LVMAC Tidbits — Veterans Sanctuary: Closed Up for Good?

Treatment Trends Announces Suspension of Operations

It is with profound dismay that the Lehigh Valley Military Affairs Council informs you of Veterans Sanctuary’s suspension of operations. It was our only local, long-term residential addiction and PTSD services treatment facility exclusively dedicated to military veterans. This important asset to our veterans statewide is no longer accepting clients.

Veterans Sanctuary had commenced operations about ten months ago and assisted 34 clients, but despite rousing civil society support, the necessary paid referrals from county, state and federal sources anticipated in planning and conference with government officials (and therefore expected) did not materialize in sufficient numbers to balance the books for various reasons – some difficult to comprehend. The problem was further compounded by Treatment Trends, the parent corporation, having to bridge funding gaps and, in certain situations, to provide free treatment (because it was hard to turn away a veteran desperately in need of life saving treatment).

Self-sustainment through fee-basis operations, common to behavioral health programs regardless of funding source, therefore proved unviable. Though there were enough referrals as assumed in the original vision, a key problem was the complexity of funding eligibility criteria which acted as a barrier to care.

Given more time and financial reserves, perhaps such would be a moot point.  However, that was not possible despite the heart of staff members to continue, even at low pay. Treatment Trends, Inc. had to face a difficult, but necessary, business decision because it was assuming an unfair and unanticipated debt load which would eventually affect its other programs.

On 15 May, the Board of Directors decided to suspend Veterans Sanctuary’s operations under the present business model.  It will reevaluate the potential for future operations in some new form.  The ultimate fate of Veterans Sanctuary is unknown and Treatment Trends has a long road to travel whatever its decision.

Their Executive Director has told us they are convening a planning meeting where Board Directors, staff and select community members are to start discussing future uses for the Sanctuary space on 31 May.  His organization is determined Veterans Sanctuary will remain dedicated to veterans services and activities.

Ironically, renowned experts and advisors to Veterans Sanctuary in the field of behavioral health treatment – knowing the need for such a facility – have also been startled by the announcement of the closing.

We will keep you posted.

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As of 23 May 2012

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