Colorado West operates Detox at $300,000 loss |

Colorado West operates Detox at $300,000 loss

Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Colorado West Regional Mental Health will lose $300,000 by the end of 2003 from running its detoxification unit, a corporation executive said Friday.

The $300,000 shortfall comes as a result of two years of running the center at a $150,000 deficit.

Colorado West executives discussed the loss at a senior management meeting last week, Colorado West assistant executive director Dr. Tom Updike said.

“What we concluded was we’ll continue the program through the end of the year,” Updike said.

“It’s a real struggle, it reduces retained earnings,” he said of the shortfall.

Retained earnings to a nonprofit company are similar to profits for a regular company, he said.

Colorado West is a private nonprofit corporation founded in 1970, serving 10 counties. Its headquarters are in Garfield County, just south of Glenwood Springs. The detox center is located at 711 Grand Ave.

In December, Updike approached representatives from 23 counties, cities, towns and hospitals in the area served by the detox center to tell them they owed more than $230,000 for their use of the detox center during the previous year. He received a mixed response.

He warned that if most of the money wasn’t handed over by Dec. 31, the center would close.

The deadline came and went, but the detox center stayed open.

Colorado West officials have not provided figures on how much of the requested money they’ve received from 2002.

For the entities that contributed money to the detox center, Updike said he thinks “it’s a really good-faith effort.”

But Updike said those cities and towns that declined to pitch in will be refused detox services beginning March 15.

“I want to be clear. Those towns that said `no’ won’t get services. It’s not fair . to them to shoulder the load,” he said. “I don’t want to be so harsh, but it’s not fair.”

On Thursday, the Glenwood Springs City Council approved granting $11,700 for 2002 and the same for 2003 – a total of $23,400.

The 2002 figure is about 14 percent of the bill Updike presented to the city in December.

But even though the city agreed to pay just 1/7 of Colorado West’s original request, Updike said he was “happy with what they were able to give us.”

In a meeting to be held in April with representatives from detox funding agencies around the region, Updike said he’ll introduce the idea of implementing a liquor tax to make up for drastic cuts in state mental health funding.

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