LEBANON — In September 2018, Samaritan Health Services kicked off a capital campaign for construction of the Samaritan Treatment and Recovery Services (STARS) center in Lebanon.
At that time, $800,000 had been raised for the $4 million project. The amount has since grown to $3.5 million, and on Tuesday afternoon a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the facility, which will be located off Main Street at the intersection with Tangent Street, near the Lebanon Senior Center.
Construction will begin this summer and Samaritan Health Services CEO Doug Boysen told the audience of health care workers, public officials and civic leaders that the center will open in spring of 2020. It will include 16 beds for residential treatment and will also serve as the new home of the outpatient addiction treatment clinic launched by Samaritan in 2018.
Marty Cahill, CEO of Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, said the statistics relating to substance use disorders in Oregon have gotten worse in the last year. Oregon now has the fourth-highest rate of substance-use disorders in the nation and is 50th in access to care.
“STARS will help serve as a solution for this epidemic. Its residential program will be medically monitored, clinically intensive and highly structured,” he said. “It will include excellent staff who will oversee and facilitate individual therapy, group counseling, family education and peer support.”
The good news is that treatment is effective, especially when considered in terms of dollars spent.
“Treatment is the least-cost option. Every dollar spent on treatment we avoid $7 in incarceration costs and we save $4 in health care related expenses,” Cahill said.
Fundraising for the facility has been a priority for the Samaritan hospital foundations in Lebanon, Albany and Corvallis.
Stacie Wyss-Schoenborn, a board member of the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation, said the treatment center represents a commitment from mid-valley communities.
“Through this project, we are saying loud and clear, ‘We can do better; we will do better.’ We will come together as individuals and communities to lift up those who are struggling with their addiction and assist them with their recovery journey,” she said.
STARS medical director Dr. Richard Hindmarsh said, “This truly is a great day.”
“It’s a day we’ve been looking forward to for a long period of time. This will serve as a reminder to our community that we stand together … to really help those patients that are struggling with the disease of addiction,” he said.
Hindmarsh stated that the facility would not have been possible without the work of the hospital foundations, the governmental partners and the leadership at Samaritan Health Services, singling out Cahill in particular.
“His commitment to this project has been fabulous. Without his presence, his push, we wouldn’t be sitting or standing here today,” Hindmarsh said.