Spectrum Health Systems, Inc., a long-standing not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing a comprehensive continuum of addiction treatment throughout Massachusetts, announces today the success of its specialty COVID-19 unit, established in response to the global pandemic. With support from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, the organization created an isolated unit that provides medically supervised detoxification and clinical stabilization services for clients who have tested positive for COVID-19, at its Westborough campus.
“Addiction doesn’t stop for a pandemic and our team knew that we needed to enact an emergency response plan to provide the essential services our clients need,” said Kristin Nolan, Senior VP of Behavioral Services at Spectrum Health Systems. “In a matter of days, our Westborough leadership team was able to create a space and comprehensive treatment model for individuals that have tested positive for the virus, but also need addiction treatment. It has been inspiring to witness the tenacity of our clients and a privilege to provide these life-changing and life-saving services at a time when they are so desperately needed.”
The main goal for Spectrum’s COVID-19 unit is to provide detoxification services to clients who have tested positive for COVID-19. Clients in the program receive all the benefits typically provided to Spectrum Health Systems’ clients such as individual and group therapy through the use of telemedicine and medication-assisted treatment (MAT). iPads have also been provided to all clients to ensure continued communication with Spectrum’s counseling staff as well as outside health care professionals, case managers and AA/NA meetings.
“When COVID-19 first happened, every nurse I know wanted to be involved,” said AnnMarie Chimera, a nurse at Spectrum Health Systems. “When Spectrum announced that we were opening the specialized unit, all of us were excited to be a part of it and help people into recovery from both their substance use disorder and the virus. This time presents a unique opportunity for people to focus more on recovery from addiction, particularly those with a COVID-19 diagnosis that have been ordered to quarantine. I’m so happy that Spectrum is able to do this for our communities and help an often-forgotten population.”
Chimera began working on the COVID-19 unit when it first opened in March. She and her colleagues have helped 40 clients start their treatment and continue their recovery journey through the continuum of care Spectrum is able to offer. Clients typically remain in the COVID-19 unit for two to three weeks and following two negative tests, move on to continue their treatment in other areas of Spectrum’s continuum of care including both inpatient and outpatient treatment with medication-assisted treatment (MAT) recovery classes, group and individual therapy, and more.
Admissions at Spectrum Health Systems are open and available daily, by appointment only. Referrals are processed from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M., Monday through Sunday. The eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 unit include:
- Must be 18 years or older. Minors can be admitted with written parental or custodial permission.
- Must be physically dependent on alcohol and/or drugs requiring inpatient medically monitored withdrawal treatment, based on the American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM) 3.7 criteria.
- Must be in need of clinical stabilization services based on the ASAM 3.5 criteria.
- Must test positive for COVID-19 within the last 30 days and be considered unsafe for placement in a non-COVID facility.
If you or a loved one needs help, call Spectrum Health Systems today at 1-877-MyRehab. To learn more about addiction and insurance coverage, see our FAQ here.
About Spectrum Health Systems:
Based in Worcester, Mass. and founded in 1969, Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. is a private, nonprofit substance abuse and mental health treatment provider. Spectrum offers the largest and most complete continuum of addiction treatment in New England — including inpatient detoxification, residential rehabilitation, outpatient services, medication-assisted treatment and peer recovery support. Its subsidiary, The New England Recovery Center provides onsite detoxification and inpatient addiction treatment exclusively for commercially insured and private pay clients. For more information, please visit www.spectrumhealthsystems.org or www.newenglandrecoverycenter.org.