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Community Reach considers drug abuse program

Center in talks to purchase Arapahoe House Thornton property


Westminster-based Community Reach Center could take over the substance abuse treatment programs offered by Arapahoe House in Adams County if it can work out a deal for the program’s Lipan Street residential center.

Community Reach CEO Rick Doucet said his board is in talks with the Arapahoe House board for the facility, which housed 20 patients seeking treatment for substance abuse and addiction.

“We have not taken over any programs,” Doucet said. “We are in negotiations to buy their building for their residential program if we can but that probably won’t be until February. With the speed in which they closed down, there was no way for us to take anything over.”

Arapahoe House closed its doors Jan. 2, saying it could no longer afford to stay open. The group provided addiction treatment to an estimated 4,000 and 5,000 patients annually across the Front Range.

Arapahoe House announced plans to close in December, saying current revenues — state revenues and Medicaid for the most part — were not enough to pay its $11 million per year expenses.

Arapahoe House began shedding its programs last year, announced plans to end its detox service program in Adams County.

“That announcement was out of the blue, so it surprised me, too,” Doucet said.

Community Reach took over that program and began offering its own detox program in the Adams County property in Commerce City.

“That was almost exactly a year ago,” Doucet said. “The timing was almost identical to this. We had no place to run that program without the county’s building.”

Reach began offering detox services in June.

“It actually went smoother than I expected,” he said. “We were able to go from conception to a program in two months, which was unheard of.”

Doucet said it’s critical for Community Reach to get control of the Lipan Street property if the organization hopes to replicate Arapahoe House’ 20-bed residential program.

“This time, we don’t have the county in the middle,” Doucet said. “It’s just us and Arapahoe House.”

Community Reach operates five residential programs of its own now, with fewer than 90 beds currently among them.

“And those are all packed,” Doucet said.

“I don’t have a building that would be able to provide that kind of service to the population, so we really do need that Lipan Street building.”

Even if the two boards can reach a sales agreement, Reach won’t try to do everything Arapahoe House.

“You have to remember, Arapahoe House had a very small footprint in Adams County,” Doucet said. “This was their main building, but we have to go through all the formalities that are involved in what it takes to buy a building.”

Getting the building just begins the work for Community Reach, he said.

“We are preparing, but we have to build a new program from scratch,” he said. “There won’t be any consumers and we have to actually own the building before we can get licenses to provide the services. We are starting fresh again, the same we did with detox.

Doucet said he’s hopeful Community Reach will not have the same problems getting revenue that plagued Arapahoe House.

“If you have a program that’s built around just one or two payers, you’re going to have problems,” Doucet said. “We have hundreds of payers, and contracts with everyone. We are very diverse and that gives us an edge.”

Doucet said Reach has already hired some of Arapahoe House’ employees laid off after Jan. 2. Arapahoe House had 200 employees at their operations. Reach hosted a job fair just before Christmas at their Westminster office, and that drew in about 50 of Arapahoe House’s employees.

“A lot of them have been employing online, and we are hoping to get as many of them as we can.”


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