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program-director-brent-miller-speaks-out-defending-addiction-treatment-centers

Maine Helps Addiction Treatment Centers

January 12, 2017 – Recently, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services awarded funds to addiction treatment centers, including Discovery House of Calais and Acadia Hospital of Bangor. This is a triumph for Maine addiction treatment centers. They spent many years defending their very existence.

The Role of Addiction Treatment Centers

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Discovery House Program Director, Brent Miller speaking out in a 2013 Bangor City Council meeting.

Discovery House Program Director, Brent Miller frequently met with community members and state officials. The goal was to increase funding, decrease overdoses, and to correct the stigma associated with addiction and forms of treatment. After countless media interviews, town hall meetings and organization collaborations he brought Discovery House to the forefront of the fight. Brent became a voice for patients, families, and even competitor clinics that were facing the challenge of being defunded. As he told The Bangor Daily News, “I think people are starting to understand that opiate addiction treatment is really essential to solving the problem and getting a handle on the disease…”

Enough is Enough

Communities nationwide are reluctant when hearing of a methadone clinic opening in their town. The mantra, “not in my backyard” has become a common response. However, we know more about the nature of addiction now. Unfortunately, many have learned this through personal tragedy and loss. In 2012, the overdose count reached 163 people in the State of Maine. Enough was enough for Mainers when overdoses in 2016 exceeded 270. Treatment needed to be an effort supported by officials and members of the community alike.

Purpose of the Funds

DHHS funds awarded total $2.4 million. The sole purpose is to support medication-assisted treatment programs. This money will not increase the allowable patient count at these treatment programs. However, it will help to fund treatment for low-income and non-insured patients. This is great progress toward supporting those already in recovery, and an encouraging sign for those seeking recovery.

http://bangordailynews.com/2016/12/20/news/bangor/bangor-to-see-influx-of-funds-to-fight-drug-addiction/

http://bangordailynews.com/2016/07/16/news/bangor/officials-defend-mission-after-lepage-says-hes-trying-to-close-methadone-clinics/

https://bangordailynews.com/2016/12/12/news/bangor/bangor-council-rescinds-methadone-clinic-ordinance/?ref=topStories4Thumb

http://bangordailynews.com/2016/12/20/politics/lepage-plan-to-add-2-4-million-for-addiction-treatment-wins-praise/?ref=relatedSidebar

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SSTAR Opens Research Facility

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SSTAR CEO, Nancy Paull

SSTAR, a substance-abuse treatment organization, is formulating plans for an addiction treatment research facility in Fall River, MA. “It will be a small part of a full treatment center,” said CEO Nancy E. Paull. “I’m not building a methadone clinic. I’m building a research and treatment facility.” According to The Herald News, this facility will be complete with inpatient treatment, outpatient clinical services, and will perform research into programs and therapies. One possible location is the former home of Border City Mill No. 3 intersecting Weaver and West streets. This building was lost in a fire of February of this year.

Plans call for a research facility with 60 beds (30 of which are for individuals) in their detox program with 30 more servicing those in need of rehabilitation. Furthermore, this will be supplemented with an outpatient medication-assisted treatment program. “We’ll expand our treatment services,” Paull said. “It will allow us to expand our research. It will allow us to increase primary care.”

For 40 years, SSTAR has dedicated themselves to providing a range of mental health and substance abuse treatment services. Because of this, they recognize the extent of the opioid crisis and the tremendous need for their services in Fall River. Yet, they’re only capable of handling 20% of those in need of in-patient treatment. “There is a huge demand for services that we are not able to meet,” Paull said. No official sale was made, but a decision is expected within the next 30 to 60 days.

About SSTAR

Stanley Street Treatment and Resources (SSTAR) is a non-profit health care and social service agency. They serve Southeastern Massachusetts communities with a wide-range of mental health and substance abuse treatment services. SSTAR programs are licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Department of Mental Health Retardation.

Learn more

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Spectrum Health Care’s New EHR

Spectrum-Health-Care-Team-During-SMART-Training-copy SMART is honored to announce that Spectrum Health Care, Inc. has chosen the SMART Solution as their EHR of choice. Our EHR has been implemented in their clinic in Jersey City, NJ. Spectrum Health has been providing outpatient opioid treatment services to the people of Hudson County since 1984. SMART welcomes this CARF-Accredited opioid treatment provider to our family of software customers.

