MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WPMI) — A local non-profit organization that serves veterans is fighting to open a facility it says will help those battling addiction. Veterans Recovery Resources wants to open a 34-bed detox and residential treatment facility on Springhill Avenue.
“We only have one mission and that’s to remove barriers to care for veterans and first responders,” said executive director John Kilpatrick
Right now, Kilpatrick says they’re encountering a big barrier to opening what he says is a much-needed facility for our area. Bradford Health Services, a private provider, is opposing VRR’s application for adjustment to the State Health Plan. A necessary step, Kilpatrick says, in moving forward. In its opposition argument, NBC 15 News obtained, attorneys for Bradford wrote “veterans are not an underserved population for the services VRR proposes.”
“That’s totally absurd,” said Kilpatrick. “If that were true, then why are veterans killing themselves at three times the rate of civilians by suicide?”
Kilpatrick says the only two detox facilities in the state are hours away in Jefferson County, and he says, the one in Biloxi for veterans usually has a wait of several weeks. Bradford argues there are enough beds in the state to meet the demand. They say there’s an excess of 364 beds, but Kilpatrick says they’re cherry-picking data.
“How can you, on the one hand, quote a report that says we have excess beds, but ignore the fact that on the same report, it says there are 600 to 750 people on a waiting list?” said Kilpatrick.
These arguments will be made in person before the Statewide Health Coordinating Council Tuesday in Montgomery.