Regarding the article “Hospital care questioned,” I am one of the former employees of the Southeast Louisiana Hospital in Mandeville. Six years ago the former CEO asked me to come to work there to develop substance abuse/co-occuring disorder services for the clients. I have 25-plus years as a licensed addictions counselor and am a certified co-occurring disorder counselor. Three years ago, the former CEO brought on board a licensed professional counselor with nearly 10 years experience in addictions to help me. This has been a valuable service to clients and staff alike, and together we provided nearly 900 services a month, including approximately 40 assessments a month, group therapy five days a week, consultations with other members of the treatment team, assistance with placement after discharge and even in-services with Tulane residents and interns on understanding addiction. The idea that the hospital will provide addiction services “another way” is absurd! There is no other way except to treat addiction/co-occurring disorder as a primary disorder. I fear the direction this hospital is taking is a major step backwards. This means the addiction/co-occurring disorder clients will not get the proper help they need.

John Mehlhorn


Abita Springs