A very good place. Everyone listened and understood what you were going through.

About Us > History

Aldie Counseling Center—
A history of providing treatment and services for those adversely affected by substance abuse.

In 1960, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia inherited the Aldie Mansion in Doylestown from Martha Mercer, and began an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment facility in the mansion. Aldie Counseling Center was incorporated on July 1, 1977, with the purpose of providing treatment and services for those whose lives were adversely affected by substance abuse. A Board of Directors, composed of local business people and community members, oversees the operations and financial planning of the agency. Aldie is currently the largest outpatient drug and alcohol treatment agency in Bucks County. Until March 2012, the main office was located just a block north of the county courthouse in Doylestown. Aldie’s central Bucks office is currently located on Pine Run Road in Doylestown Township, and continues to be in proximity to many social service centers, including Doylestown Hospital, Lenape Valley Foundation, the Bucks County Correctional Facility, Children and Youth Services, the Bucks County Housing Group, and A Woman’s Place.

From 1980 through 1985, under Executive Director Elizabeth Serkin, Aldie grew as a community clinic, specializing in treatment for addictions. The agency built a reputation for high quality service and a staff with strong diversity of educational background, experience, training, and approaches to chemical dependency treatment. This diversity has served to strengthen Aldie’s commitment to helping people of all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds whose lives have been affected by alcohol and other drugs. When Ms. Serkin left in 1985, the agency suffered a leadership crisis, and the Board focused intent on clarifying the agency’s purpose and developing effective administrative management.

Selected by the Board of Directors in August, 1986, Executive Director Michael Ratajczak, initiated staff changes and built a new clinical team, developed new financial planning and budgets, expanded offices and programs, and led Aldie to firm financial footing. An organizational structure that insures a coordinated team approach to client care has been developed, with flexibility to work within the ever-changing healthcare system.

Management that is focused on (1) keeping pace with changing needs of the community, (2) the expanding population in Bucks County, and (3) the metamorphosis of the health insurance industry has enabled Aldie to continue to provide quality clinical services to persons affected by alcohol and other drug abuse.

Aldie’s service menu for adults, adolescents, and families includes assessment, traditional counseling therapy, a partial hospital program, an intensive treatment tract, pharmacotherapy, and group therapy. Assessors are trained to evaluate the level of treatment required to meet the level of severity of clients’ conditions. The least restrictive level of treatment that will meet a client’s needs is recommended A series of recovery groups (from Understanding Addiction to Relapse Prevention), long recognized as an important part of recovery from substance abuse, are utilized as a cost-effective treatment modality. Aldie’s Evening Recovery Program offers outpatient treatment that is clinically equivalent to inpatient rehabilitation.

Aldie also provides Mobile Engagement Services to reach out to people who require home visits or case management that will enable them to engage in treatment for their alcohol/ drug problems. Aldie has developed a Quality Assurance / Utilization Review system to interface more effectively with managed healthcare, and licensing and credentialing entities. Aldie works collaboratively with other agencies, schools, and hospitals. Prevention and intervention programs are presented in local schools. Assessments can be done on site in local hospitals when it is advisable to create a seamless admission into outpatient or partial hospital chemical dependency treatment as soon as the client is discharged from the hospital. The Peer Program, begun in 2007, utilizes people “who have been there,” provides clients with adjunctive support on site that can be integrated with the professional counseling services of Aldie’s treatment team”.

In July, 1990, Aldie purchased the building in which they had had offices for ten years, insuring against possible rent increases as the area grew and real estate in the center of Doylestown became more valuable. In 1997, the house located at 236 North Main Street, adjacent to Aldie’s offices, became available, and Aldie purchased this property as a recovery house for men in need of a stable, sober living environment. Chemical dependency treatment professionals have long recognized that returning to a home, which fostered alcohol, and/or drug use was a prime reason for relapse in recovering individuals. Men live in Aldie’s recovery houses for no longer than a year, and are required to obtain employment, attend support group meetings, attend therapy at Aldie as needed, remain sober, and pay board according to their ability. Client board payments and BCDAC support cover most expenses, and grants (including Community Development Block Grants) are used for maintenance and repairs. Because of the project’s success, in 1999 Aldie purchased the twin house at 238 North Main Street. These houses always have a full census of 16 men, with a waiting list.

The growth of heroin use in the suburbs caused Aldie to alter a 20-year drug-free philosophy so that methadone could be offered to clients unable to stop heroin use any other way. The Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission determined that the problem was great enough in our community to warrant changing their drug-free policy of treatment. They chose Aldie to begin a pilot program of methadone detox and maintenance in Bucks County in January 1998. Aldie utilizes a specific model of methadone treatment and other pharmaco-therapeutic approaches that provide medication as one tool within a multi-modality setting of comprehensive substance abuse and addiction treatment.

Aldie’s Pharmacotherapy Program has continued to receive full three-year accreditations by CARFan indication of your organization’s dedication and commitment to improving the quality of the lives of the people receiving services. Services, personnel, and documentation clearly indicate that present conditions show an established pattern of total operation.

