Lowell House, Health Center Team Up on Addiction Treatment

May 25, 2018 GMT

LOWELL -- Bill Garr could go on and on about the importance of integrated care for those struggling with addiction.

That integrated treatment is the key to effective long-term recovery, stressed the CEO of Lowell House, which provides both residential and outpatient addiction treatment. All of the evidence points to it, Garr added.

In the near future, that integrated care is coming to the local health center. On Thursday, leaders of Lowell House and the Lowell Community Health Center signed a rental deal, bringing the two nonprofits closer together.

Under the agreement, Lowell House will have space on LCHC’s fourth floor for the next 20 years, with options to extend up to 60 years. It will be their center for integrated treatment and recovery.

“This is a real way to attack the opioid crisis, and will go a long way to reducing overdoses and deaths,” Garr said.

“We plan to be here for awhile,” he added.

They signed the documents in the fourth-floor space under construction.

Lowell House plans to move in at the end of the year into the health center’s building on Jackson Street.

“We’re very excited about it,” said Sue West Levine, CEO of LCHC. “Our number one priority is the health and well-being of the Greater Lowell community, and this partnership will assist us in facilitating that care in the community.”

Lowell House raised around $1.4 million for the project at LCHC.

Officials declined to share the financial details of the 20-year rental agreement, which has four, 10-year extension options.

Garr called it a “reasonable rate” to pay LCHC each year.

“A very amenable agreement,” he said. “We can come here and not have to struggle, and can facilitate both our missions.”

There is significant patient overlap between the health center and Lowell House.

West Levine said that by increasing the proximity of their programs and establishing a framework for collaboration, they can eliminate some of those barriers and improve patient outcomes.

“The proximity is very helpful in coordinating care,” she said. “It fosters healthy teamwork, communication and sharing resources to help individuals.”

Bringing as many services as possible under one roof is critical, Garr added.

“Everything will be here, and everything will be coordinated,” he said. “For our clients, that’s a great gift.”

The fourth-floor space will include a healthy living center to help clients positively change their lifestyle, Garr said.

The new behavioral community partnership team and recovery coaching team will also be located there.

“All the kinds of teams that help us engage clients and keep people in recovery will be here in one spot,” Garr said.

The Lowell House staff will get to know LCHC staff, meeting on a regular basis and interacting on different floors.

“It’s about becoming one health system for people,” Garr said.

Follow Rick Sobey on Twitter @rsobeyLSun