Addiction facility planned for former hospital

Florala Memorial Hospital will reopen this spring as a treatment center.

Florala Memorial Hospital will reopen this spring as a treatment center.

Clinic to reopen in March

Florala’s healthcare clinic will soon reopen, as will Florala Memorial Hospital, although the facility will have a new purpose.

Gabriela Engels of Iconsulting, Inc., previously worked as a consultant for Dr. Robert Devrnia and Hospital Holdings, which closed the facilities in late December.

Engels said this week she has been working to develop facilities for drug and alcohol recovery in Florala since 2012. Her initial plan was to use part of the hospital for detox and inpatient care. She also purchased the home which once was Seymour Gitenstein’s and has renovated it to be a transitional home for men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

When she learned in December that Devrnia and Hospital Holdings planned to close Florala Memorial Hospital, she said she immediately reacted.

“I told Dr. Bob that my program couldn’t work without it,” she said. “He looked and me and said, ‘OK. Take the whole thing.’ ”

She has formed two Alabama corporations, she said, and expected to sign a lease agreement with Devrnia’s company this week. She also was completing licensing applications needed to re-open the clinic, which has been staffed with a local nurse practitioner.

“We should have the clinic open by March 1,” she said. “The goal for the program is May 1.”

This week, she interviewed former employees and potential employees to begin staffing both facilities.

Once renovations of the hospital are complete, Serendipity Healthy Living Community will be a 45-bed inpatient facility that will include private rooms and dorm-style living. Engels said she expects to draw clients from across the United States.

“People don’t want to detox where they live,” she said.

The iconic columns on the grounds of Florala Memorial Hospital, built in 1964, are from the high school which once sat on the same property.

The iconic columns on the grounds of Florala Memorial Hospital, built in 1964, are from the high school which once sat on the same property.

Services will include an inpatient detox; an outpatient clinic; and a partial hospitalization program for those who don’t need to be fully hospitalized, but who need more supervision and care than a traditional outpatient program.

The former Gitenstein home will become a sober living home for men who have detoxed but aren’t yet ready to live totally independently. Engels said she also plans to develop a sober living home for women.

At Serendipity, she said, she wants people to feel positive as they overcome their addictions. She plans to include yoga, Reiki, music and art therapy, and other options for clients.

 

 

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