The Franklin County Area Plan Commission reviewed an application last month for a conditional use for 273 Main Street, Brookville to be operated at as a residential inpatient treatment facility dedicated to substance abuse disorder.

The APC determined the application lacked sufficient detail and asked the applicant to submit a more detailed business plan for the Wednesday, Nov. 13 meeting.

The facility is permitted as a Class 3 conditional use in the county's zoning code.

Section 80.06.03 outlines the requirements for approval, specifying an application must be submitted with a site plan, development plan and a description of the proposed activity. The application is first reviewed by the AP executive director, Cindy Orschell, who determines that all documents are satisfactory, before referring the application to the commission for public hearing. At the public hearing, the APC is tasked with determining if the submitted documents are in order and application requirements have been met.

After reviewing the crayon-drawn site plan and 132-word business plan submitted with the application, APC member Chris Ernstes described the site plan and development plan as minimally sufficient, and the description of proposed activity as severely lacking. He made a motion to table the hearing and asked the proprietors of the facility to present additional information.

The application for the facility, Brookville Recovery Center LLC, was submitted by William and Mary Schwab of Brookville, and Brian Schell of Cincinnati, Ohio. Schell described himself as a liaison. National Provider Identifier records list William Schwab as CEO. The facility is to be located at 273 Main Street, occupying the 1877 Fries House and the addition to the north side.

The business plan proposes the facility to open as an outpatient treatment center operating 12 hours a day, six days a week providing treatment for 12 to 24 patients. The plan is to transition to an intensive inpatient treatment center in one year, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing treatment to 24 patients.
At the public hearing, Schell and Schwab were presented with a variety of comments and questions from the commission, as well as the public. Ultimately, the board found their answers insufficient and requested the additional information to be presented in November.

When asked for updates for this article on Monday, Schwab declined to provide additional information, only stating they are meeting with legal counsel to prepare for the Nov. 13 meeting.

Indiana has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. The state ranked 14 in the nation for the highest drug overdose death rate in 2017 but fared better than its Tri-State neighbors, Ohio and Kentucky, which came in second and fifth, respectively. Franklin County has a moderate overdose death rate for the state at 22.8 per 100,000. Neighboring counties Decatur and Rush fared slightly better with each at 21.1. Ripley and Dearborn have fared slightly worse with 26.6 and 29.8, respectively. Union and Fayette have come in at 38.8 and 58.8, respectively.

According to “Drug Overdose Epidemic in Indiana: Behind the Numbers,” Fayette County's overdose rate is the highest in the state.

The Indiana Department of Health, which tracks and compiles reports on overdose deaths, suggests the overdose data is merely a sign of the underlying problem of substance-abuse disorder and urges communities to “see substance use disorder as a disease, understand that treatment is available and that recovery from the disease is possible.”

The Department of Mental Health and Addiction supports non-profit community mental health centers throughout the state. Franklin County falls within the catchment area of Community Mental Health Center, Inc. of Lawrenceburg. The nonprofit organization serves five counties in the southeast corner of the state, offering a variety of outpatient services through its facility in Brookville as well as St. Leon and Batesville. It offers inpatient services through its facility in Lawrenceburg.

Tom Talbot, CEO of CMHC, Inc., explained the organization's 52 years of experience serving southeastern Indiana has allowed the organization to provide a broad spectrum of services. The Brookville office offers outpatient mental health services, community support and intensive family support. Offices in Batesville offer expanded services in the form of group support meetings, recovery coaches and a prescriber to offer medically assisted treatment. Lawrenceburg is home to even more services, including different levels of inpatient and residential care, including an inpatient detox program designed specifically for dual diagnosis patients suffering from substance-abuse disorder with a separate mental health component. CMHC, Inc. was recently awarded a grant that will be used to develop a comprehensive addiction recovery center to expand these options even further.

The cost of services is based on a sliding scale, based on income, and it accepts many insurance plans. About 80 percent of patients are on Medicaid or Medicare. Talbot explained the majority of its patients are referred through the criminal justice system and the Department of Child Services, with self-referral patients making up the third-largest group. Indiana operates Recovery Works through the DMHA, a program that helps bridge the gap between the criminal justice system and rehab, through placement programs and financial assistance.

Margaret Mary Health, a nonprofit hospital in Batesville, also provides mental health and addiction services through its facility in Brookville and several facilities in Batesville.

Jeff Coy, a provider at the Brookville office, attended the October meeting and voiced concern over the BRC proposal based on the seven years he has spent serving the community.

APC will take up the conditional use application at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, at the Government Center.