Allwell opens bigger facility to better serve the community

| July 23, 2020

Thompkins Treatment and Six County merged in October of 2016 and became Allwell Behavioral Health Services. As they worked to combine forces, resources and staff to better serve Coshocton County, they knew that in order to best serve Coshocton they would need to find a new home that would accommodate everyone and all the services they wanted to provide for their clients and the community. That’s when they decided to build.

They broke ground September 2019, and thanks to APG Architects, Paul Construction and the patience and hard work of the Allwell staff, the building project was completed, and they were able to move in and officially open their doors at the new location on July 8, 2020.

“We were fortunate the weather was good. We were able to get things completed and under roof before winter” said James McDonald, chief executive officer. McDonald explained that creating a long-term, high quality facility with functional space to provide services from was essential in order to thank Coshocton county residents and voters who have been so supportive of the organization and the employees.

Allwell had outgrown their other facility so much that they had their case managers working from another building because there wasn’t enough space to accommodate everyone. Chris Gallagher, Coshocton County director, expressed feelings of excitement to “have us all back in one building again,” and explained that being under one roof has made communication better amongst staff members. Gallagher and Office Manager Lisa Fortune explained that at the Coshocton facility there are ten case managers, five therapists, four support staff, two medical assistants, two to three nurses and up to four medical prescribers working on any given day. Therefore, space and communication are crucial for client care.

Another benefit to the new facility is the actual location. Allwell Behavioral Health Services is now located at 710 Main St. in downtown Coshocton. “We are so thrilled that we were able to be a part of Coshocton in Bloom, and we are really happy to be a part of downtown,” said Gallagher. She explained that she contacted Coshocton in Bloom Board Member Tim France about participating. “We wanted some kind of landscaping, but for an annual rental fee, they brought the planters, planted the flowers and plants, and they water them. Actually, all maintenance is done by them,” Gallagher said. She further shared that both she and Fortune grew up in Coshocton and “we are thrilled to see downtown coming back.”

Another benefit to being part of downtown is that the location is more readily accessible for clients. Clients are able to walk to Allwell easier now than they were before, and it was reported that some past clientele have contacted Allwell to start services again because they are now able to get to the building. Gallagher also stated that she has often been asked why she didn’t go into private practice, and she explained that it is because she believes “all people deserve quality care.” She expressed that being able to serve Medicaid clients is important to her, and she proudly stated that Allwell staff members have huge hearts, go above and beyond for their clients and that clients do not have to have sub par care.

Fortune, echoed Gallagher’s love of clients as she explained that in the old building she was housed in a back office and rarely saw clients. She shared that with the move she had her choice between two offices, and she purposefully chose the office she did because she felt it would make it easier for her to serve the clients and her staff. Fortune laughed as she shared that in the short time they have been in the new building clients she hasn’t seen in years have seen her and told her how they wondered if she were still with the company. “It’s nice to see people again,” Fortune said, “The clients deserve the building as much as our staff do.”

Where there wasn’t enough room in the old building for everyone to fit, there is plenty of room in the new building for everyone. Upon entering the building, there is a wide, spacious waiting area with the office staff conveniently located to assist clients. Currently, the waiting area is set up to accommodate social distancing. Due to COVID-19, practices have been put in place to help keep staff and community members safe such as temperature checks, a short questionnaire upon check in, and regular cleaning after each client visit. “We encourage masks be worn by clients, but we do not refuse a client who is unable to wear a mask. Our staff wear masks and we use the six-foot distancing guidelines,” Fortune said.

In addition to the large waiting area there are four wings in the new building for medication services, counseling, day treatment, and case management. The floating rooms, staff lounge, group rooms and conference room also make it possible for all staff to fit and function optimally as they serve Coshocton county residents. The day treatment room has a refrigerator and other appliances, with a stove on the way, that will make teaching coping skills and living skills easier. Telecommunication is set up in the room so that if clients are unable to attend in person, they are still able to participate. Likewise, the group rooms, conference room, and offices are also equipped for teleconferencing and Zoom meetings.

The old building may not have been as bright and open as the new building is because there were few windows throughout that location. However, in the new building there are windows in every room except the play therapy room. The windows not only open up the rooms, but also make for a more bright and cheerful atmosphere and make it more inviting and comfortable for both staff and clients. “We just feel like we are living in a dream right now,” Gallagher said.

With Allwell partnering with many local agencies like Family and Children’s First Council, various courts, schools, Department of Job and Family Services, etcetera, one thing both Gallagher and McDonald expressed looking forward to is the possibility of hosting meetings and opening their space up to the community for meetings to be held at their facility. As McDonald explained, they are looking forward to giving back to the community in this way.

The ribbon cutting ceremony, which will take place from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 6, is open to the public and everyone is welcome to come and help the staff at Allwell celebrate their long-awaited new home and the possibilities this new building brings to Coshocton County and downtown Coshocton. After the ribbon cutting ceremony, attendees are invited to come along for a tour of this beautiful facility. Allwell is excited to give back to a community that has given so much to them and welcomes anyone who can join them.

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