[UPDATE] Peekskill Officials to Submit Final Paperwork for Methadone Clinic Court Battle

The moves comes as Peekskill officials continue their fight in the courts over the opening of the Renaissance Project's methadone clinic proposal 3 Corporate Dr.


Update, 3:30 p.m: The following was released by the City of Peekskill.


"The last of the legal paperwork related to the Article 78 proceeding against the Planning Commission will be submitted to the courts by Feb. 26," says Melanie Rener, a spokeswoman for the City of Peekskill.  "The City does not expect a legal decision on this action for four to six weeks and will comment at that time."

Editor's Note: The following was submitted by the Hudson Valley Hospital Center. If you would like to post your news to Patch, click here.


Hudson Valley Hospital Center has received state approval to close the doors of its methadone clinic.

In a February 1 letter from New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, the hospital received approval to shut down the program it has run since 1979 and to “cease admissions upon receipt of the letter to minimize the number of patient transfers in the months leading up to the last date of service.”

“This is nothing to celebrate as this was not our plan to halt services. Our plan was to keep the services going for what is a much needed service for this community,” said John C. Federspiel, President, Hudson Valley Hospital Center. “We proudly operated it for over 30 years, and it took five years to find a qualified partner but only one year for the City of Peekskill to put a halt to the service. It is really a shame that the City has shown this level of bias towards these patients.”

 Last summer, Hudson Valley Hospital Center entered into an agreement with the Renaissance Project to take over the management of its outpatient methadone clinic. Currently located in trailers in the rear of the hospital, the clinic treats about 230 multi-addicted patients annually with nine employees. Renaissance located a site for the service in an industrial park off Highland Avenue. 

Renaissance received planning board approval to move forward with the relocation of the service. but the City Council sued its own planning board to stop the move. The hospital had hoped by now to transfer management of the service and was required to develop a closure plan which it submitted. The closure notification comes as part of that plan.

The hospital is working to find positions for the nine employees who work in the service as well as locations for care for the patients. There are five other treatment programs in Westchester and one in Newburgh. According to the closure plan, the last day of service is anticipated to be July 6. 

Despite the great quality of the service as demonstrated by third party surveyors such as the Joint Commission, Department of Health and OASAS, reimbursement has not nearly covered the cost of the program for many years. The hospital did request enhanced funds to continue to cover operational costs but was denied.

Federspiel said the hospital continues to expand its health services on the hospital campus and the competition for on-site space is very strong.

The Renaissance Project was recommended to the hospital by Westchester County officials. The not for profit organization is fully licensed and its mission is the professional treatment of those affected by substance abuse.

