Spectrum Health Systems

Expanding Access to Addiction Treatment is an Important Step to Combat Public Health Crisis

Published On: December 11th, 2019Categories: Spectrum Corrections, Treatment & Recovery

Addiction is a complex disease with no single solution. It’s not just the disease itself that can wreak havoc on a person’s life, there are many facets of the issue that make the road to recovery seem difficult. Arguably at the top of that list is access to reputable and accessible treatment options, which is why we recently launched two new innovative programs to help people across Massachusetts struggling from drug and alcohol addiction find and receive care quickly.

Collaborative and Transitional Treatment Program

At the beginning of 2019, Spectrum Health Systems was the sole treatment provider chosen by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to receive a two-year “State Opioid Response Grant” with funding provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). With this grant, we launched the Collaborative and Transitional Treatment Program.

This program uses a “hub and spoke” model, with the hub being a walk-in center located at 475 Pleasant Street in Worcester, and the spokes being community-based opiate treatment programs including Spectrum’s twelve other outpatient treatment centers located across the state. The hub performs intake assessments five days a week, offering low-threshold immediate treatment initiation and even transportation, legal assistance and insurance navigation. Following initiation, clients are provided individualized treatment plans based on their needs and started on the most appropriate medication-assisted treatment program. Once stabilized, they are referred to another location for ongoing services closer to home.

“Every day patients spend on treatment center wait lists is another day at risk of overdose death,” said Kristin Nolan, Spectrum’s VP of Inpatient and Outpatient Services. “Beginning on the path to recovery can be complicated and convoluted. Often people aren’t sure where to turn first – either arriving at emergency rooms that are ill equipped to handle addiction or being placed on days-long waiting lists to begin treatment. We wanted to address this issue in an innovative way by establishing a center for the sole purpose of intervening at the right time and providing hands-on assistance with next steps.”

More than 110 clients have already been served through the program, having come through referrals from area hospitals, word-of-mouth and other treatment locations. Same-day walk-in admissions are accessible Monday through Wednesday from 9am to 1pm and on Friday from 8am to 11am. For those interested, call (774) 314-4761 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

Immediate Medication-Assisted Treatment

More recently, we launched a collaborative partnership with the Milford Regional Medical Center to redirect patients from their emergency department to our bridge clinic at 200 East Main Street in Milford. Through this partnership, patients in immediate need have instant access to medication-assisted treatment.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that ERs see over 4.6 million drug-related visits per year, putting an incredible strain on emergency personnel. Furthermore, many ERs are not fully equipped to treat addiction. With this collaboration, ER patients are referred to Spectrum for immediate access to medication-assisted treatment, including individualized treatment planning and counseling services.

The program is spearheaded by Spectrum’s own Dr. Qaiser Khan and Dr. Roger Bayog, both dually certified in psychiatry and addiction medicine. During operating clinic hours, Dr. Khan and Bayog evaluate patients and provide personalized treatment to fit the needs of each individual. Additionally, Recovery Support Navigators are available to assist clients in accessing medical care, obtaining insurance, understanding their benefits and coordinating continuing care.

The clinic is open between 6:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for dispensing only. For more information, please call 508-634-1877.

These key initiatives are an important step forward as we work to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic and related access issues.

For more information about addiction treatment, call us today at 1-877-MyRehab and get started on your path to recovery.

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