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Groundbreaking kicks off $30M expansion and renovation at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage

The Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage is getting ready for its largest expansion since opening in 1982. Board members grabbed shovels Tuesday morning as they broke ground on their new vision for the center.  

This renovation will pave the way for those seeking recovery. 

“Develop this land with a new entrance that leads right to our admissions center with a very serene and pastoral setting when people enter the campus the recovery begins from the moment they drive up on the campus," said Dr. Christopher Yadron, administrator for the Betty Ford Center.

Currently, the center has limited residential beds to treat patients from addiction and mental health. 

It will be completed in phases over four years. For a closer look to how its going to look like, click here.   

“We’re going to put up a new day treatment Pavilion here and what that represents is outpatient care," said Yadron. "There will be 44 beds for patients to stay in safe and sober housing and then also engage in treatment in group therapy, lectures support, a supportive community to be part of.” 

They want to help more people who are suffering from abuse disorders get better. 

“Its not just residential care," said Joseph Lee, President and CEO of the Betty Ford Center. "Its day treatment, its offices doing more virtual care more family support services so its just one piece of that flexibility we want.” 

This expansion will continue the legacy of founder and  former first lady, Betty Ford. 

“Mother left us almost 10 years ago and she started this as a young sober women with Leonard Firestone," said Susan Ford Bales, daughter of Betty Ford. "Its amazing what it has turned into.” 

Bales said her mother would be proud. 

“Look at what we have done and look at the changes that have been made in the stigma," said Bales. "We still got a longs way to go.” 

Over the four decades the center has helped thousands of patients recover including Mary Patwoodard, who is forever grateful. 

“I think alot of alcoholics and as for me as a woman there were alot of why’s," said Patwoodard, "There was alot of information and answers that were given to me.” 

"The four-year, $30 million project—to include construction of three new buildings and updates to the grounds—will transform the campus of the treatment center founded by former First Lady Betty Ford and former U.S. Ambassador Leonard Firestone in 1982, enabling it to meet increasing demand for services, respond to evolving needs and help more people," according to a release explaining the project.

"We have been honored to provide healing and hope to thousands of individuals and families at the Betty Ford Center, and with the continued generosity of grateful alumni and other donors, will build upon Mrs. Ford's legacy by transforming the campus and expanding access to quality care," said Mark G. Mishek, president and CEO of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. "The impact of substance use and mental health disorders is growing due to a number of factors including the tremendous stress and strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid record-high overdoses, and the daily pain experienced by millions of families struggling through the chaos of addiction, it is imperative that we build capacity to help more people; create more flexible ways to engage with services; provide healing spaces that reflect the dignity and respect all health care patients deserve; and amplify the attractive, stigma-busting reality that treatment is effective and recovery works."

Mishek is retiring this summer and will be handing the torch to incoming President and CEO Joseph Lee, MD. Lee is among those at the groundbreaking event Tuesday, along with Susan Ford Bales, Hazelden Betty Ford Trustee and daughter of President and Mrs. Ford.

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Dani Romero


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