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County to remodel Ceres recovery center
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Stanislaus County supervisors gave the green light to a $1.623 million renovation of the Stanislaus Recovery Center on the former grounds of Memorial Hospital Ceres.

Simile Construction was awarded the contract to remodel and put a new roof on the county owned psychiatric health facility at 1904 Richland Avenue. The center currently is used as a rehabilitation center for drug and alcohol dependent persons.

"This is not about a building project but a response to a tremendous community need," said Stanislaus County Chief Operations Officer Patti Hill Thomas, who noted the county has seen "an increase in the hopelessness in our community, people with serious mental health needs and many other needs."

The Ceres facility is intended for stabilizing people in crisis and steering them away from more expensive hospitalization. The facility must remain sized for 16 beds to continue receiving state Medi-Cal funding.

The county contracts with Doctors Medical Center/Doctors Behavioral Health Center and hospitals throughout the county for acute inpatient psychiatric care. The county expects to spend $11.4 million this fiscal year for those services, which is an increase of $5.6 million over what the county spent during the 2011-12 fiscal year. Those increased costs are due to a dramatic increase in bed usage, an increase in the rate paid to the hospitals and a larger portion of uninsured patients for which the county has 100 percent financial responsibility.

The county is paying for the Ceres upgrade from proceeds of the 2007 sale of the 67-bed Stanislaus Behavioral Health Center on Claus Road to Doctors.

The costs of providing services to a person at the Ceres facility would be less than what Doctors and other hospitals charge. Telecare Corporation will run the site at a rate of $742.27 per bed per day, which pales in comparison to the $1,060 rate at Doctors.

Start-up costs for the new program, which include equipment and staff training, is expected to be $386,358.
Thomas said the exterior of the facility will not change.

Construction should be complete by February.

Also during the Oct. 1 Board of Supervisors meeting, a closed session delved into how to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of county assessor Dave Cogdill. He resigned to become chief executive officer of the California Building Industry Association and officially leaves on Oct. 18.

Cogdill was elected to a term that ends in 2014 thus the vacancy may be filled on an interim basis by an employee.