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Published in Health Care
Sanford Behavioral Health’s new 18-acre campus in Marne significantly expands the provider’s capacity. Sanford Behavioral Health’s new 18-acre campus in Marne significantly expands the provider’s capacity. COURTESY PHOTO

RAISING THE BAR: Behavioral health provider significantly grows capacity with new Marne campus

BY Thursday, August 25, 2022 12:29pm

David and Rae Green started Sanford Behavioral Health seven years ago in a historic home in Grand Rapids’ Heritage Hill neighborhood.

The location housed a 10-bed residential treatment center for women with substance use disorder. In the early days, David mowed the lawn and did the grocery shopping. He also occasionally did the cooking.

From the small beginning, Sanford Behavioral Health has steadily grown. The company most recently developed a new 18-acre campus in rural Marne in northeastern Ottawa County. The new 134-bed Sanford West location offers a detox center, treatment for substance use and eating disorders, and mental health services.

The Marne campus is the latest and largest location for Sanford Behavioral Health, which today employs 75 people and has five inpatient and outpatient facilities in the Grand Rapids area that treat people with addictions, eating disorders and mental health conditions.

“It’s a family business story, and my daughter’s been in the business and my son’s been in the business the whole time. We started out that way and over that short period of time have grown into a pretty big venture,” David Green, Sandford’s CEO, said in an interview at the Sanford West campus, located a short distance north of I-96 on 16th Avenue.

Sanford Behavioral Health bought the former nursing home in July 2020. The Marne campus added residential treatment for eating disorders and substance use disorders, more than tripling Sanford’s capacity. The campus began opening in phases this summer starting with the detox center and treatment for eating disorders. All programs will open in the coming months, Green said.

‘Raising the bar on treatment’

The Greens began planning for the Marne campus prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has driven up incidence rates for substance use and mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

“The need for addiction, eating disorder and mental health treatment in Michigan is dire, and medical experts say the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened individuals’ mental health issues,” said Rae Green, president and founder of Sanford Behavioral Health. “Data show that Michiganders go untreated or leave the state just to find the support and treatment they need due to the severe shortage of effective treatment providers. So we are raising the bar on treatment in Michigan with this facility.”

As well, the location gives Sanford Behavioral Health room to grow its services in Marne. The site offered the company real estate “that fits our financial model” with close proximity to Grand Rapids, David Green said.

Prior to Sanford Behavioral Health, David Green worked 18 years as an executive at DP Fox Ventures and previously as an attorney at Warner Norcross + Judd LLP. Rae Green has a background working in residential treatment centers and is an advanced alcohol and drug counselor.

“Her clinical background, married with my real estate and business background, made for a pretty good formula, David Green said.

After forming the women’s treatment center in 2015, the Sanford House at Cherry Street, “one thing led to another” and additional locations and services followed, he said.

The Greens saw developing a new campus as an opportunity to expand their company’s offerings beyond substance use disorder and into eating disorders and to treat people with multiple diagnoses.

Coming out of the pandemic, many patients’ conditions are “much more acute with many co-occurring conditions,” David Green said. More than 80 percent of patients at Sanford Behavioral Health have a co-diagnosis. Patients, for example, have substance use disorder and an eating disorder, or gastrointestinal issues from their alcoholism, he said.

Adding the Marne campus to the 30 existing residential beds between two facilities in Grand Rapids gives the company significantly more capacity and a greater scale that “has allowed us to build a substantial medical team” to address both psychiatric and medical issues patients may have, David Green said.

“Gaining scale also allows us to raise the bar on our treatment, particularly on the clinical and medical side of things,” he said. “We are now able to address those physical, medical issues while those patients are with us, rather than referring them out.”

Looking to the future, Sanford Behavioral Health intends to grow further, add more services and extend into new markets. Half of the company’s patients come from east of Lansing, creating the potential to later expand into eastern Michigan and the Detroit area.

As well, Sanford Behavioral Health has met with the major providers in West Michigan to talk about possible partnerships, and with providers nationally to network “on some form of collaboration in the future,” David Green said.

Although the company has no specific plans for expansions, its strategy is to enter new markets where a gap exists in behavioral health care services, he said.

“My motto has always been: I am not going to go into an area that is served with quality, effective treatment already. We would look to go into spaces that are underserved or not served to the Sanford standard,” he said. “I have nothing on the books, but I have a lot spinning around in my mind.

“There’s a lot of opportunity in the Detroit area, but obviously we have our plate full here in opening these programs and getting things complete.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Sanford’s residential substance use disorder program as a detox program.

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Read 1969 times Last modified on Friday, 26 August 2022 08:23
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