GREENFIELD – It’s tucked behind a line of evergreens on the county’s west side. A ranch-style structure on a peaceful bit of property, quietly and patiently waiting for those in need to walk through the doors, hoping to escape the demon of addiction.
Hickory House, the county’s first in-patient drug rehabilitation facility, opened its doors this week. The private, for-profit center, located on 2-acre campus in the 5400 block of West U.S. 40, occupies a 10,000-square-foot building formerly used by the Sugar Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Home — which still houses patients in a separate building north of Hickory House.
Last fall, two New Jersey businessmen created DSN Wellness, then bought a vacant building on the nursing home’s campus and began remodeling it into a luxury treatment facility equipped to house 15 people. Hickory House is the first recovery facility DSN Wellness has established, leaders said; previously, its owners were involved with real estate investment on the East Coast.
Hickory House does not advertise its pricing, saying that treatments providers will work with families and their insurance companies, as well as offer financing plans for payment as needed.
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In addition to an array of detoxification and substance abuse recovery programs, Hickory House — which is licensed by the state to operate for the next year as the facility seeks national accreditation — boasts a variety of health and wellness benefits for clients, including meditation space, an indoor yoga studio and a full outdoor basketball court. Comfort is a top priority for those who enroll, officials said; decorative fire pits and gardens dot the front lawn, and a grand piano welcomes visitors to the foyer.
Director Lyndsey White said that’s the atmosphere she was hoping to create when she signed on to lead the treatment programs offered at the facility. She wanted a place where addicts could feel at ease while working toward a better, healthier life.
The facility offers a private bedroom and bathroom for each client, as well as meals from a private chef.
Kevin Minnick, a Hancock County Probation Department therapist and a board member of Mental Health Partners of Hancock County, toured the facility during an open house Thursday after learning this week Hickory House had plans to open.
As word of Hickory House has spread, the probation department has received dozens of calls from clients wanting to hear more, he said.
He expects the facility’s clientele will more likely come from out of county — even out of state, he said.
“I can see people flying in from California or Washington to go here,” he said.
White declined to detail program costs, saying Hickory House’s leaders don’t want to deter those in need from seeking information about treatment options; she stressed the center will accept insurance, and each patient will go through an intake process with a professional counselor who can recommend a treatment plan and detail the costs associated with that plan. Program offerings include group and individual therapy, officials said, with plans tailored to address addiction to various substances, including alcohol, heroin and prescription drugs.
Hickory House patients may enroll in 30-, 60- and 90-day programs to treat alcohol and drug dependency, with a focus on heroin and opioid addiction, along with the associated disorders, including depression and anxiety, that often accompany substance abuse, officials said.
As it awaits its first referrals, Hickory House is already fully staffed, facility officials said, with treatment providers including a registered nurse and psychiatrist, as well as clinically trained therapists and medical technicians. At least two people will be on duty at all times to assist patients 24 hour a day, officials said.
Each patient’s room is furnished with a queen-sized bed, mini-fridge and flat-screen TV. White said she feels it is important to include these features to help patients feel more comfortable during their stay.
A professional chef will cook daily meals and host classes to teach about healthy eating. Exercise classes will be offered, as well as bi-monthly group outings for excursions including rock climbing, canoeing and other outdoor activities that will help establish a sense of community among patients who can support one another, officials said.
Howard Bromberg, half of the two-man investment team behind Hickory House, said he wanted the new facility to be a place where someone “could come to recover with dignity,” where professionals from around the country could come seeking help, away from the hustle and bustle of a big city.
Luxury facilities like Hickory House tend to pop up along the nation’s coasts; but the Midwest is an underserved area, which is why Bromberg and his business partner Michael Feder decided to invest in a facility in Indiana, hoping to get at the heart of the heroin problem.
Though White hopes Hickory House will help people battling addiction feel like they’ve escaped their troubles, she said she’ll hold everyone who walks through the facility’s front doors accountable as they work toward sobriety. Each person will be required to complete at least 36 hours of weekly group and private therapy that will teach patients to recognize and overcome the triggers that drive them to use.
“You’re here to do work,” White said. “It’s beautiful; but it’s not a vacation.”
Hickory House was certified by Indiana’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction in mid January for one year as it seeks accreditation from a nationally recognized commission, said Kevin Moore, a representative from the state Family and Social Services Administration. Once Hickory House has obtains that accreditation, the facility will have to renew its license once every three years, he said.
Social service providers in Hancock County say they’re hopeful Hickory House finds success; treating addicts, they say, takes specialized programs that are unique to each individual. They hope, too, that as Hickory House helps those who turn there for treatment, their services will draw much-needed attention to substance abuse issues and the need for more treatment facilities in other parts of the state.
Amy Ikerd, who runs a program within the county probation department that seeks treatment for local offenders as they serve sentences, also attended the center’s open house this week. Looking around the facility, she said she believes Hickory House will be a great asset to those who can afford it but doesn’t expect it make a dent in the local recovery program.
“This is more of a destination recovery center,” she said.