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Government & Politics

St. Vincent Medical's Rosary Hall Presses Ahead With Expansion Plans

photo of Rosary Hall staff

A Northeast Ohio in-patient detox facility is closely watching the progress of the Republican healthcare bill, and as WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports, the hospital is even planning to expand its services in the fight against opioid addiction.

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center on Cleveland’s near east side runs Rosary Hall, a 27-bed detox facility founded in 1952 to treat alcoholism. Today, about three-quarters of the patients are there for opioid abuse.

Thom Olmstead, the hospital’s director of university collaborations, says that cutting Medicaid dollars would have a major impact on patients, 65 percent of whom are covered by the Medicaid expansion.

“You’re sitting there talking to these people who overdosed last night and are in detox today. They’re ill: the stigma around addiction is sort of the hidden demon around all of this. We wanted to fix alcoholism: How many years has it taken to get from, 'They’re drunken bums’ to ‘It’s a disease’?

"The same should hold true for this, if not more so. You can’t help but feel, ‘Why can’t we do everything we possibly can to fix this?’ And our intention is to figure that out.

Olmstead says St. Vincent's plans to help figure it out’ through an expansion of Rosary Hall that would add residential and sober-living units. The hospital has also partnered with Cleveland State University to launch a Center for Behavioral Health Sciences, and the cost for a building for the center would be about $20 million to $30 million. He’s confident that state and local leaders would help with funding even if federal dollars are cut.

He’s slated to have an informational meeting with city officials about the plan this week, which could include using the site of the old juvenile court near downtown Cleveland.