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Lewis treatment center privatization deemed a success

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LOWVILLE — The transition of Lewis County’s alcohol and substance abuse treatment center to Credo Community Center for the Treatment of Addictions has gone smoothly thus far.

“It’s gone very well,” said Barbara Eddy, director of outpatient services at Credo, which took over operations of the previously county-run center last week.

The Watertown organization will hold an open house from 3 to 6 p.m. today at the center, which shares a building with Mountain View Prevention Services. Credo officials will be on hand to discuss services offered and show off the clinic. Refreshments will be served.

“We’re very excited to be there,” Ms. Eddy said.

While there were some “very small glitches” that cropped up during the transfer, they were all worked out in conjunction with county officials, she said.

Along with continuing to see about 50 patients from the county clinic, Credo officials are “working off a wait list” of referred potential clients who had not yet been seen, Ms. Eddy said.

The clinic now features one full-time counselor and one senior staff counselor from Watertown who spends two days per week here, she said.

Credo is in the process of hiring a second full-time counselor, hoping to bring that person in as soon as possible, Ms. Eddy said.

“We’re in the second round of interviews,” she said.

The county-run Community Recovery Center 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 agencies interested in taking over chemical-dependency outpatient services.

Credo was the only agency to respond, and the county’s Community Services Board and Board of Legislators both signed off on the transfer earlier this year.

A couple of county mental hygiene officials, including acting Director of Community Services Sarah J. Bullock, have maintained their offices at the center, with a receptionist staying on as a shared employee of the county and Credo.

The telephone number also has stayed the same, and a few employees, including medical director Dr. Daniel P. Pisaniello, have remained at the center to provide continuity.

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