|Amatus Recovery Centers was featured in an article in the Caledonian Record recently, outlining the behavioral health care company taking over management of the former Friendship House, and rebranding it as New Hampshire Detox. The article in its entirety has been reprinted with permission from the Caledonian Record below.
Residential Treatment, Recovery Center Nears Opening
Management Co. Invites Those Seeking To Work There To Reach Out
BY ROBERT BLECHL
Although it is taking some time to assemble a team of staff members, the managing company that will run a new residential addiction treatment and recovery center in Bethlehem is hoping to open its doors next month.
“I am confident we will be close to that June 1 target,” Christine Weber, New Hampshire state director for the Maryland-based Amatus Recovery Centers, said Friday.
Amatus is taking over the management of the former Friendship House, at 2957 Route 302/Main St., which will now be called New Hampshire Detox.
The goal in staffing up is to ensure that enough qualified personnel are in place to provide the dignified and quality care that clients deserve, she said.
Plans are to ultimately expand the current 36-bed capacity to about 50 beds.
“We know that need exists and there is also a workforce need in that area,” said Weber. “We don’t see this as a build-it-and-they-will-come. We know that medical detox beds in New Hampshire is a huge need, but we want to make sure we can sustain what we’re providing. That will require medical personal, non-medical personnel, and support service personnel.”
Amatus is not alone in finding enough qualified people to staff its medical facility, as that has been a workforce challenge for a number of years across New Hampshire and New England, she said.
“It was a challenge before the pandemic,” said Weber. She said those looking to become a member of the Amatus team in Bethlehem can reach out to her directly, at [email protected].
Amatus is looking forward to working with stakeholders, said Weber.
“We are excited to collaborate in this region,” she said. “It’s a unique area of the state and they are creative in identifying gaps and needs and we are looking forward to working together to provide a much-needed service to this part of New Hampshire.”
Involved in a number of treatment and recovery initiatives in the North Country during her time at the statehouse is state Rep. Linda Massimilla, D-Littleton, who looks forward to Amatus opening in Bethlehem.
“This is just another piece that the North Country needs in order to serve the clientele that we have,” she said.
The residential recovery homes in Littleton that have opened in the past few years were also a big step, said Massimilla.
“With this opening, it’s another big step,” she said. “I know it will make a difference. It’s
needed. We’re flourishing with the recovery homes, but now we need a good solid center to help them get started.”
In February, Amatus signed a lease with Affordable Housing, Education and Development Inc. (AHEAD), which will continue to own the building.
In addition to an increase to 50 residential treatment beds and adding the medical component that the Friendship House never had, the center will move to 24/7 service and admission, a limited withdrawal management program with nurses available 24 hours a day, launch an intensive outpatient treatment program, expand the number of residential treatment services, and provide transportation to those in need.
“As far as transportation (driving only), we will pick patients up for admission into the program, which was a significant barrier to entry in the past,” said Chris Foster, regional executive director for Amatus.
Amatus’ licensing process is being completed by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.
The center will also serve lower-income residents and Medicaid clients.
Amatus Recovery Centers, established in 2015, runs 15 centers in six states, including two in southern New Hampshire, the Blueprint recovery center in Concord and Bonfire center in Dover.
Prior to Amatus coming on board, the North Country Health Consortium managed the building (then still called the Friendship House) from late 2017 to December 2020.
The current building, a $5.5 million project, opened in October 2017 and replaced the building that housed the original Friendship House since the 1960s.
Prior to the consortium coming on board, the Friendship House was managed for many years by the Tri-County Community Action Program.
New Hampshire Detox, the first such facility north of the Notch and the only addiction treatment center in a 65-mile radius, will be a 30-day program, after which clients can step down to other programs and community programs.