Colorado lawmaker is trying to save Arapahoe House, state's largest provider of addiction treatment

Arapahoe House plans to close Jan. 2

DENVER -- A democratic state lawmaker is trying to save Arapahoe House, the state's largest provider of substance abuse treatment.

A spokesperson for Rep. Brittany Pettersen's office said she has requested the use of emergency funds from the Governor's office to keep the nonprofit afloat.

However, the nonprofit's CEO said it will take a significant investment.

"I guess we'll see what happens," Mike Butler said. "The funding isn't increasing and we're out of reserves. "It's a national problem, it's a local problem from the community, to the state, to the federal government."

Denver7 has reached out to the Governor's office for comment about the emergency funds and is still waiting to hear back.

Amid a growing opioid crisis, the state’s largest provider of addiction treatment announced last Friday it can no longer afford to operate. Arapahoe House said it would close January 2, 2018.

The Denver area nonprofit has been operating since 1975 and serves 5,000 patients per year. However, Arapahoe House leaders said the cost to care for patients is greater than the funding that is available from state and federal sources, including Medicaid.

"Is there any responsibility for mismanaging of these funds?" asked Denver7 reporter Jennifer Kovaleski.

"That's a good question and it's something that we've looked at very closely internally," Butler said. "We are running extremely well right now and we're being as diligent as we can with the funds that we receive, where we're at right now is simply the reimbursement rates can't cover our costs."

The addiction treatment provider has been eliminating programs over the years to try to stay afloat, but anticipated funding cuts would make it “impossible” for its core programs to continue, a press release from the organization stated.

The closure comes as addiction rates continue to climb in Colorado. According to Arapahoe House, only 11 to 16 percent of Coloradans receive the substance use disorder treatment they need, and an accidental drug overdose occurs in Colorado every nine hours and 36 minutes.

Arapahoe House said it is no longer accepting new patient admissions. Officials said they're making every effort to place current patients with other providers. However, details of that transition have not been released.

Arapahoe House’s call center (303-657-3700) will remain open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, through Jan. 2, the release read.

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