FRMC branches out, takes over center

Erie County medical center acquires mental health, drug recovery facilities
Alex Green
Jan 12, 2014
Area hospital executives branched out to help thousands of local residents face and conquer their addictions.

Firelands Regional Medical Center recently acquired The Giving Tree, a three-decade-old community provider of mental health, drug, alcohol and behavioral health services in Ottawa County.

By April, The Giving Tree’s name will change to Firelands Regional Medical Center Counseling and Recovery Services of Ottawa County. All three Ottawa County locations for The Giving Tree — in Genoa, Oak Harbor and Port Clinton — will remain intact. The Giving Tree clients, meanwhile, won’t see an interruption of their care during or after the transition. Firelands executives also vowed to keep all 35 employees, spread out at the three sites, on payroll.    

“We were very pleased to be approached by the administration of The Giving Tree to discuss an arrangement that would allow the continuation of the high quality service Ottawa County residents have come to expect,” said Marsha Mruk, Firealnds Counseling and Recovery Services vice president.

The Giving Tree’s owners — Mariann Davids and Ann Kersten, who both plan on retiring — decided Firelands’ motives to help those in rehab jibed with their intentions of helping others. Firelands, however, can offer more resources to help people become healthier.

“Firelands’ mission is closely aligned with the mission of The Giving Tree,” according to a statement from Davids and Kersten. “We made our selection in part based on what organization could continue to provide Ottawa County with the highest standard of behavioral healthcare”

At a glance: The Giving Tree
• Mission statement: Dedicated to upholding the vision of providing quality mental health, alcohol and drug addiction recovery, prevention and employment services to those in need.

• Clients served: About 900 people in the past two years

• Funding levels: The budget hovers between $2 million to $3 million annually, said Kirk Halliday, executive director at the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Erie and Ottawa Counties. The board gave $932,100 this year and $892,500 a year ago to The Giving Tree.

Board members vowed to still provide funding to Firelands for The Giving Tree services after the transition happens. Firelands will then cover The Giving Tree’s remaining balance.

People targeted:
The center primarily assists:

• Youth and families who need help in developing new strategies for achieving healthier communication skills and relationships.

• Teens who need help for personal, emotional, school or family problems.

• People who are dealing with everyday problems, such as drug and alcohol addictions and long-term mental illnesses.

Services provided:
The organization offers several services including:

• LifeSkills training — A science-based curriculum helping reduce tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse by as much as 87 percent. 

• The program teaches prevention and drug refusal skills, promotes anti-drug norms and fosters the development of personal self-management skills. This is done through lecture, discussion, coaching and practice.

• School-based prevention services — Available in Ottawa County schools, the topics are geared toward individual or group-prevention services.

• Active Parenting Now — Designed for parents of children between ages 5 to 12, the program helps adults learn how to raise responsible, cooperative children who are prepared to meet the challenge of the teen years.

• Sensible approach — A workshop, required by the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court, for all parents with minor children who are parties to a divorce or dissolution. A two-hour, skills-based program teaches parents how to support and assist their children as they adapt to changing family relationships.

• Straight talk — A course covering a variety of topics, including use versus abuse versus dependency; why people use drugs; science-based education on drugs and alcohol; myths and facts; physical and mental health risks; legal and social consequences; and safety first through responsibility and knowledge.

Source: Firelands Regional Medical Center, The Giving Tree, Mental Health and Recovery Board of Erie and Ottawa Counties