Officials question some wording on proposed Westbrook contract

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Updated: 11/05/2015 5:00 P.M.

Parkersburg, W.Va. (WTAP)-Wood County questions the terms of a proposed lease renewal with Westbrook Health Services.

Westbrook has proposed a 30-year lease with the county, something it's had before.

It currently has a one-year lease.

But its newest lease proposal removes wording about two services the county has found beneficial for alcohol and drug treatment of prisoners.

"They simply have 'for substance abuse services'," says Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Jason Wharton, who studied the proposed lease. "They don't specify what those are. In the lease they're presently under, they have 'substance abuse services to include crisis stabilization and residential treatment'. They have the option do away with it, the way the lease is being proposed by Westbrook."

The commission isn't taking action on the lease proposal for the time being.

But Thursday, it did approve the bid of Perry and Associates for the county's annual audit.

The commission was told former sheriff Jeff Sandy, who now works for Perry, would not be involved with the county audit.

That audit is to be completed by late Janauary.

Updated: 11/24/2014 4:20 P.M.

99 years.

That's the length of the lease Westbrook Health Services hopes to get from Wood County.

The Wood County Commission reduced that lease to one year, after ending support last year for Westbrook's public intoxication program.

However, it continues to provide services, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

The ACA also has made up for a reduction of charity care in its facilities.

"Up to that point, men who very rarely got Medicaid benefits did after January.," Executive Director JoAnn Powell told the commission. "And we have a lot of men as patients. So it was a new funding opportunity for them. We've still served the same amount of people."

The county commission said it would discuss Westbrook's request at a future meeting.

Updated: 4/28/2014 4:00 P.M.

It closed its public intoxication center the first of the year.

But Westbrook Health Services still provides some treatment options for Wood County.

Monday, it gave the county commission its first quarter numbers for the housing of county prisoners considered substance abuse cases.

Westbrook says part of its change in emphasis in treatment, comes from the implementation of Obamacare.

"One of the things we've recently realized with the Affordable Care Act," said Executive Director JoAnn Powell, "is that many people who previously had charity care funding (from the state of West Virginia), are now eligible for Medicaid funding. That means our charity care funding may go down because more people are eligible for Medicaid."

59 people were housed in Westbrook's Amity Center between January and March. 25 of those were from Wood County, and only five were charity care cases.

Kanawha is now the only county in the state with a public intoxication shelter.


Another year of making a difference not only here in Wood County, but seven others in the region.

Westbrook Health Services is celebrating 65 years of service.

Westbrook Health Services helps close to 8,000 clients every year seeking treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.

And in honor of the 65th anniversary Westbrook has a few important goals they are working on for the next 65 years.

The main goal is reducing the stigma associated with behavioral health issues.

"And we want to just let people know that if you have other health care issues if you have cancer, or diabetes, or anything else you get treatment for that," says Liz Ford, Westbrook marketing coordinator. "And we want to let people know that it is okay to get treatment for behavioral health issues. And that we're here. And our goal is really just to educate as many people in the community about that as possible."

Westbrook also wants to strengthen relationships with other substance abuse programs in the area to help provide quality services to those who need it in the community.

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