COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - The Community Health Center of Branch County through STARS has had a long tradition of providing substance abuse services in the County, but that’s about to come to an end. The Substance Treatment and Referral Service was started more than 20 years ago to address an unmet need for those services in Branch County. However, Pines Behavioral Health Services in Coldwater has now been providing substance abuse services since 2006. CHC President and CEO Randy DeGroot says Pines stands ready and willing to work with the hospital to transition these services as STARS prepares to cease operations at the end of the month.
DeGroot says in today’s healthcare and economic environment, two county entities competing to provide services with limited resources is an unnecessary duplication of services. In addition, with declining service volumes for STARS, even CHC’s best efforts to reduce expenses hasn’t allowed the treatment agency to financially sustain itself.
The majority of STARS funding is in the form of federal grants, and with the federal fiscal year beginning October 1st and the short notice of the resignation of STARS only full time therapist, a decision had to be made quickly. Degroot feels the public won’t suffer because Pines is very capable of providing quality substance abuse services and the transition should go very smoothly.