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Hope for NH to close four recovery centers; only Manchester will remain open

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 20. 2018 8:32PM

Hope for New Hampshire Recovery will close recovery centers in four New Hampshire cities by the end of February, leaving only its core Manchester center in operation, Hope officials announced on Tuesday.

Founder Melissa Crews, who took over as executive director last month, said the Manchester center is the only fiscally solvent of the five locations, and Hope took the action to be financially responsible and prevent bankruptcy. Crews said the state has not provided grant money since July to keep centers open in Concord, Franklin, Claremont and Berlin.

“Every month I hear ‘a new contract is coming, a new contract is coming,’ but it never comes,” Crews said. Both Crews and board member Joe Graham noted the recent receivership and bankruptcy of Serenity Place and said they want to avoid that outcome.

A state official said the state Department of Health and Human Services is working with Hope for New Hampshire Recovery and a contract with a significant grant should soon be ready.

“I think in a very short amount of time we will conclude the contract we’re working on and give it to the Governor and Council for approval,” said Jeffrey Meyers, New Hampshire commissioner of health and human services. “We have met with them. We have discussed it with them.”

Crews said each center costs about $100,000 a year to operate, with the exception of Manchester, which spends between $300,000 and $350,000 a year. She attributes the Manchester success to funding from donors, hospital contracts and workplace initiatives funded by employers.

Meyers said the previous one-year contract required Hope to bill Medicaid for the services that it provides for eligible clients. Hope never did, so the new contract removes that provision and will focus on recovery-related services for clients who aren’t eligible for Medicaid.

Graham stressed that to bill for Medicaid, Hope would need clinicians on staff, and the Hope recovery model never involved clinical services. Peer recovery specialists, many of them volunteers, provide most Hope services for people in recovery, he said.

Both he and Crews said Hope had been using funds connected to the Manchester location to keep the other locations in operation. The board eventually decided it could not continue.

Crews said eight people will lose their jobs as a result of the closings. And recovery will be more of a challenge in the four cities.

“What they offered during the day was a safe place for people who were getting out of treatment, out of jail — a safe place to be until they got the rest of the pieces of their life together,” Crews said.

The recovery centers focus on long-term support for people trying to stay off addictive drugs such as opioids. The centers provide space for 12-step and other recovery-oriented meetings, housing opportunities, job placement and social activities.

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