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UHD hiring additional staff at W’bago site

By Staff | May 6, 2012

A year ago the Adolescent Treatment Center in Winnebago (ATCW) was letting staff go because of low admission numbers.

But, that’s all changed.

United Hospital District administrator Jeff Lang says the facility is now looking for help.

“It (ATCW) had some amazing growth. They are the ray of bright sunshine in our financial report,” he says.

The good news came during the board of directors meeting held Tuesday.

UHD chief financial officer Larry Lee presented financial information through the end of March.

While admissions are running about 12 percent behind last year, the average length of stay is up 26 percent.

And, Lang says April was a busy month.

At one time as many as 18 clients were at the facility with more than 20 others wanting services.

“It’s been sometime since we have talked about a waiting list,” he says.

Ads for counseling assistants have been placed in local newspapers.

The treatment center is licensed to provide assessment and primary inpatient care for chemical abuse and dependency to 24 male and female patients ages 12-18.

To serve even more youths, outpatient and diversion programs are in the works.

“We’re just in the preliminary process and not anywhere near that now,” says Naomi Ochsendorf, program director at ATCW.

“We have found that from here to Rochester we have a big gap in adolescent outpatient services,” she adds.

A task force also has been formed to work with the courts and area schools.

“We have to identify needs and figure out who can best fill them,” Ochsendorf says.

One option being considered is going into the schools and classrooms.

“Students and parents need to be educated on what treatment is all about,” she says.

The number of licensed alcohol and drug counselors will depend on the type of new services added.

“We want to hire the right people, not just because we have a need,” says Lang.

In other personnel news, Lang told board members he had no updates regarding Dr. Kevin Kimm, who is on medical leave.

“The doctors are doing a great job picking up the load. Everyone is very, very busy,” Lang says.

During his financial report, Lee pointed out purchased services through March were $902,858, about 12 percent more than budgeted.

Lee says the added costs are due to providing C-Section coverage during Dr. Stuart Sherry’s leave of absence.

Board members approved spending $124,600 for Meditech software for the emergency room department to help meet federal “meaningful use” standards aimed at improving patient care.

The board also OK’d donations of $500 to Faribault County Fair, $500 for the Kiwanis academic banquet and $250 to the Lions Club for the athletic banquet.

Douglas Johanson was the only board member voting against giving contributions to the two banquets. He says the school foundation should support the events.