By Nancy Schaar
DELLROY -Hundreds of people filled The Bluffs (formerly Atwood Resort and Conference Center) Sept. 27 for the grand opening of the new drug and alcohol treatment facility.
The Bluffs staff began training early last month. The first group of patients (28) have been in residence since then. Fifty-two staff members operate the facility.
Chief Executive Officer Dr. Richard Foster began his duties at The Bluffs in July and started training with only 10 staff members. More people are working there now and as patients are added, more employees will be added as well. Full capacity will be 160 patients and more than 200 employees.
The 104 hotel rooms were transformed into two patients per room suites. Employee offices, which include nursing rooms where medications are kept behind locked doors, and security rooms, used to carefully monitor every patient 24 hours of the day, are placed throughout the patient wings for hands on care from the staff.
Commissioners auctioned the hotel, chalet and 75 acres in August 2016. William Burns of Youngstown purchased the property for $1.1 million. It took longer than expected to get all the financing in line but, after a few stalled attempts, Addiction Campuses purchased the property from Burns and announced the plans to use the facility as a top of the line recovery center for addictions, including alcohol, opioids and other drugs.
Burns and his grandfather attended the grand opening celebration Wednesday. Burns said he was glad it had a happy ending. “I know there will be good things accomplished here,” he said.
Foster comes with more than 25 years of experience, predominately in drug and alcohol treatment. His most recent work was at a patient-centered program in Pittsburgh.
New sprinkler systems were installed. The pool still needs some work and the kitchen had to be completely gutted and new equipment was installed. A final inspection must be completed before it can be utilized. Both will be operating by October.
During this time, the Bluffs has had meals catered from the Dellroy Drive In, the Bistro, and Ponderosa in Carrollton.
There will be three registered nurses and two licensed practical nurses on each shift. Security is already in place. Fifty security cameras were installed inside the building and another 50 are being installed on the outside.
According to Foster, security is a top priority and patients are monitored at all times. “We use internal staff and will not have outside contracted security,” said Foster.
The recovery coaches work all three shifts and carefully monitor each patient.
The north wing is now known as New Beginnings and patients will spend their first week there in the detoc facility.
Officials contracted with a local ambulance service, if needed, and Aultman Hospital is on contract for further medical help if it is deemed necessary. Defib units have been installed through the building.
The former snack bar was transformed into a small reading library for their patients. Exercise rooms with state-of-the art equipment are being used. A phone room is set up and patients are encouraged to call family members or friends or other support figures in their lives and can do so for two hours each day.
There are no private rooms, and all rooms have been made into two person suites for their patients. According to Amanda Pearson, human resource officer, room mates are put together by the date of the admission to the facility and similar addictions are placed together as well.
“We focus on mind, body and spirit. There are so many activities that can help patients’ bodies recover and are available at The Bluffs. A special daily session is held every day under the biggest tree on the lawn. Patients love being outside and everyone loves the view. It is so calming and peaceful,” said Pearson. “We hear frequently from patients as they view the facility that they don’t have views, quiet, or peace like this where they come from.”
Patients are in their rooms by 10 p.m. Most spend time writing in their journals. Room checks are a constant activity by security.
Pearson said rates for the 30 days recovery period range from $22,000 to $26,000 per month. Most insurance companies cover the treatment and some patients are private pay. Ohio limits this type of treatment for Medicaid or Medicare patients only through 16 bed facilities so they will not have Medicaid or Medicare patients and there will never be court mandated drug abuses at The Bluffs, according to officials.
“This is for people who want help. They want to recover. They want to change their lives. They are here because they want to be here,” said Pearson.
The golf course is not being maintained but will be transformed next spring with new sod and new articifial turf on the greens.
The celebration included welcoming speeches by Foster, Owner Brent Clements and Kevin Hoggatt from Senator Rob Portman’s office.
Tours were provided and visitor questions were answered. Director of Public Relations for The Bluffs Brian Sullivan was a bit overwhelmed at the very large turnout.
“We hoped residents would come out to see what we have here. We are thrilled that so many county officials are here and everyone seems pleased at the changes that have been made. This is wonderful and so much more than we expected,” said Sullivan.
Fireworks for Recovery lit up the sky over Atwood Lake at the end of the evening. Patients of the facility mingled with county officials and many residents and spoke of the difference they know their treatment here will make in their futures.
Patients praised the beauty and quietness of the facility and spoke of the breathtaking view of the lake from their balconies.