Walla Walla and the Strictly Business column, as well as features. She has been reporting for the Union-Bulletin since late 2001.