Increasingly in recent years, Aldie has found that many clients presented with both substance abuse and mental health problems, and there has been a need to provide additional psychiatric evaluation and follow-up time for clients at Aldie. For many years, Aldie has worked collaboratively with both Lenape Valley Foundation and Penndel Mental Health Services to coordinate treatment for clients who have co-occurring disorders. Aldie provides chemical dependency assessment and group therapy on-site at Lenape Valley. The Langhorne office coordinates treatment as necessary with Lower Bucks Hospital and Penndel Mental Health Center. Aldie was certified in 2008 by the Pennsylvania Department of Health as a “Co-Occurring Competent” agency.

In the spring of 2003, the Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission requested that Aldie consider assuming the responsibility of providing drug and alcohol treatment in lower Bucks County. After careful consideration, the Board of Directors agreed to invest in the development of a second Aldie office, that would replicate the commitment, the caring, successful treatment environment, and the administrative skill and experience provided by Aldie in Doylestown for the last 25 years, and an office was opened in Bristol in September 2003. There has been a great demand for services in lower Bucks County (which has a more dense population than upper and central Bucks). Aldie moved from Bristol to a larger office site in Bensalem in April 2006, and the demand for services in this area has not slowed. Assessments at the lower Bucks County office revealed an increasing need for opiate replacement therapy to provide an option to the cycle of detox/discharge/relapse that is evident with heroin users in the community. The Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission expressed an interest in having Aldie expand methadone service to a site in lower Bucks County, but it was March 2007 before Aldie was able to open a pharmacotherapy program in Bensalem. By early 2009, Aldie began to investigate the purchase of property in lower Bucks County because the Bensalem rented offices were no longer large enough to meet the community demands for service. Real estate restrictions for locating a methadone treatment site created a challenge. An agreement of sale was signed in March 2009 for a large office building at 2291 Cabot Boulevard West, Langhorne. Formerly an insurance claims office, large scale renovations made it an ideal building for the many programs Aldie provides for the community.

Adding an office in lower Bucks County almost doubled the size of the agency in staff and services. Aldie employs two program coordinators at each site. Aldie’s Director of Operations also serves as director of the Langhorne site and as Quality Assurance Coordinator to monitor programs, licensing and funding requirements and to assure that Aldie’ services and policies continue to meet the highest standards for optimum client care. Aldie has continued to focus on staff training, and to increase utilization of computer programs to collect and store information, generate billings and status reports, more efficiently create treatment plans, bio-psychosocial assessments, discharge summaries, etc. The “team approach” to treatment continued, with team meetings providing the forum for communication. The number of requests for service at the southern Bucks office resulted in the development of an enhanced assessment system, requiring an assessment coordinator and a larger support staff to accommodate the demand. Aldie’s Langhorne office now offers an open access system whereby clients can come in for assessments without an appointment.

In FY 2008/2009, public funding became more and more problematic, with the PA government mired in budget delays.This situation has not improved over the past several years. Both government and managed care entities instituted more stringent funding application processes, and clients had to prove they were not eligible for Medical Assistance before they could access county funding. Dollars for inpatient treatment were severely limited, which resulted in outpatient providers (mainly Aldie in Bucks County) assuming greater responsibility for treating more clients with more severe conditions.

The close working relationship between the Bucks County criminal justice system and Aldie continues to address the drug and alcohol problems that are often a root cause of people caught in that system. Clients can begin treatment while on a work release program at the Bucks County prison, and continue when they are assigned to a probation officer. Aldie has worked closely for many years with the Bucks County Council, providing treatment for people involved with the Council’s DUI program. Aldie’s Recovery House provides a fresh start for many who have completed incarceration or inpatient hospitalization, and offers the advantage of having treatment available close to the residence. In 2010, Aldie became the “treatment component” of a collaborative effort among Bucks County Corrections, BC Probation & Parole, the BC Drug & Alcohol Commission, the recovery community, and Aldie to provide a re-entry plan for criminal offenders who have substance abuse histories and are being released from incarceration. The FREE program engages the offenders in the recovery process and motivates them to take control of their own rehabilitation by developing tools and resources that can sustain them in long-term recovery. Funded by a US Department of Justice grant, Bucks County established a “drug court” in October 2010, and Aldie was asked to collaborate as a treatment provider for drug court clients. Judge Susan Scott was quoted as explaining that the hope is that this program will keep people from re-offending and will help to alleviate prison over-crowding. Judge John Rufe said that they hope that people will not only get out of the criminal courts but will get out of their addiction.'

On March 2, 2012, the Aldie’s Board of Directors announced a change of leadership at Aldie, naming Sandra Cini as Interim Executive Director to replace Michael Ratajczak. Ms. Cini had served as Aldie’s Clinical Director since August 2011. Board President James Donahue said “The Board has embraced a strategy for significant expansion, and our objective is to leverage Aldie’s leadership and standing in the counseling and addiction treatment field to pursue opportunities for increasing services and support provided to those suffering from substance abuse and mental health problems. Aldie enjoys the benefits of having talented personnel with an impressive level of experience and training, and the Board is committed to a path of continued success through growth and development.” The Board began a recruitment process to select a new executive director and chose Gerald Birkelbach to serve as Aldie's Executive Director as of September 10, 2012.

Going forward, new programs will include tobacco cessation, additional medication-assisted therapies, and an evidence-based Matrix Program, recognized for its structured, outpatient treatments and research-supported elements. Aldie is continuing to meet the challenges of a growing Bucks County population and the need for treatment to help chemically dependent individuals find a way to healthier, more productive lives.


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