SANBORN, N.Y. (WIVB) - A veterans rehabilitation center in Sanborn has been sitting empty because of government red tape, but that's about to change.
The Freedom Village has been ready to open since September, but News 4 aired a story that it was sitting unused because of a four-month delay from the state, and that story got the community riled up.
"Absolutely people were riled up," said Paige Prentice, Vice President Operations for Horizon Health Services. "They were texting, emailing, calling. What do you mean, four months? Well, I mean four months. It was the fact."
State Sen. George Maziarz immediately contacted the commissioner of the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, or OASAS. And suddenly four months turned into four days. The state finished the paperwork for the Freedom Village in Sanborn, and the facility can now accept patients this week.
"We've reduced our wait list by 25 percent in one day. Just because that facility is going to open. And what does this mean to veterans? It means they have a place to come and get help. Today," Prentice said.
Rehab providers like Horizon Health Services, which runs the Freedom Village, have found veterans who served overseas are often prescribed prescription drugs to treat physical, mental, and emotional pain. Those prescriptions are leading to some addictions. They say that's why a rehab center tailored to veterans is so important.
And that's why it was important to Sen. Maziarz to make sure its opening is delayed no longer.
"Just these bureaucratic delays. This is the problem some of these representatives here have been talking about. It's just unacceptable. I don't know why it was. We are going to look into exactly why it was. But we cleared it up pretty quickly and Freedom Village is going to open and that's the most important thing," Sen. Maziarz said.
When asked how do we know this isn't going to happen to another rehab facility, Maziarz said: "That's exactly the question myself, my colleagues and quite frankly the governor's office is going to be asking."
OASAS said in a written statement that the process was never going to take four months, and they took care of the paperwork as soon as they received it from the provider.
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