Jefferson County is a battlefield for the opioid epidemic.
The county has the highest number of overdose deaths in Kentucky, a state considered to be one of the ‘ground zero’ regions for the opioid epidemic.
Despite the area’s high death rate, few addiction treatment resources are available to residents, with almost no medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services. The few treatments centers that do exist rarely accept insurance.
A new partnership hopes to fill that void.
CleanSlate Outpatient Addiction Medicine, a national medical leader in MAT services, has acquired The Bradley Center, a popular local treatment center, to expand access to high-quality MAT services in Louisville.
“The compassionate work being done by The Bradley Center resonates with our core values. The combined expertise of our two teams at the Bradley Center’s current location will reduce barriers to treatment across Southern Louisville,” said Anthony Belott, Chief Development Officer of CleanSlate.
One of the most significant barriers to treatment is insurance, with many providers operating on a cash-only basis.
“This region is in critical need of more comprehensive treatment options that accept insurance,” said Bradley Helton, owner of The Bradley Center. “Some of our patients had to leave because we were a cash clinic. CleanSlate participates in-network with most Medicaid and commercial plans in Kentucky, and we'll be bringing this access to The Bradley Center. We're thrilled to offer this benefit to patients, which will reduce the financial obstacles to treatment.”
Related Blog: Emergency Rooms In Lexington, Kentucky Desperately Need More Medication-Assisted Treatment Providers. CleanSlate's New Outpatient Center Will Help.
Old biases against MAT give way to awe at its effectiveness
At least four Kentuckians die every day from an opioid overdose. Fentanyl-related deaths have increased by 664% since 2012, nearly double the national rate. Andy Beshear, Kentucky’s Attorney General, has called the opioid crisis the "number one threat to the state.”
But communities aren't united in how to combat this threat. Even now, years after substantial evidence has proven that addiction is a medical condition, many still continue to address addiction as a moral failure.
“We hope that all of our partners approach addiction as the chronic brain disease that it is," said Joan Erwin, Senior Vice President of Expansion Operations at CleanSlate. "But not everyone does. So it's encouraging to team with a like-minded agency like The Bradley Center. They care for patients as we do, valuing an evidence-based treatment model that prioritizes medication as a key component of recovery.”
(Pictured: S. Louisville)
Helton himself once suffered from addiction, rendering him “homeless, helpless, and hopeless.” Through years of dedication, he managed to pull himself through recovery, and ultimately towards helping others recover from drugs and alcohol.
Michael Pickett, formerly Program Director at The Bradley Center and now Center Manager for both this center and CleanSlate’s location in Lexington, also has personal experience with addiction and recovery. Pickett encouraged Helton to launch a new treatment center which included MAT services.
But Helton had a bias against medication.
“I used to be that person who looked at MAT as ‘trading one substance for another,’” said Helton. “But Mike told me, ‘You will not understand MAT unless you work in it and see the way that it helps people get their lives back.’ He couldn’t have been more right.”
Helton’s experience in treating MAT patients completely changed his perspective. He says that the positive effect that MAT can have on patients is particularly easy to conceptualize when seeing female patients.
“It may seem superficial, but one day you may see a woman come in with a hoodie, no makeup, skinny, hair is a mess. She is sick. And I’ve had situations where one month later, after a few weeks in recovery, I don’t even recognize that same woman in the waiting room. They’re dressed nicely, smiling, their hair and makeup looks great. They care about their appearance. They’re carrying themselves with respect, like they have their self worth back.”
Helton sees some of these women come in with their kids, who may now be back in their lives. “They have started to gain back some of these responsibilities that were taken from them when they were using,” Helton says. “These patients often look like a different person because they are a different person.”
Related blog: Emergency Rooms Are Starting To Treat Addiction Patients Like They Have A Disease. Because They Do.
Bringing a national model of care to the opioid battle in S. Louisville
The collaboration and merger of CleanSlate and the Bradley Center marks the third location for CleanSlate within Kentucky, with over 60 centers across the country.
Erwin believes that across the field of addiction recovery, there has been too much fragmentation.
(Pictured: The Bradley Center/ CleanSlate waiting room)
“Too many of us operate in silos, focusing on our niche," she says. "But when it comes to the opioid epidemic, silos don’t work. The complex challenges posed by this crisis require collaboration across every stakeholder in the community. This partnership is an example of the collaboration needed to battle this crisis."
A pioneer and leader in outpatient addiction medicine, CleanSlate Outpatient Addiction Medicine is a rapidly expanding national medical group that provides treatment for the chronic disease of addiction, primarily opioid and alcohol use disorders.
The company is actively growing its footprint to expand much-needed access to outpatient medication treatment for addiction. Over the past decade, the company has treated more than 40,000 patients, with more than 13,000 patients currently being treated each month in 11 states.
"There’s no judgement here," said Pickett. "Addiction isn’t a moral failing, and CleanSlate treats it like the chronic disease it is. Recovery from addiction can be a bumpy road, and we are there for these folks, one day at a time."
Founded in 2009 in response to the country’s growing opioid epidemic, CleanSlate’s physician-led offices utilize medication treatment and related therapies to treat patients who suffer from addiction and associated disorders, adhering to the highest quality, evidence-based practices. The company’s program of care includes appropriate MAT prescribed by licensed medical providers, as well as clear accountability, supportive counseling, and care coordination.
Learn more about CleanSlate at www.cleanslatecenters.com, and sign up for our newsletter to receive regular insights about addiction and the opioid epidemic. To schedule an appointment at any CleanSlate center, please visit https://www.cleanslatecenters.com to find the center nearest you. Most CleanSlate centers accept walk-ins.
To make an appointment at CleanSlate’s S. Louisville center, please call 502-536-7224. To find out more details about this center, click here.
For media inquiries, please contact Amy Brunson at firstname.lastname@example.org
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