Community Action Against Addiction (CAAA) chose SMART to streamline their OTP operations. This nonprofit operates OTP, residential, and outpatient services with a caring and supportive staff. “From the CEO through to the security team, this staff cared about their clients,” shared SMART’s Lead Training Specialist Cassity Asher. “Their number one focus was meeting the need of the client and how SMART would help them reach that objective.” Likewise, helping providers focus on patient care is a priority for SMART. After all, SMART was specifically designed to improve efficiencies at their own network of addiction treatment facilities. Today this mission continues with partners like CAAA.
Time-saving systems improve patient care
Charlene (L) and Lera (R), CAAA Billing department
Being totally paperless is essential to maximizing productivity. It saves time and resources by eliminating redundant data entry and storing all data electronically. This helps treatment teams organize, locate, and access patient data more efficiently.
The clinical and medical modules in SMART’s paperless EHR improve team collaboration and patient care. Real-time treatment data means no more wasted time sorting through paper charts. Everyone has real-time access to the most current patient data, which improves patient safety and reduces risk to the clinic.
Further improving patient care, SMART’s medication inventory management helps staff decrease dosing errors with “checks and balances” to ensure inventory accuracy. And SMART supports medication dispensing, patient check-in queue, dose verification, along with all DEA reporting. Customizable templates make gathering and saving important information a smooth and reliable process. Each staff member can see what information is required.
And the Insurance Billing Module simplifies billing and self-pay account management by minimizing data entry. It also includes reporting capabilities to track and manage finances. During implementation, SMART provides system training, including a thorough review of this module. CAAA’s Billing Specialist, Charlene shared that “The billing trainer was extremely knowledgeable in training the billing department.”
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
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 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 typical 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 a total of $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 excellent progress toward supporting those already in recovery, and an encouraging sign for those seeking recovery.
Associates of Alliance Medical Services, Johnstown. Photo credit: https://ams-johnstown.pinnacletreatment.com/
As a Center of Excellence, Alliance Medical Services of Pennsylvania was recently awarded $500,000 in state funding from Cambria County. Thanks to this funding, they are poised to treat up to 50 additional patients and participate in the Warm Handoff Program.
Warm Handoff Program Decreasing Overdose
In the fall of 2016, Pennsylvania established the Warm Handoff Program. The aim is to increase interactions between recovery professionals and patients after they have suffered an opiate overdose. Individuals who do not receive follow-up care are more likely to relapse. According to Gary Tennis, Secretary of the Pennsylvania DDAP, “There is a very high risk of a repeat overdose in the period right after a person leaves the emergency room for a drug overdose. Our aim is to avoid that risk by getting the survivor directly to treatment without hitting the street at all.”
The inspiration for the Warm Handoff Program was the life-saving drug Naloxone. After years of seeing lives lost to overdose, police officers were ready for a change. Since Naloxone’s availability in 2014, Pennsylvania police have been able to save 1,600 lives. However, this created another gap in the system of care. Tennis explained that “Many people who would have died are now being saved in the ER, but the protocol there has been to release people once they are stabilized or at most given a card with a referral for treatment.” As the Chairman of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws, Tennis and his staff reached out to ER’s to begin development of the new program. From there, recovery advocates and professionals like the staff of Alliance Medical Services were able to start providing more assistance.
About Alliance Medical Services
Alliance Medical Services, a division of Pinnacle Treatment Centers, is an outpatient addiction treatment program located in Johnstown, PA. Their team of trained professionals offers medication-assisted treatment with individual and group therapy. Furthermore, they passionately encourage their patient’s development of healthy and stable living to support their journey to recovery.
Risk management through medical documentation was an important topic addressed and presented via a mock trial at the 2015 AATOD conference. As treatment providers, you are responsible for taking the appropriate measures to ensure that patient documentation is accurate and thorough. Consistent documentation not only ensures that important patient progress is recorded, but it is also key to protecting your clinic from legal retaliation should a patient experience an unfortunate event while enrolled in your Medication Assisted Treatment program.
Addiction Treatment Forum (ATForum) recently published an article outlining the specific protocol that should be followed for every patient and emphasizing the tasks that should be tailored to patients in specific circumstances. “The problem wasn’t necessarily that the counseling wasn’t done. The problem was that it wasn’t documented.”(1) Read the full article.
Reports on substance abuse and addiction therapies, research, news, and events of interest to both healthcare professionals and patients with a focus on methadone maintenance (MM) treatment for opioid addiction. AT Forum is made possible by an unrestricted educational grant from Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, St. Louis, MO, a manufacturer of opiate and alcohol addiction products. (2)