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DHHS confirms relocation of Substance Use Disorder Program to Lincoln

(WOWT)
Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 4:19 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) -The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed they will be relocating the Substance Use Disorder Program to Lincoln. The move was originally supposed to go hand-in-hand with the arrival of the Youth Rehabilitation Treatment Center in Hastings, but legislative action stopped the moving of the YRTC for now, but not the moving out of the SUD Program.

It has Hastings Mayor Corey Stutte worried about those employed at the Hastings Regional Center.

“Well, we obviously want to see those employees stay here in the city of Hastings, and while they maybe say that those employees will have the option to stay here, I think the jobs will be much different when you compare the YRTC to the Hastings Chemical Dependency Program, so I think that’s concerning,” said Mayor Stutte.

Local4 did reach out to the DHHS about the move, and they confirmed they plan to relocate the SUD Program to Lincoln in October. They also still plan to locate the female YRTC in Hastings starting in March.

DHHS officials also recognized improvements will need to be made to the new structures at the Hastings Regional Center to accommodate the YRTC move, which entail applying a coating over the drywall, adding film to the windows and the installation of a perimeter fence. They also acknowledged that these changes will come with an additional cost.

What it means for workers is they will have the choice to stay in Hastings and receive training for a new job or relocate to Lincoln to follow the SUD program.

The DHHS says they don’t expect any job loss with the transition, but Mayor Stutte said he still has questions about the millions in state dollars already being appropriated to Hastings to operate the SUD Program.

“Based on my discussions with the fiscal office, they said that it would not be possible and require legislative action, so I’m interested to see how the DHHS plans to do this,” Stutte said. “The building appropriations were specific to the chemical dependency program, and I look forward to hearing more about it.”

The DHHS is also working with the Missouri Youth Services Institute (MYSI), which is helping the agency focus on changing the culture with an emphasis on programming, clinical therapy and education. MYSI would also have a hand in assisting any Hastings workers who would be looking to receive training for a new position within the DHHS.

Lastly, the DHHS expressed the desire to have continued dialogue with the city of Hastings and its officials regarding these decisions. In their most recent, the DHHS says three committees were established to address community engagement, campus planning and public safety. However, the sentiment may not be mutual.

“Unfortunately, it seems they may have been acting in bad faith during these conversations, and here we are today - I found out about this second-hand, and I certainly don’t appreciate that,” Mayor Stutte said. “I certainly don’t believe that’s the way to work with communities that you are doing business in, especially as a state agency.”

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