It was a joy meeting the clinic staff and to learning more about their individual needs and experiences. We worked side-by-side with them to configure the software to their needs. Then we establish system settings to support their workflow and increase efficiency in daily operations. With any implementation, there is a great deal of information to collect, transfer, and protect. And training on any new EHR involves a fair amount of one-on-one guidance. This ensures that the partner’s needs are thoroughly captured and that goals are clearly expressed. Both teams were pleased with the outcome and are excited for the future this new partnership.

Check out our training photos!

About Spectrum Health Care, Inc.

Spectrum Health CareSpectrum Health Care, Inc. is a private, non-profit, CARF accredited agency funded by the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Addiction Services. Located in Jersey City and serving residents of Hudson County, SHC provides a complete range of coordinated opioid treatment services in a professional and dynamic out-patient care setting. Learn more

Telemedicine and Hepatitis Treatment

Thinking Outside the Clinic – Telemedicine and Hepatitis Treatment

People affected by substance use disorder often suffer from other physical or mental illnesses. Those in addiction treatment already face the challenges of consistently making it to treatment and staying sober. Co-occurring disorders like heroin addiction and Hepatitis C generate many additional obstacles which can lead to patients putting treatment of select health related issues (like hep C) on the back burner. Although this virus may not present the same urgency as withdrawal, “70%–85% for people who become infected with Hepatitis C, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection.” ¹

Telemedicine and Hepatitis Treatment Some addiction treatment providers are taking an extra step to ensure that their patients healthcare needs are addressed using telemedicine. This is defined by SAMHSA as “…Two-way, real time interactive communication between the patient, and the physician or practitioner at the distant site. This electronic communication means the use of interactive telecommunications equipment that includes, at a minimum, audio and video equipment…”² Providing this service to patients with the co-occurring disorders has been shown to help address the neglected portions of their personal healthcare.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) recently awarded a 5 year, $7 million grant to a professor of medicine at University of Buffalo to support his efforts in addressing the spread of hepatitis C virus (HCV) among drug users who share needles.³ As our nation continues to deal with the opioid epidemic, Hepatitis C has increase immensely.  However, the UB study is presenting positive outcomes as a result of the virtual integration of telemedicine. Read more in the full article by UB³

1.) http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/

2.) http://www.samhsa.gov/section-223/care-coordination/telehealth-telemedicine

3.) http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2016/05/052.html#sthash.66i7HemH.dpuf

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Community Substance Abuse Centers

About

Community Substance Abuse Treatment Centers Community Substance Abuse Treatment Centers (CSAC) has been providing methadone dosing and counseling services since 1989. These services include treatment with methadone and other medications in combination with individual, group and family counseling. As a privately owned CARF accredited treatment provider they serve residents of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Connecticut.

CSAC also has a commitment to high quality care and are dedicated to treating each patient with compassion. They strongly believe that quality treatment depends upon having qualified employees. Furthermore, their treatment team is comprised of multidisciplinary professionals who are committed to providing excellent patient care.

Testimonial

“The efficiencies resulting from utilizing the SMART system, especially billing functions, has enabled us to devote more time to patient care.”

– Community Substance Abuse Centers

boston public health commission

Boston Public Health

boston public health commissionAbout

The Boston Public Health Commission’s Behavioral Health Services program works to treat individuals affected by addiction. They are licensed by the Department of Public Health. BPHC provides treatment personalized to each addiction treatment patients recovery goals. Their outpatient treatment program includes individualized substance abuse counseling, case management services, vocational resources and relapse prevention services. Moreover, their recovery support services incorporate high-quality, comprehensive, gender-specific and culturally appropriate treatment.

Testimonial

“The SMART system provides real time information that allows staff to feel confident in their clinical decisions.”
– Boston Public Health

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Greenwich House, Inc. – NYC

About

Greenwich House was founded in 1902 to help Greenwich Village’s growing immigrant population adjust to life in New York City. While Greenwich Village has changed dramatically over the years, their mission has remained: to help individuals and families lead more fulfilling lives by offering social and health services, cultural and education programs and opportunities for civic involvement to New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds. Each year, it provides nearly 12,000 New Yorkers with social, medical and cultural programs, all aimed at providing personal growth and enrichment. Since their founding, they have served nearly one million New Yorkers.

