Haymarket officials: Facility would rarely use 911 services in Itasca
Haymarket Center officials are responding to a major concern with their plan to open an addiction treatment center in Itasca by saying the town's lone ambulance would only be used during extreme emergencies.
"If it really was an emergency affecting the health and safety of the patient, and the Itasca ambulance was available and closer," 911 would be called, Haymarket CFO James Baldwin said Monday.
Baldwin's remarks came during the second of several scheduled meetings on Haymarket's plan to convert a Holiday Inn into a 240-bed facility for patients with substance-use disorders. More than 500 Itasca residents attended the meeting at Lake Park High School's west campus in Roselle.
Haymarket wants to refurbish the hotel to house hundreds of patients with substance-use disorders amid, advocates say, a rising demand for services. There were 98 opioid-related deaths last year in DuPage.
Haymarket President and CEO Dan Lustig said officials with the organization are "very passionate to go where the need is."
"One of the most challenging things that we have in this state is an individual's ability to get treatment when they need it the most," Lustig said. "With the substantial numbers of opioid-related overdoses and deaths, access to treatment in DuPage is very limited for residential treatment."
More than 2,000 residents from DuPage and other collar counties were patients at Haymarket's Chicago facility in 2017 and 2018, according to Lustig.
But the proposed project is facing strong opposition from residents in the town of roughly 8,700.
Opponents say they don't dispute that treatment options are needed in the fight against the opioid crisis. But they say Itasca is too small to support a 240-bed facility.
In addition to costing the town tax revenue, the center would put a strain on police and emergency services, opponents say. The fire protection district has one ambulance and needed voters to approve a property tax hike last fall to help balance its budget.
During Monday's meeting, Baldwin said a private ambulance service is expected to handle "90 percent" of the advanced life safety and basic life safety calls from the proposed facility. He said the ambulance company "can handle every level of service."
"A lot of our calls are nonemergency," Baldwin said.
Baldwin said the total number of emergency calls requiring a response from police or fire to the Itasca facility is projected to be 33 a year -- 13 for fire/EMS and 20 for police.
The village is planning to hold the next meeting Nov. 6 at Peacock Middle School in Itasca.
Haymarket is making its second attempt at opening a recovery center in DuPage. More than a year ago, it faced "not in my backyard" protests against a failed bid to operate a 16-bed satellite program in Wheaton.
If approved, the proposed Haymarket DuPage facility would provide a "full continuum of health care services," including primary care, for adults 18 and older. The patients at the proposed facility would primarily come from DuPage and collar counties.