St. Elizabeth Healthcare expands chemical dependency program in Edgewood

St. Elizabeth will expand its chemical dependency intensive outpatient program at Edgewood in response to a community need to offer outpatient services that address the mental health needs of substance abuse patients in one setting simultaneously. Under this dual-diagnosis approach, patients will be treated by licensed independent therapists trained to address both issues on a holistic basis.

“Treating addiction successfully is very complex,” says Anthony Alvarez, M.D., medical director of behavioral health at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “I have seen many individuals struggle with these issues during my career. Approximately 50-70 percent of persons with dependency issues have a mental health diagnosis too. Now patients have a much–needed resource that not only treats their addiction, but also the co-occurring diagnosis and issues beneath it.”

Before the decision to expand the Edgewood program, focus groups were conducted with individuals, representing patients and community members which collectively stated that outpatient services addressing mental health and substance abuse simultaneously is desperately needed in our community.

Patients who would have previously been seen at the chemical dependency intensive outpatient program at Florence will now be seen at the Edgewood location. No longer will only mental health issues or chemical dependency issues be treated at different locations. Each patient’s unique needs will be addressed at one location in one intensive outpatient program.

“It is our commitment to our patients that this transition will make the best possible resources available to meet the ongoing needs of our patients,” says Chuck Washburn, system director of behavioral health at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “This dual diagnosis approach will help us meet that goal.”


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