History of Kolmac

The history of Kolmac outpatient recovery

The history of Kolmac starts with Dr. George Kolodner’s assignment to Bethesda Naval Hospital as a young Navy doctor. There he saw patients with alcohol addiction recover in the hospital’s inpatient treatment program. After leaving the Navy in 1973, Dr. Kolodner decided to develop a treatment model that would replicate the clinical success he had observed at Bethesda, but on an outpatient rather than an inpatient basis.

Teaming up to design an effective program

Dr. Kolodern teamed up with Jim McMahon, the recently retired deputy director of the Navy’s alcohol treatment program at Bethesda. Together, the two designed and implemented the program that eventually became Kolmac.

Initially, many in the field were skeptical of the program, because outpatient programs in the past were rarely successful. The problem with those programs was that patients were only seen for an hour or two each week, which is not enough time to provide the necessary structure and intensity needed for successful treatment. From the start, Kolmac has been focused on creating a focused, intensive non-residential therapeutic environment that would allow patients to continue living their lives while still receiving effective treatment.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Dr. Kolodner and Mr. McMahon developed a daily three-hour rehabilitation program—a level of care that had not previously existed. This became known as “intensive outpatient” treatment, or IOP. The goal from the beginning was to treat people who had busy schedules by giving them treatment options that fit into their workday.


The Kolmac program quickly expanded to include detoxification for patients with physical addictions. While this had previously required in-patient treatment or a hospital stay, Kolmac was able to implement modern techniques that allowed patients to participate in detox and IOP rehab simultaneously. This avoided the common “revolving door” scenario of repeated detoxification and allowed patients to progress to recover more quickly.


As the program grew, Kolmac focused on further reducing the practical barriers to entering treatment by working with insurance companies to provide financial coverage for the program.

Treatment for A Variety of Addictions

In 1984, Kolmac expanded to people who were addicted to substances other than alcohol, and  began to establish additional offices. Today we treat patients in five states who seek treatment for alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions.

Kolmac History Timeline

2016 Name is changed from Kolmac Clinic to Kolmac Outpatient Recovery Centers
2014 Treatment for gambling disorders begins
2013 20,000 patients treated
2012 Kolmac Baltimore office merges with Crossroads Centers.
2011 Sixth location opens in downtown Baltimore, Maryland.
2009 Kolmac named the area’s Best Substance Abuse Treatment program in a Washingtonian Magazine poll of 1,500 mental health professionals. 2009 was the only year in which this category was included.
2008 Kolmac purchases Partners in Recovery program and opens fifth location in Towson, MD on the campus of and in collaboration with Sheppard Pratt Hospital.
2007 The Kolmac Foundation is formed. The Foundation is a non-profit organization set-up to provide financial support to those who are unable to afford the full cost of addiction treatment.
  • Dr. George Kolodner receives the Outstanding Physician Award for Excellence in Addictions Treatment from the Maryland Chapter of the National Council l on Alcohol and Drug Dependence.
  • Dr. George Kolodner receives the Community Service Award from the Vanguard Foundation for outstanding service to the community for helping people in need to receive addictions treatment.
2003 Buprenorphine is used for the treatment of patients with opioid use disorders, improving our success rate for this population
1996 5,000 patients treated since program inception
1989 2,000 patients treated since program inception
1988 Third location opens in Gaithersburg, Maryland
1985 Program begins treating patients with opioid use disorders and using naltrexone
  • Program begins treating patients with cocaine dependence
  • Kolmac begins teaching affiliation with Georgetown University School of Medicine.
  • Second location opens in downtown business district of Washington, D.C.
  • First 1,000 patients treated
1975 The clinical results of the program are presented at the annual meetings of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the National Council on Alcoholism.
1973 Kolmac program, co-founded by Dr. George Kolodner and Jim McMahon, for the treatment of alcohol problems, opens in Silver Spring, Maryland. It was the first intensive outpatient (IOP) addiction rehabilitation program in the country – all other treatment at the time was being delivered in a residential or partial-hospitalization setting.