Update: 11/25/2013 6:30 P.M.
An alcohol rehabilitation program for Wood County will continue, with a few changes.
The county commission Monday decided to make some changes to the program run by Westbrook Health Services.
By law, it has to be offered to residents statewide.
But at Westbrook's suggestion, there will now be more beds available only to Wood County residents.
"We would like to make the commitment that we will serve 34 charity care people from Wood County.," CEO Joanne Powell told the commission. "That leaves 14 (beds) for the other surrounding seven counties."
While the rehab program will continue, however, outside funding for an energy conservation program will not.
The commission, while giving its support for it, decided not to go after a federal grant.
Commissioner Blair Couch said it could be funded entirely with county money.
This comes after a controversy earlier this year over an energy audit program with outside funding.
It was learned Commission President Wayne Dunn, and not the full commission, was overseeing its operation.
UPDATE 9/13/13 10:50 A.M.
The Wood County Commission recently was told by Westbrook Health Services that it wants to change a lease agreement for its Mission Drive treatment clinic.
The change would eliminate its public intoxication services, for which it has a state grant through the end of this year.
"I recently received a notification that they did not want to pursue that. and I believe, under the terms of the lease, they would be required to continue those service," says Jason Wharton, Wood County Prosecuting Attorney.
Westbrook's understanding of that 99-year lease, however, is that it could be ended if the site is no longer being used for substance abuse services, which it plans to continue.
"We'd like to increase the beds we have available for people who are struggling with substance abuse issues, as a residential treatment center," says Liz Ford, Marketing Coordinator with Westbrook Health Services.
And to de-emphasize alcohol treatment, something Westbrook says is not currently as large an issue now as both prescription and illegal drug abuse.
"There's been about a 26% decrease in the past year in use. But yet, the need for in-patient detox and rehabilitation has increased," Ford says.
Ford says the state grant Westbrook receives for the alcohol treatment program has not been funded for the past six months.
It's due to end December 31st, and the county commission plans to find out if another agency might be interested in picking it up
Westbrook Health Services says it is not changing its commitment to alcohol abuse treatment.
Earlier this week, the Wood County Commission got a request from Westbrook to modify a grant it gets for alcohol treatment services.
It was an indication it wanted to eliminate its treatment center on Mission Drive in South Parkersburg.
But Westbrook says it simply wants to change the program to emphasize substance abuse in general - in other words, drugs as well as alcohol.
"Given the instances of prescription drug abuse and heroin overdoses we've had in our community over the past several years, we feel this would be a better use of the facility and a better use of the community's resources," says Liz Ford, Westbrook's Marketing Coordinator.
The commission has not yet approved Westbrook's request.
It plans an inspection of the Mission Drive clinic in the next week or two.