Wendy Kelly February 25, 2013 at 01:30 PM
A shame that a large medical institution should resort to such "low" pressure tactics against Cortlandt Colonial Restaurant. Now we have have John Federspiel as a new member of the mob he is sending out his message loud and clear. Bias Institution how dare he say that Peeskill is a bias community.They changed the name of the hospital in 1991 from Peekskill Hospital to Hudson Valley Hospital Center guess that was due to a funding shortgage as well. Don't all you patients and family of the Meth Clinic see a trend? As I clearly do.
Jeana Smyth March 25, 2013 at 01:55 AM
You could argue that many cancer patients chose to smoke, many people with diabetes are diabetics because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, same with heart disease, high blood pressure, or a number of other issues. Maybe all the cancer patients who smoke made the choice to get cancer. Methadone allows people with addictions to lead a normal life. They take their medication and go to work. The patients at the clinic are your neighbors. They are members of your community. They are your co workers. They are parents, sisters, brothers, children, they are just people, not monsters.
Concerned Parent March 25, 2013 at 08:36 PM
@Jeana Smyth Thank you for your post. I am happy to see there are educated people in the world regarding addiction. It is so sad to see the closing of the clinic in view of the recent heroin busts in the Peekskill area. Based upon what I read and the amount confiscated, there are going to be a number of people who need some form of treatment. I am happy the police are trying to reduce the drug sales in Peekskill. Again, thanks for your reply.
Jeana Smyth March 28, 2013 at 03:17 PM
I can answer your question, Joe Citizen. The reason her son is still on methadone after ten years is because it is working well for him. You could ask why a diabetic is still taking insulin ten years later, or why another patient is still on the same blood pressure medication for years....Patients remain on medications that work for them. Why is it great to find medications that work well for diabetics and people with hypertension, and terrible to find medications that allow addicts to live a normal productive life? Why such bias?
Jeana Smyth March 28, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Wendy you make a really good point. Since things dont seem to be working out with the new site for the clinic, why wont Mr. Federspiel allow the clinic to remain where it is? If he really cared about our community, he would figure something out. I am sure he could let it remain where it is if he wanted to....He must be aware of how great a need there is, and he must be aware of what a wonderful job the clinic has been doing all this time. It is starting to look like he just doesnt want it there. I dont know him but it sounds like he is more interested in making money than serving the needs of our community.
Jeana Smyth April 11, 2013 at 09:43 PM
I grew up in Westchester, and I live here with my 90 year old grandmother. I am a mother of 3 grown daughters. My oldest earned her masters degree in business, and my younger 2 are still in college, one studying to be a drug abuse counselor, the other a special ed major,. Over the years I've worked a variety of jobs; waitress, and deli work, to direct care, in a parochial school, as a home health aid, for a cleaning service, just to name a few. When in my 40's, I went back to college and earned my associates degree. I am working towards my bachelors degree. It is because of methadone maintenance that I was able to lead a productive and worthwhile life in spite of my addiction. If not for the clinic, I doubt I would have survived this long. During those years I needed the clinic and I am grateful it was there. When I felt ready to detox, I was successful with the help of the staff. I remained clean for many years after that,. A couple of years ago, I was hospitalized with a serious and painful neurological disease. I was put on heavy duty pain meds, and I ended up getting addicted to them. Thankfully, the clinic was there and I was able to get back into treatment before the problem got too far of hand. If not for them I'm not sure what would have happened to me. I am not some kind of monster. I am not undesirable or a threat to your way of life. If you met me, you wouldn't be able to tell that I am on methadone. I am your neighbor. I live, work, and shop here.
Jeana Smyth April 11, 2013 at 09:55 PM
On another, related note, some of you seem to think that addicts in treatment are so dangerous that you cannot tolorate them in your neighboorhood, but that shows a lack of understanding about the disease of addiction. Its those who aren't in treatment you should worry about. If you take the treatment away because you don't want it in "your back yard" do you think the addicts will just disappear too? News flash...they will still be here, They LIVE here. Their families live here. Addiction is a disease and some of the members of your community suffer from it. Take away the clinics and the rehabs and some of them will relapse and get desperate. There are already plenty of illegal drugs in Peekskill in case you didn't notice....but they are expensive and where do you think a desperate addict will get the money to pay for their, especially if they are too sick to work for it? Where can they turn if you take away all hope? Wouldnt you rather have addicts who are in treatment and being (or working towards being) productive, contributing members of your community?
Wendy Kelly April 11, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Jeana Smyth I applaud you for your success story and let me tell you about a few of our members of Positive Directions for Peekskill stories. Many businesses wrote excellent letters of their concerns to City Hall about placing a Meth Clinic within a business area/neighborhood and how that would negatively affect multi-generational businesses. When are we going to get an applaud? Nutley Plumbing and Heating ventured into the NYS area and chose Peekskill for their first NY location, Susan's father founded the company in the early 1920's she has a son who works in the business makes it a third generation. Evan second generation entrepreneur at Cortlannt Colonial Restaurant 42 years with his Dad. Mom and sister hosts many weddings and community events.
Wendy Kelly April 11, 2013 at 10:20 PM
He most recently offered 12 families of Hudson View a "free" dinner Easter Sunday. Northbrook key concern is the safety of his employees as they come in the wee hours and traffic issues in a very high volume area with no traiffic lights. Sure you are aware of the patient in Ellenville clinic Google link patient killed a security guard and stabbed almost to death a nurse. Now you tell me is this a type of treatment facility that should be outside a controlled medical facility? Better protest to John Federspiel before you jump down the throats of these law abiding, tax paying citizen that are productive businesses trying very hard to survive in tough economic times. Time everyone look at our perspective I have commuted 32 years on MNRR to NYC to have the choice to live in Westchester County now tell me don't I have rights as a tax paying citizen?
Jeana Smyth April 11, 2013 at 10:32 PM
I am very disappointed in Mr Federspiel, because our community has a need for this clinic, and a hospital would be my first choice to meet this need, which I consider to be medical in nature. Thank you for pointing that out. I totally let him off the hook! If he really cared about our community he would let the clinic remain there, or sell that trailer to Renissance and let them run the clinic out of it. The reason he is washing his hands of us is probably about money. Money is more important to him than the needs of his community.
Jeana Smyth April 11, 2013 at 10:49 PM
P.S I didnt mean to "jump down the throats" of my fellow, law abiding, tax paying citizens. they certainly have a right to their opinions just like I do. But remember that the addicts on the clinic are also citizens with rights. We live here too. We have family here too. Some of us even have businesses here. And own homes. Yes, we are human. My mother went door to door to collect money for the Peekskill Hospital when she was a little girl. So I am from Westchester, and you worked very hard to move here. Sounds as though we both have the right to be here. But when you moved here, did you imagine Westchester to be some sort of addict free zone, some sort of paradise where only sicknesses you consider to be morally acceptable are allowed to exist? They have drug treatment centers in the Hamptons too, you know. As far as what happened upstate with that man killing a security guard, no I hadnt heard about it. How terrible! I dont know enough about the case to really comment on it. Did he kill that man because he was an addict? Do you suppose all addicts have the potential of being criminally insane? I kind of doubt it. The people I see going to the clinic seem pretty harmless to me. I would be more afraid of some of the folks posting against them. So much rage! Why?
Jeana Smyth April 11, 2013 at 10:55 PM
PSS.....Wendy, in spite of what I just posted, I agree with you that the hospital is a more appropriete place for the clinic, but we need to go somewhere! Nobody wants us, everyone thinks we are bad, terrible people, and none of this is our doing. We are caught in the middle of it just like you are!
Wendy Kelly April 12, 2013 at 04:48 PM
Jeana you can the rest of the patients at The Renaissance project better make an appt with John Federspiel he is raising tons of money for other services at the hospital why not your group? Read the paper all over it. Below is the mission statemment for HVHC. Mission Statement Hudson Valley Hospital Center is dedicated to serving the health care needs of the community and to providing quality, comprehensive medical care in a compassionate, professional, respectful manner, without regard to race, religion, national origin or disease category. Offering state-of-the-art diagnostic treatment, education and preventive services, the Hospital is committed to improving the quality of life in the community. In fulfilling this mission, the Hospital will strive to continuously improve the care provided and develop and offer programs, facilities, systems and alliances that most effectively respond to community health care needs.
Jeana Smyth April 12, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Wow! I guess the mission statement doesnt apply to us. Do you know my mother, as a little girl, went door to door to raise money to build that hospital? (the original, Peekskill Hospital) and now they are turning their back on me? I dont know about the Renaissance Project, (I am not a member) and I doubt he would give me an appointment to actually speak with him. I will certainly write to Mr Federspeil. Thank you for the information
Wendy Kelly April 12, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Jeana The Renaissance Project currently runs the management of the Meth Clinic at HVHC. Do you see I take the time to respond to your comments and John Federspiel won't give you the time of day or allow the trailers to remain at HVHC. Now you tell me who is being bias HVHC or Peekskill residents? Time you and all the other meth patients get out and picket the hospital for not abiding to their mission statement and boycott their service and take a stand. It is obvious none of you really care enough to take action. You all can blog great stories of the success of Meth treatment but are just crying us all a river of trying for our sympathy. Get out and do something about it.
Mary Jane April 12, 2013 at 07:49 PM
Wendy, get off that self-righteous high horse of yours. You ain't no saint.
Jeana Smyth April 12, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Wendy, I believe you are mistaken. The Renaissance Project does NOT run the Peekskill MMTP, they were, however, going to be taking it over in the new building, but retaining much if not all of the current staff. They own the new building. I think the hospital should sell them the trailer where the clinic is now, and let them continue to run it from there. Just a thought...That would solve everyones problems, including Mr Federspeils, because Ren Project, being a private organization, can bill differently than the MMPT can and can bring in more money.
Jeana Smyth April 12, 2013 at 08:07 PM
"You all can blog great stories of the success of Meth treatment but are just crying us all a river of trying for our sympathy." I dont want or need your sympathy. I deserve your respect. I would like to enlighten you to how things seem from my perspective. I dont think I am asking you to cry me a river of tears, or saying poor poor me, I am saying how thankful I am that places like the clinic exist to help people with my problem. "Get out and do something" Good idea. I most definitely will. I will also speak to other people who feel the way I feel and see what they think. Thank you for lighting a fire under my ass. I believe the clinic is a good thing. I dont think its a threat to you or your way of life, rather, I think its helpful to our community as a whole. I dont know if picketing will help, but if other people decide to do it, I might join them. Of course, I will be "outing" myself as an addict, but maybe I have to risk it to stand up for what I believe in. I will continue to write and speak about it to whoever will listen to me, and maybe I will attend those meetings where the decisions are being made. I have a right to be there, dont I? I pay taxes, I vote, I have a voice, and I intend to use it.
Wendy Kelly April 14, 2013 at 01:16 PM
http://www.lohud.com/article/20130414/NEWS/304140064/Life-heroin-Croton-woman-feels-trapped-fellow-users-die?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage Read this and would like your comments.
Jeana Smyth April 14, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Peter, I cant help but wonder if you are insecure regarding your own intelligence/education. Otherwise, why do you feel the need to point out "babygirl's" spelling and grammar? Perhaps you arent intelligent enough to understand the content of her posts, or focus on the jist of what she is trying to say? Usually when people need to make themselves feel better at the expense of another person, it is because of their own inadequacies. I dont know you, so I dont know if that is true...but it might be.
Jeana Smyth April 14, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Babygirl, I agree with what you are saying but I think you would make more of an impact if you left out the curse words. I hear that you are angry, but when you lose your temper, you are giving people ammunition to use against you. It gives them the chance to say "See? those methadone patients are no good!" Try to listen to their side also. They have fears, some of them are based in reality, although I think many, maybe even most are not. I dont see the clinic as a threat to anyones way of life. I think the clinic is a good thing and a helpful thing. It saved my life. But shouting, cursing, name calling (that both sides are guilty of!) isnt going to solve the problem. Its too bad we couldnt all get together with a mediator and discuss this problem further. We are all part of a community. We have to live and work together. Lets all respect one another!
Jeana Smyth April 14, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Bad choices lead to a lot of health problems. Why is addiction so unacceptable? I dont hear anyone saying "The choice to smoke cigarettes leads to lung cancer. Should we ban all lung cancer patients from Peekskill? How about those darn diabetics, with their soda pop and sugar cereals.. its their own choices that caused them to be sick, at least, most type 2's so why should we keep shelling out insulin for them? Or those folks with high blood pressure who are on meds for over ten years. I say the medication isnt working because you are still on it! Lose weight, change your diet! Sink or swim!" Im sure we can think of many other examples.Mr. Federspiel is correct in saying there is a bias towards addiction in Peekskill. However, he is not off the hook, I think he should allow the clinic to remain where it is until they find another location. If he really cared about his community, that is what he would do. Obviously making money is his main priority. The way I see things, we need the clinic. Now....what are we going to do about it? There must be a solution other than shutting down the existing one and not allowing a new one to open. Isnt there any solution that would help people who suffer from addiction and make everyone happy?
Jeana Smyth April 14, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Wendy, many of the patients on the methadone clinic are also hard working tax paying home and business owners, Addiction is a disease that even happens to "nice people" It affects all walks of life.
Jeana Smyth April 14, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Its terribly sad. This is why we need methadone clinics,.to help people like her. (if they want help. It doesnt sound as though she has hit bottom yet.)
Concerned Parent April 14, 2013 at 04:17 PM
@ Jeana Smyth you are very brave person to come forward....thank you for all the comments. I read the article Wendy made reference to early this morning. It is so sad...and she probably has not hit bottom yet. I also believe her family is enabling the young lady. I know personally until I kicked my son (my only child) out of the house, he knew then the "party was over". There is a saying that a parent "can love a child to death". I learned what that meant by attending meetings,etc. As a parent I want to jump in and help so much but I cannot do the leg work only the patients/addicts can (they need to do it for themselves). However, we know the stigma that comes along with identifying yourself in society as an addict. I don't understand how the Board and the CEO of HVHC can move forward with the closure in view of the recent news articles about heroin use in Dutchess, Putnam, Orange and Westchester counties. It is so sad. Does anyone remember when the clinic used to be in the heart of the city ??? Imagine that !
Jeana Smyth April 14, 2013 at 05:32 PM
I know...the part where she said "I can stay here all day and watch TV and get high" or something to that effect, really stood out to me. The only way she is going to hit bottom is if her father stops enabling her. How can she go to the ATM and take out $100 dollars for dope when she doesnt even have a job? He really needs to set clear boundaries with her. Like...you have two weeks to be in treatment or you have to get out. She might die out there, but she will definitely die if he allows her to remain there and continue using drugs. Yes, years ago I remember the clinic being in the heart of Peekskill....but I wasnt on it yet. When I got on, the clinic had just moved to the hospital.
Jeana Smyth April 14, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Didnt I just hear something on the news about some celebrity going to a rehab in the Hamptons? Years ago, Renaissance Project had a storefront in Yorktown Heights, in the old high school where the museum and senior center is now. I think the reason they want to open it in Peekskill might also have to do with the fact that there is a need for one in Peekskill, Or, perhaps they cannot afford a building in Yorktown Heights or Scarsdale right now, although I am sure both towns have plenty of addicts, Just a thought......(One more thing, we are NOT undesirable!)
Wendy Kelly April 14, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Thanks Jeana for this previous post much needed. Babygirl, I agree with what you are saying but I think you would make more of an impact if you left out the curse words. I hear that you are angry, but when you lose your temper, you are giving people ammunition to use against you. It gives them the chance to say "See? those methadone patients are no good!" Try to listen to their side also. They have fears, some of them are based in reality, although I think many, maybe even most are not. I dont see the clinic as a threat to anyones way of life. I think the clinic is a good thing and a helpful thing. It saved my life. But shouting, cursing, name calling (that both sides are guilty of!) isnt going to solve the problem. Its too bad we couldnt all get together with a mediator and discuss this problem further. We are all part of a community. We have to live and work together. Lets all respect one another! I was addicted to nicotine and until I realized my health was at risk I probably would have kept smoking. I stopped cold turkey when I was in my early 20's never picked up another and care never to.
Wendy Kelly April 15, 2013 at 12:45 PM
http://www.lohud.com/article/20130414/NEWS/304140083/Cops-2-women-survive-suspected-heroin-overdose-Croton-Hudson Croton Monday's Journal News.
Wendy Kelly April 16, 2013 at 12:15 PM
http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013304150116 http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013304150107 I have been told by experts only 1 out of 10 substance abusers come clean having stayed at a drug rehab center.


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