Douglas County Treatment & Recovery Center will begin phased opening Monday

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Agreement between Douglas County, Bert Nash now public

The Douglas County Treatment & Recovery Center is set to open its front doors Monday, April 10.

Douglas County commissioners on Wednesday approved a final agreement with Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center to operate the center.

With the agreement and lease finalized and signed by Douglas County Administrator Sarah Plinsky and Bert Nash CEO Patrick Schmitz on Thursday, the TRC will be ready to welcome community members after the weekend.

In opening Phase 1, the TRC’s urgent care services will be available to Douglas County residents of all ages.

In that phase:

The TRC will be open 7 days a week, regardless of holiday schedules.
Urgent Care will receive community walk-ins from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Patients will be seen by a provider within one hour of arrival at the facility.
Services will include triage, assessments, referrals, initial treatment planning, psychiatric med evaluations and prescriptions, and coordination of care.
Bert Nash intakes will be completed at the TRC.
Bert Nash will have a written plan for follow-up communication and care coordination with outside providers.
Patients seen at the TRC will be able to return to the TRC for follow-up care as needed.
Bert Nash will have a mechanism in place to track and report time to follow-up appointments.
Bert Nash will track and provide monthly data reports to the county, including time to first appointment, referrals, and/or return/follow-up at TRC Urgent Care.

Later phases will add on to those services and duties.

Ultimately, “The Parties agree that the Center should accept all patients for evaluation and treatment despite their acuity to the greatest extent possible,” according to the agreement. “The County desires a commitment from Provider that it will accept, evaluate, and treat all patients who present with high acuity behavioral health and/or substance use conditions, except in very limited cases when it is not medically or legally possible for the Center to provide care.”

Here’s a sneak peek inside the center at 1000 W. Second St., near Second and Alabama streets. Check out a full photo tour from October with descriptions of the building’s key features at this link.

Subsequent phases

Here are some key additions in Phases 2 through 4:

Phase 2: By May 25, the center will open its observation and stabilization units. Those will be open 24/7 for adult patients experiencing mental health or substance use crises. Patients may stay up to 23 hours in the observation unit before they’re discharged or referred to another facility, and they may stay 72 hours in the stabilization unit.


Those units will accept referrals from the LMH Health Emergency Department, law enforcement, the Mobile Response Team and first responders. Patients referred that way will come in through a special entrance.

The patient capacity for those units will start at 10 patients, and that will increase to 16 by July 17, and to 24 by Oct. 7.

Phase 3: By July 17, services will expand to include medication-assisted detox, and the center will be able to take involuntary holds. The center will also have developed a patient handbook that informs patients on the available services, patient rights, grievance procedures and more.

Phase 4: Within the first six months of opening, the TRC will achieve accreditation for more services and ensure that its provisional operating license — issued in October — does not lapse.

In addition, “If the County creates a council, board, or other body to perform functions related to community behavioral health and substance use treatment, including but not limited to the Center, Provider will participate and cooperate with such body in ways specified by the County. This body will not have a governance role over the Center but its purposes, among others, will be to seek consumer input, community feedback, public education and accountability,” according to the agreement.

Urgent Care services will be available starting Monday; in the meantime, the TRC’s website includes a long list of local resources that are already available. Find that at

See more details in the signed operating agreement below. The agreement will be in effect through Dec. 31, 2023, and Bert Nash is eligible for an extension for 2024 and beyond.

The center is still hiring for a number of positions. Check out available jobs at this link.


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Get mental health help in Lawrence

These resources are available 24/7 if you or someone you know needs immediate mental health help:

• Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center: 785-843-9192
• Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ (formerly Headquarters): 785-841-2345
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Dial 988; veterans, press 1
• SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator and Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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