Since the Mille Lacs Band took over operations of Four Winds Lodge from the State of Minnesota last year, the treatment facility has reopened, the program has been updated, and Band members have been hired in critical roles, including Treatment Director Nicole Anderson, Cultural Advisor Bobby Eagle, and Counselor Chandell Boyd.
Four Winds welcomed its first client in July 2017 and quickly reached capacity at 16 beds.
“We did not take over a ready-to-go program,” said Nicole. “There were many changes that needed to take place in order for us to take clients. Policies and procedures needed to be created, an electronic health record needed to be adopted and operating, and we needed to hire many staff. Now that we are working out some of those kinks, we are planning to work toward our 24-bed capacity, but in order to do that we need to keep developing and growing staff capacity. None of the staff have worked for a facility that takes so many clients at one time. We need to grow in a way that is appropriate for staff and is mindful of client safety and client care needs.”
Admission to the facility begins with a Rule 25 assessment, which provides important information to help determine if Four Winds can meet the unique needs of the individual.
Four Winds works closely with assessors, case managers, probation, and self-referred clients to accommodate the needs of those wanting to enter into the program.
“We work hard to get potential clients in as promptly as possible," Nicole said. "There are a variety of circumstances that can play into the length of time it takes for someone to be admitted into the program.”
Currently, Four Winds can only work with clients who have Medical Assistance, are covered under the State of Minnesota’s Consolidated Chemical Dependency Treatment Fund, or have a Minnesota Prepaid Medical Assistance program.
“We are working to get credentialed to be providers with other insurance companies, so that in the future, we can take more Mille Lacs Band members who have private insurance,” said Nicole.
New clients are introduced to a structured, culturally based program that includes groups, physical activity, individual counseling, sweat lodges, feasts, and outings.
“With the recent addition of our Cultural Advisor, Bobby Eagle, we are seeing some really great things,” said Nicole. “Bob and counseling staff have come up with a lot of good ideas about how to build additional cultural components of the program. We look forward to offering beginning Ojibwe language and activities such as cedar picking, collecting maple syrup, and ricing. Last week Bobby and Chandell Boyd brought a group of people out to pick cedar, and it went over really well!”
Four Winds currently employs 24 full- and part-time staff including LPNs, counselor aides, an RN supervisor, an alcohol and drug program clinical supervisor, a treatment director, a mental health therapist, a cultural advisor, an admissions/financial clerk, an administrative assistant, and a nurse practitioner.
“We are really excited about the continued program building at Four Winds,” said Nicole. “There is a really fantastic group of caring people at the facility who work hard every day to provide the best services possible to our clients.”