PORTSMOUTH – Last month, members of the Portsmouth City Council tabled proposed legislation that would have created a standard of care for recovery housing and addiction treatment facilities. The standard of care would have created a tax on inpatient and outpatient services, create a registration program for facilities, and subjected them to routine inspections. Several addiction and recovery facilities threatened to file litigation if the legislation was approved.
Now, council is moving off the standard of care it had developed and is instead looking at other options. These options include expanding the temporary moratorium on new healthcare fatalities within city limits, lobbying the state legislature and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to enact a standard of care, and potentially changing zoning codes to address supposed issues within the community.
“We’ve shown people we want to respond to this very serious issue,” said Mayor and 1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne during Monday evening’s meeting. “But there are challenges to what the city can feasibly and legally do. It has to do with finances, one, but also the way certain things are defined legally.”
“To that end, I want to carry forward with the moratorium and make it permanent with the options of accepting applications for exceptions…In terms of recovery housing we have a few choices. We can do nothing. We can do something specific to recovery housing. Or we can cover all housing as proposed by the City Engineer. Our best option for a standard of care is now to appeal to the state legislature and then the Governor’s office to move forward with an executive order to establish a standard of care.”
Dunne then stated the litigation the city faced came down to profits – not establishing better care for the recovery community.
“Its unfortunate to see a very vulnerable community that requires medical treatment and attention, and the opposition to his barely mentions that. Instead, it comes down to profit,” remarked Dunne.
Going forward, Dunne said he hopes to work more closely with attorneys and addiction treatment facilities to get regulations in place.
“We are at a point where this is an opportunity for agreement and collaboration.”
The next Portsmouth City Council meeting will be held on Monday, September 26th at 6 p.m.
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