Greenwich House’s Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program provides individuals dependent on opioids, including heroin, with high-quality, personalized care to help overcome their addictions. Patients voluntarily come to the clinic and are treated with dignity and compassion as they receive individualized medical care, counseling and supportive services that help to improve their quality of life, promote self-sufficiency and connections within the community.

Learn more

Testimonial

“The treatment plan is fantastic! It makes it easier for me to be able to put a plan together. It is one of the greatest features! Also the psycho-social summary is direct and straight to the point.”    

– Intake Counselor

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Controversial Solution. What We Need to Do is Save Lives.

Boston-Health-Care-for-the-Homeless-ProgramMay 2016 – The Boston Globe reported on a new unorthodox measure that has been taken by Boston Healthcare to prevent overdose deaths. Fatigued and frustrated by multiple overdose occurrences in their waiting rooms each week, Boston Health Care for the Homeless has opened a place specifically to care for these overdose victims. The SPOT (Supportive Place for Observation and Treatment), is a repurposed room in their facility that is staffed by an addiction nurse and case manager. They provide a safe and medically monitored place for people to go for help as they are coming down from a high. The goal is to contribute to the reduction of overdose deaths in the Boston area.²

This solution has received some tough criticisms. Nurse practitioner at Boston Medical Center and the Gavin Foundation Brianne Fitzgerald believes, “It’s ridiculous… it’s one of the highest forms of enabling, and it gives up hope on people who use IV drugs.” However, others still point to the notion of trying different methods to at least help reduce overdose numbers. “…with the level of pandemic we’re dealing with — and I say pandemic because it’s no longer just an epidemic — any effort to get this problem under control is a worthwhile experiment.” said former state senator Steven Tolman.² Read the full article or learn more about SPOT.

1.) https://www.bhchp.org/news/planned-spot-center-780-albany-street]

2.) https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/04/25/overwhelmed-overdose-epidemic-health-clinic-offers-room-for-supervised-highs/vQ61K3jao0vXNUPHK0iQhP/story.html

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Hawaii Join’s in the Opioid Epidemic

hawaii-news-nowApril 21st, 2016 – Hawaii News Now  recently reported on the state of our nations opioid epidemic as seen in Hawaii. There has been a rise in youth and adults over 50 seeking treatment for opioid addiction, from 1% just a few years ago to 7% today.(1) “Before you know it they’re not getting it from the doctors anymore,” added Ku Aloha Ola Mau’s Leilani Madrid. “They’re going off on the streets and getting more because they need more than what the doctors are prescribing.” This is especially dangerous since most of the pain medications being obtained are street drugs which many times are mixed at lethal levels. Opioid overdose’s in 2014 accounted for 157 deaths in Hawaii. (2)

More About Ku Aloha Mau

Kū Aloha Mau serves patients seeking recovery from addictions to substances including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, alcohol, marijuana, a combination of these drugs and other drugs of abuse. They provide a comprehensive program, offering mental health counseling, medication assisted treatment (including methadone, suboxone to assist in the recovery process. For the addiction of opiates), case management, outreach and individual, group and family counseling.(3)  Learn more

  1. http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6450a3.htm
  3. www.kualoha.com/about
discovery-house-program-director

Too Late for Some. Consequences of Maine Underfunding Addiction Treatment

discovery-houseThe Bangor Daily News (BDN)  helped give a public voice to substance use treatment facilities during these fiscally turbulent years in Maine. Individuals who are reaching out to get into treatment for their addiction are being wait-listed for long periods of time due to lack of state funding for opioid treatment programs. Maine is finally realizing the depth of their opiate problem and legislators are now taking steps to override the devastating changes. These changes have left thousands of opiate-dependent Mainers without treatment access.

Discovery House‘s Program Director Brent Miller spoke with Bangor Daily News about his clinic’s wait-list. Currently he has 550 methadone patients with approximately 61 people on their ever-growing wait-list. As soon as they are able to take in a new patient they call them, however, many times that individual has become unreachable for reasons like hospitalization, imprisonment or death from overdose. Brent told BDN, “You ought to celebrate that a person is reaching out to get well…We impugn them at every turn and make it difficult for them to actually do it. That’s why it’s a miracle that people are able to fight through the prejudice and actually get into recovery.”

There are whispers of treatment facility reimbursement rates being raised, but for now its just a waiting game. Read the full article