Safehaus expands with West Michigan center


Safehaus Inc., which provides therapeutic intervention services for children, is establishing a new home in Grand Rapids.

Safehaus, based in Warren, is expanding its services to West Michigan as it gets ready to open a facility in a house at 1820 Eastern Ave. SE to address a need for hospital care services in a homelike setting for children experiencing emotional crises.

As a short-term intensive crisis residential center, Safehaus provides an array of services through its two clinically run programs: Hospital Diversion or Emergency Placement, and Hospital Step Down.

Intended to function as an adjunct partner in the continuum of care, the center offers a safe environment where children between the ages of 8 and 17 can receive care focused either on stabilization or transitioning back into the family.

Dr. Roman Kolodchin, president, CEO and clinical director of Safehaus, said children in the Hospital Diversion program are referred to Safehaus straight from the emergency room, while those in Step Down are ending a hospital placement and can benefit from additional treatment.

“We offer a full array of services for children who are having an emotional crisis,” said Kolodchin. “Safehaus is not putting hospitals out of business; we are here as a partner to the hospitals to alleviate the pressure of children sitting in emergency rooms because the hospitals are full and to partner with the hospital systems, which allow us to provide the types of services that they don’t.”

The services Safehaus offers include onsite nursing, psychiatric assessments, pharmacy services, trauma and substance abuse services, daily individual therapy sessions, group therapy sessions, daily didactic small group sessions, mentoring, family therapy and educational activities.

Safehaus is nationally accredited by The Joint Commission and employs approximately 25 full-time staff members, with roughly 40 individuals affiliated with the organization. Employee positions include supervisors who have at least five years of experience with children, youth specialists who are trained by the organization to work with children, and a program manager, director of operations, clinical director and medical director.

As Safehaus anticipates opening the Eastern Avenue location in Grand Rapids, Kolodchin said it is working to partner with several local health organizations.

“We are in contact with Spectrum Health, we have a contract with Priority Health, and we are in the process of contracting with Network 180,” said Kolodchin. “We will work very closely with the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital because a bulk of the children who are in crisis tend to go there because it is extremely well known, and good care is provided there.”

Due to its for-profit status, Safehaus does not receive grant funding but contracts with community mental health and insurance companies so the services are provided at no cost to the children or families.

“Our funding does come through the state in terms of the Medicaid children we service. Funding flows through Community Mental Health and, in turn, they pay us a per diem rate, which covers all of our services for the day,” said Kolodchin.

Kolodchin was first approached by the Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency in 2009 to address a growing need for a crisis residential center for children there. After launching the organization in May 2009 and officially opening the doors of its facility on Dean Avenue in Warren Aug. 13, 2010, Kolodchin said the center sat empty for three weeks before accepting the first patient.

“This is not a new concept — this is not something that is revolutionary, but nobody does it because it is very hard to do. It is extremely regulated. The financial reimbursement is not that of a hospital, but they expect us to provide hospital-level care,” said Kolodchin.

“We have grown into two homes side by side. We have another two homes on our same block in Warren we are developing and about to open in the next six weeks, and now we have gone to the west side of the state. We have seen the need here is just as great as back east in the Detroit area.”

To date, Safehaus has served approximately 850 children and has the capacity to provide therapeutic services to six children at a time in each home. The Grand Rapids location is in the process of final remodeling and undergoing fire and environmental inspections before having a licensing officer ensure proper policies are in place and the house is secure.

“We have filed for a license with the state of Michigan. Once we have our license, it is a matter of the contracted entities sending us kids,” said Kolodchin. “It is going to take a little while to build up, but I’m very happy we have been able to get this far with this particular home. This is the nicest home we have at the moment.”

Looking ahead, Kolodchin said he would like to expand Safehaus services to the developmentally disabled population and to develop more efficient ways to provide after-care services for children upon discharge from the center.

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