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Credo set for Sept. 3 takeover of Lewis treatment center

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LOWVILLE — Credo Community Center for the Treatment of Addictions is preparing to take over operation of Lewis County’s alcohol and substance abuse treatment center in less than a month.

“I think we’re well on our way to a successful transition,” said Barbara Eddy, director of outpatient services at Credo.

Under a plan recently approved by the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the county on Sept. 3 will transfer its Community Recovery Center on Number Three Road to the Watertown-based nonprofit.

“We’re sending letters to all the open patients letting them know about the transfer,” said Sarah J. Bullock, the county’s acting director of community services.

Other community stakeholders will also be receiving letters from the county in the coming weeks, and Credo officials also plan to send follow-up letters to those affected by the switch, including the roughly 50 current clients.

“We’re really excited about being able to render these services to the community,” Ms. Eddy said.

An open house is being planned for the second week of September at the center, which shares a building with Mountain View Prevention Services.

The Community Recovery Center had employed three counselors through much of last year, but two of them resigned within a couple of months, leaving only one to see clients.

After county officials found it difficult to recruit new staff members, the Community Services Board decided to seek proposals from firms interested in taking over chemical-dependency outpatient services.

Credo was the only agency to respond, and county lawmakers signed off on the transfer in March.

Lewis County officials last summer transferred most of their mental health programs, including the outpatient clinic, to Transitional Living Services of Northern New York, while Northern Regional Center for Independent Living took on a few of them, including advocacy and family support services.

During that transfer, county officials had to close out all cases, and patients were required to redo all intake paperwork during their initial visits to the private clinic.

This year’s privatization should prove much simpler, as recovery center patient records may be directly transferred to Credo upon closure of the county-run operation, Mrs. Bullock said.

The telephone number will also remain the same, and a few employees, including medical director Dr. Daniel P. Pisaniello, will remain at the center to provide continuity, she said.

One Credo counselor has already begun work here — through an employment agreement with the county — to help handle the caseload.

A couple of county mental hygiene officials, including Mrs. Bullock, plan to maintain their offices at the center, with a receptionist staying on as a shared employee of the county and Credo.

Ms. Eddy said that preliminary meetings with Mrs. Bullock and county legislators have gone “extremely smooth,” and she expects that to continue, even though there likely will be some issues to overcome.

“We’re going to anticipate being perfectly imperfect,” she said.

Given Credo’s solid reputation and 40 years of expertise, Mrs. Bullock said she is hopeful that the agency will bolster substance abuse treatment in the county and ultimately lead to “increased referrals from the community.”

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