Old Mercy Hospital turned into emergency overdose facility


Maryhaven has turned the old Mercy Hospital on South High Street into an emergency overdose treatment center.

"We were leasing this space and it was primarily office space. So, I called the director or the executive director of the ADAMH board and said hey I think I can turn this facility into a 55-bed facility," said Shawn Holt, President/CEO of Maryhaven.

The organization invested $1.6 million of private and public funds to renovate the former hospital into the Addiction and Stabilization Center.

"Research will tell you, a lot of times we have clients that have told us that they've been released from the hospital, and then go unfortunately and use right in the hospital parking lot," said Holt. "Instead of that happening, we want them to come here, get them linked to treatment immediately and more importantly long-term recovery services."

Maryhaven officials hope the overdose center will help to alleviate pressure on hospital emergency rooms and provide faster chances for recovery.

"For the first time in a long time in Franklin County, we are doing something more than just forming a task force or getting together to talk about a problem," Holt said.

The community raised many concerns about the security of the facility.

The center has more than 30 surveillance cameras, one entrance and one exit for patients and all persons must be buzzed in or out.

"We contracted with Columbus Police department so, they are here 24 hours a day on the first floor. And then we have private security on the third floor," Holt said.

Holt says this is the first center of its kind in the nation.

"This is really a pilot project. We are confident that this is going to work and we’re also confident that we have a footprint now to take this throughout the state of Ohio," he said.

The center will provide seven-day detox services, along with up to 30 days of long-term treatment if needed. Despite those limitations, Holt says the center will not turn away patients, nor force patients to leave -- no matter how long their recovery takes.

"The worse thing that we can do is turn people away. So, we are thinking about adding new floors, not only at this facility but other facilities as well," said Holt.

The center created 106 new jobs including doctors, nurses and front staff. Patients are accepted at all Maryhaven facilities despite financial or insurance situation.