A 41-bed drug treatment center in Vermont has voluntarily closed indefinitely after a state investigation unveiled staffing issues.
“We received several reports in December,” said Barbara Cimaglio, deputy commissioner at the Vermont Department of Health.
Cimaglio says former and current staff members at Maple Leaf Treatment Center in Underhill filed complaints.
The facility opened decades ago with a focus on alcoholism. Opiate addiction has proven much different to treat.
“It requires a higher level of expertise,” said Cimaglio. “I think it was challenging for the program. It’s hard to find the workforce, people who have deep experience in people who are working with folks who might have been in corrections, or pregnant women, or people with long histories of opioid addiction.”
“These were all fixable things in our investigation but they determined that, to fix them, they would need to take some time to do that,” she said.
The Maple Leaf board of directors decided to close for 30 days in January. The facility was cleared of patients, Cimaglio says, by mid-January and was set to reopen next week.
Then, Cimaglio received a call Thursday.
“They said they were closed indefinitely and they were looking at options,” she said.
Maple Leaf’s outpatient site in Colchester has also shut its doors.
Cimaglio says the state’s main focus is now making sure people in treatment have the care they need.
“We do have a number of other options across the state so we want people to know that on our website, we have a list of all the treatment centers by county so they can look up and see who’s all in their community,” Cimaglio said. “We have outpatient services…There are two other residential programs and our medication-assisted treatment hub.”
Jack Duffy, CEO of Valley Vista, says the treatment center has increased its patient count by 10 patients and opened up a few extra beds, likely, because of the closure.
“We are ready and available to add beds in buildings if/when the state needs it,” he said.
Dale Robb is CEO of Recovery House, the parent company of Serenity House.
Robb says Serenity House is licensed to have 24 beds so the facility cannot add beds. However, he says, the waiting list has grown. A normal waiting list length this time of year is 10 people, he says it’s now at 25 people.
“We feel confident if we can replace the number of beds that Maple Leaf had, or even half that many to start with, that we would be pretty close to meeting the demand,” said Cimaglio.
There are also twelve recovery centers in the state.
Local 22/Local 44 News made several attempts to contact Maple Leaf staff and the board of directors. The calls went unanswered.
There are online resources available if you or somebody you know is in need of treatment: