NuWay, Twin Cities addiction recovery agency, opens facility in Duluth
The new office is on a mainline bus route in West Duluth.
A long-established addiction recovery service in the Twin Cities has expanded outside of the metro this year, first to Rochester and now in Duluth.
NuWay , which opened in the Twin Cities in 1966, now has an addiction treatment center at 46th and Grand avenues in West Duluth.
“I believe that they were able to see that Duluth is just so in need of additional services,” said Angela Gilbertson, program manager in Duluth.
A small-town Wisconsin native, Gilbertson graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth and most recently served as clinical supervisor for the residential houses — Marty Mann and Howard Friese — of the Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment.
Her former boss, Gary Olson, retired director of CADT, said NuWay has a good reputation, but he offered a note of caution.
“The problem is in a community like this, the pie is not very big,” Olson said. “And … the operating margins for our programs have disappeared completely because of no rate increases — effectively no rate increases — for almost 11 years.”
If a program isn’t averaging up to eight people per group, “you just can’t make it,” he said.
By that measure, NuWay seems to be off to a good start in Duluth. It welcomed its first client in mid-October and now has 14 clients in an “intensive outpatient group” led by Gilbertson. They meet in four-hour sessions each weekday, and each client receives at least one one-on-one session per week as well, she said. At the close of their group sessions, they’re provided with a light, nutritional lunch. If they need help with transportation, they’re given bus passes.
The fact that it’s on a mainline bus route was a selling point for the West Duluth location, Gilbertson said.
Clients also are provided up to $550 of their program fee to live at a recovery residence — a supportive lodging where residents are expected to abstain from alcohol and illegal drug use. Such places have a house manager and guidelines to follow, Gilbertson said.
A healthy place to live is a critical part of recovery, said Ken Roberts, chief clinical officer of NuWay. More than 90% of NuWay clients have come out of “high-acuity” settings, such as a hospital, and still need help reintegrating into society.
“You’re with me for four hours a day, and we’re working on your individualized goal, but those other 20 hours are really the time that’s the most critical in our minds,” Roberts said.
One of Gilbertson’s goals is to encourage the establishment of more such residences in Duluth, she said.
“A lot of what I was seeing when I worked in a residential setting was maybe they were going back to living on a friend’s couch or maybe with a cousin or an aunt, or even a board-and-lodging,” she said. “And sometimes those options may not be the best for the client or the healthiest for the client.”
The cost of NuWay treatment is about $100 per day, Roberts said. For the vast majority of clients, coverage is provided either through the state’s prepaid medical plan or through a federal block grant dispersed by the county known as the consolidated treatment fund. In a small number of cases, the cost is covered through a client’s private health insurance. If all else fails, NuWay, a not-for-profit institution, can offer charity care.
NuWay achieves a 55-60% successful completion rate for its clients, Roberts said. He acknowledged that there are no standardized ways to measure success in the addiction-treatment field. However, six months ago, the agency cooperated with the University of Minnesota to launch a study seeking to measure outcomes following treatment.
NuWay has grown from serving 70-80 clients when he joined the nonprofit nearly seven years ago, Roberts said, to serving more than 900 today. Gilbertson expects growth in Duluth. Another counselor is starting next week, meaning another group of clients could be added. She’s already interviewing people for yet another position.
“We do our best to just get them in right away,” Gilbertson said of clients. “So when people call to say, ‘Do you have a waitlist?’ I say, ‘No. Come on in.’”
To learn more
Call NuWay in Duluth at 218-207-2130.
Address: 4615 Grand Ave. W., Suite 300, Duluth