Substance abuse facility funds in danger in San Juan County

Posted at: 10/29/2013 6:48 PM
By: Ashley McElroy, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A proposed plan to redirect part of a gross receipts tax to the state could threaten substance abuse treatment facilities in San Juan County. Without it, some facilities won't be able to function.

Four Winds Recovery Center is where people recover from substance abuse.

But the future of Four Winds may be in jeopardy. The state is proposing to redirect 4.5 million dollars the county uses for indigent health care, to go to the expansion of the state's Medicaid program.

"The county would be left with the choices of taking down programs or try to squeeze money out of other funds," said Liza Gomez, director for the San Juan County indigent health care program.

Four Winds stands to lose about 25 percent of their funding.

Schneider says they'd be forced to reduce their residential treatment facility from 12 to 8 beds.

They’d also have to completely shut down the protective custody detox center-- which serves the most people.

"We had 3,550 admissions to our protective custody detox in the last fiscal year," Schneider said.

Not only would Four Winds have to cut services, they'd also have to cut jobs.

They estimate they'd lose 22 full time positions.

"That is really a concern because, I think any kind of job loss in the community is significant," Schneider said.

And with the amount of services reduced, Schneider says people waiting to get into the program may have to wait five months, time that some people can't afford.

"Folks either have to go back to using if they have to wait that long or it clogs the jail because they'll be sitting in jail waiting to get into bed," Schneider said.

This isn't a done deal just yet. The legislature still has to pass a new law to re-direct the funding.