SalusCare will reopen its Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) on Monday, May 15. The CSU, where some of the area’s most urgent and severe mental health crises are treated, has been closed since Hurricane Ian due to storm damage.
During Hurricane Ian, SalusCare’s 46-bed (16-bed children and 30-bed adult) CSU was flooded, with moisture rising two feet up the walls. SalusCare’s insurers covering wind and water for the facility denied paying for repairs necessary for reopening.
SalusCare acquired a line of credit after expending emergency reserves to get the unit back into service because its insurance companies denied reimbursement for repairs. The cost to repair and reopen the facility was about $1.3 million, with no insurance reimbursement to date. In total, SalusCare is spending close to $4 million to bring all its facilities back to pre-hurricane condition, with a total property insurance reimbursement of $260,000.
“Throughout this process, SalusCare has remained committed to reopening the unit to meet the needs of our community,” said Stacey Cook, CEO of SalusCare. “Obviously, this has had a huge financial impact on our operations, and we hope for the support of the community to help us continue to serve those in need.”
While the unit was closed, SalusCare lost more than $5 million in revenue, and about 300 patients per month had to find care elsewhere. The closure impacted an estimated 2,400 patients while the CSU was closed who had to seek treatment at Lee Health emergency department, Park Royal Hospital, the David Lawrence Center and Charlotte Behavioral Health Care.
“Repairing the unit without the expected insurance reimbursement has caused us to have to evaluate financial priorities going forward,” said Michelle Sutherland, SalusCare’s
executive administrator and director of outsourced operations. “So far, we’ve been able to do so without cutting programs, but we are restricting purchases to necessity only. We are committed to our patients and will do everything within our ability to make sure that these decisions do not impact patient care or access to services, but to do so, we must pursue funding from the community through grants and donations.”
SalusCare is licensed and funded by the Florida Department of Children and Families through Central Florida Behavioral Health Network. Other funding comes from Lee County Human and Veterans Services, patient fees, some insurance reimbursement, grants, fundraisers, and donations. To donate to support SalusCare’s mental and behavioral health programs, visit saluscareflorida.org.
SalusCare is a Fort Myers-based, not-for-profit mental health and substance abuse service provider incorporated in 2013 after the merger of Lee Mental Health Center and Southwest Florida Addiction Services (SWFAS) to ultimately improve care for children and adults by utilizing one seamless system of care. “Salus” means health, prosperity and safety, reflecting the focus of the organization. A United Way partner agency, SalusCare has six locations with more than 350 employees throughout Southwest Florida, bringing hope and recovery to nearly 16,000 adults and children each year. All substance abuse programs and most mental health services are accredited by CARF International, an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services. For information, visit saluscareflorida.org or call 239-275-3222.