The Boulder County Public Health board agreed Monday night to spend $144,000 over two years to look into options to move the Addiction Recovery Center, known as ARC, out of the health department.
The board added that ARC, which is the only county-run treatment center to provide 24-hour detox services in the state, may be kept in Public Health if a better solution isn't found.
Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health executive director, said the changes coming in healthcare reform likely will mean a new funding model for addiction treatment that integrates substance abuse services with mental health services. He said investigating options now allows Public Health an opportunity to get ahead of the changes instead of reacting.
"We believe it can be more successful somewhere else in the community," he said. "We want to look at all the options."
Though the five-member board approved looking into moving ARC, several board members said they weren't happy with the decision-making process to get to this point, noting ARC staff members and clients weren't included.
"I get the need to do the study," said board member Gregg Thomas. "It just rubs me the wrong way. I really wish it had been presented in a different way."
Several of ARC's staff members also spoke at the meeting about feeling blindsided.
"People are still reeling," said Scott Diamond, supervisor at ARC. "It's been difficult to see where we fit because we're not a part of your strategic plan."
Zayach said there's no question that ARC will remain in Boulder County and continue to provide the same level of services.
"We want to enhance it," he said.
Ann Noonan, ARC division manager, will be in charge of investigating the options and made an interim division director.
"There are all these changes in healthcare and funding," she said. "We need to get ahead of that and find the place to be that will give us the best platform."