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License Approved, New CEO Named at Drug Treatment Facility in Danvers

The Recovery Centers of America’s facility in Danvers named the executive a little less than a month after the state accepted its application for a license to reopen clinical stabilization services at the facility.

The substance abuse treatment facility in Danvers that was recently under investigation is now licensed and under the leadership of a new top executive.

On Tuesday, about a month following the state’s approval of Recovery Centers of America’s application for a license at the facility, the RCA treatment center on Lindall Street – the Boston Center for Addiction Treatment – named Laura Ames as its new chief executive officer.

Ames, who will oversee all aspects of the facility, including enhancements to the clinical curriculum, treatment protocols and educational programming offerings, brings to the facility more than 20 years of experience in executive leadership at hospitals.

“Laura’s extensive leadership experience, coupled with her innate passion for encouraging people through difficult times, makes her the ideal person to lead our Danvers team,” RCA Chief Operating Officer JP Christen said in a statement. “She will have an immediate impact on our clinical and professional staff, as well as on the patients and families so desperately in need of care.”

Prior to joining RCA, Ames – a certified rehabilitation registered nurse – served as CEO of HealthSouth New England Rehabilitation Hospital in Woburn and held executive-level positions at Arbour Hospital, Health Partners New England and Spectrum Health Care Systems, among others.

She was also a clinical nursing instructor at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester and is a member of the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors.

Ames said Spectrum, a nonprofit recovery organization, was her first “real” introduction to substance abuse disorders, though she dealt with them throughout her career. It was the death of her daughter’s friend, she said, that drew her into the industry.

“She was the first person I knew so intimately that passed away because of an overdose,” Ames said.

She said the facility, in wake of the state’s investigation into issues of patient care, was in need of strong leadership.

“The patients here deserve that and the staff deserves that,” she said. “I thought that was going to be a challenge and one that I was not afraid to take on.”

Earlier this month, the Danvers facility began admitting patients for the first time since the state Department of Public Health halted admissions on Aug. 25, citing “concerns regarding patient care and safety.”

The state’s decision followed the Aug. 18 death of an individual in treatment. It was the second death to take place at the facility in 2017 — the first of which took place in February, according to the DPH.

Following the investigation, the DPH approved RCA’s license application on Jan. 30, allowing the facility to reopen under a six-month provisional license, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

The six-month provisional license comes with five conditions and failure to comply could result in administrative action, including the suspension or revocation of the facility’s license, according to the DPH.

Under the provisional license, the facility can have up to 30 clients at one time. Beginning Jan. 30, the facility could admit two clients per day until it reached 10 clients, after which it could admit one client per day until it reached capacity.

At that point — taking into consideration patient discharges — the facility can accept as many clients per day as needed, provided it doesn’t exceed 30 patients at one time.

As of Tuesday, the facility had admitted 20 patients since RCA admitted the first client on Feb. 2.

Also according to the terms of the license, a registered nurse must be present on each shift and provide direct supervision to all nursing staff; staffed safety monitoring stations must be set up at all times and located in key areas throughout the unit to ensure that staff controls movement throughout the facility; a monthly staffing report must be submitted to the licensing inspector from DPH’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS); and BSAS will conduct onsite, unannounced visits during the six-month period.

Noting her prior experience in leadership roles, Ames said patient and staff engagement are the keys to success in facilities like the one in Danvers.

“We have a committed staff that are really passionate about the care, but I think they need the leadership and guidance and accountability,” she said.

The facility is working toward getting fully licensed, she added, noting it still hasn’t received a detox license.

“My hope would be to have this facility truly be the premier facility in Massachusetts in providing care to people with substance abuse disorders,” she said.



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