Doctor worried about future of Peninsula addiction treatment program

SAN MATEO, Calif. (KGO) -- A Peninsula doctor says he's concerned that an addiction treatment program where he sends patients could be facing the ax. The hospital says it's not true.

This comes at a time when opioid addiction has increased demand for specialized care.

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"It leaves me unsure and worried about the future of addiction treatment in San Mateo County," said Dr. Andrew Glatt, a Burlingame physician who treats patients with addictions.

He says he learned in a meeting this week that an in-patient detoxification program at Mills-Peninsula's San Mateo Health Center could be at risk of closing. He was told the 21-bed program was given a short reprieve but still could be in jeopardy.

"To go back to a place in time where these needs aren't met with specific treatment is a huge step backwards and a big mistake," said Dr. Glatt.

The concern is that closure would limit treatment opportunities when the need is growing.

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San Mateo resident Linda Weil said, "I'm shocked to hear that they would do that because what we hear all the time is how there's an epidemic of people who need help with this."

Sutter Health Bay Area issued this statement: "There are no programmatic changes in behavioral health at this point or in the chemical dependency program at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center."

Project Ninety, a San Mateo nonprofit that has offered addiction treatment programs for 46 years, says the Peninsula has more demand than capacity.

"Any time another program closes, it's a great loss to our whole community," said Jim Buckner, chief operating officer and intake manager at Project Ninety.

What happens next? A number of physicians as well as alumni from the treatment program say they're going to put public pressure on Sutter Health not to shut down the program.

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