The future of maintaining a chemical dependency treatment facility in Winnebago is uncertain.
In a special meeting held in March, United Hospital District board members voted to suspend operations at the Winnebago Adolescent Treat Center.
“With all the stuff that is going on right now, no one is referring anyone,” says board member Larry Anderson. “We’re not going to take any new clients and do not have a plan to re-open as a UHD facility.”
The 24-bed treatment facility opened in 1982 in the former Winnebago hospital building under the direction of Fountain Centers in Albert Lea.
After 10 years of operation, Fountain Centers planned to close the facility and re-locate in Albert Lea. But, UHD agreed to purchase and run the treatment center for male and female youths ages 12 to 18 years old.
In 2010, the hospital district built the present state-of-the-art facility and last year a program to provide services for mental health was added.
“We’re trying to find another operator of that same type of business,” says Anderson. “We’re really trying to find something that is good for the community and continues to be an asset.”
The facility still has a handful of residents and will remain open until they complete their treatment programs.
“Rick Ash (UHD chief executive officer) has met with the staff,” he says. “It could be a matter of days.”