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Oceanport Officials Say They Had No Knowledge of New Mental Health Services Clinic at Fort Monmouth

OCEANPORT: The borough is looking to take legal action against a developer for allowing a medical practice which offers mental health service to operate on its premises at Fort Monmouth without sharing that information with local officials.

Unity Place of Monmouth County is a primary behavioral health partial care day program that is able to address dual diagnosis that has opened a new facility at AcuteCare.

AcuteCare Management Services, LLC, bought the former Patterson Army Health Clinic at Fort Monmouth in 2014 for $2.73 million and has invested about $5 million to renovate the property. The clinic is located on Main Street in the Oceanport Reuse Area of the Main Post and served as an outpatient hospital and dental clinic at the time of the fort's closure.

Oceanport Councilwoman Ellynn Kahle said AcuteCare came before borough officials and said they would be operating a PACE program. PACE is a Medicare and Medicaid program that provides elderly citizens the option to meet their health care needs in their community instead of going to a nursing home or other care facility.

Borough Administrator John Bennett said there were three phases of development planned for the AcuteCare building.

"There's the PACE program, which I call daycare for seniors, the second phase was 17,000 square feet for medical suites and medical training and the third component that was to be determined was for residential," Bennett said. "That's what was in the MOU (memorandum of understanding)."

Bennett said nobody knew that Unity Place would be a tenant of AcuteCare. He said he was first made aware of it when Oceanport Police Chief Daniel Barcus told him there was a fight there and was seeking more information about the facility.

Mayor Michael Mahon said he and members of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority were not aware of Unity Place setting up shop at AcuteCare.

"FMERA and AcuteCare closed on the sale of the 16-acre former Patterson Army Health Clinic parcel in Oceanport in March 2014," said Rachel Goemaat, spokesperson for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which oversees FMERA. "Therefore, FMERA is no longer involved in any business decisions related to AcuteCare's ownership of the property."

A message on Unity Place's Facebook page said that the group finished moving in to the AcuteCare building on July 7. The facility was previously located on Heck Avenue in Neptune

The Oceanport Council was scheduled to discuss "potential litigation" concerning AcuteCare Health Systems during executive session of its Aug. 6 meeting.

"I don't want to get too far down the road on this because the borough has advised that action be taken and since we are taking that action, what I can tell you is that...there was no affirmative action provided to the borough concerning the mental health facility or the services that Unity Place was providing," Borough Attorney Scott Arnette said.


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