Lewis Center, OH - CleanSlate Centers continues to expand access to medication-assisted treatment across the country with its newest center for opioid and alcohol addiction, in Lewis Center, Ohio. The physician-operated office, located on the grounds of Second Chance Counseling at 6011 Columbus Pike, Suite B, opened its doors to patients yesterday.
A national leader in outpatient addiction medicine, CleanSlate marks its first center in Ohio with the Lewis Center facility, with plans to open additional Ohio centers next year. The company has been eagerly welcomed by the Columbus-area community, which suffers from a shortage of quality providers for medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Even prior to CleanSlate's opening, the Department of Public Health in Columbus expressed its interest in partnership. "We are very excited for CleanSlate to open in Columbus, and we feel that many of our clients could benefit from attending its program," said DPH Program Manager Greg Lanham. "We would love to partner with CleanSlate's program to have our opioid and alcohol clients referred there for off-site MAT services."
(Pictured, L-R: Staff at CleanSlate's new center in Lewis Center: Rae Ann Smith, APRN/CNP; Sarita Salzberg, M.D.; Autumn Yasher, MBA; Nikki Brauning, CMA)
Addressing challenges of pregnancy, fraud
CleanSlate’s special focus on pregnant patients, and the company’s ability to fast-track these patients for same-day treatment, has emerged as a particularly attractive feature to the local addiction community. Infant mortality rates in Ohio are amongst the highest in the country, with mortality rates amongst black babies in Ohio the second worst in the nation. While a wide range of factors contribute to infant mortality, Ohio officials have placed an intense focus on high-risk communities where addiction is often rampant, investing more than $50 million in the last state budget to address maternal and infant health.
“Many providers aren’t equipped - or simply refuse - to help pregnant moms who suffer from addiction,” said Sarita Salzburg, M.D., Medical Director for the Lewis Center office. “I have been so moved to feel the appreciation from the community as I have heard about how acute the local need is with this population in particular. Even providers who do treat pregnant women are impressed that we can immediately see these patients, whereas elsewhere there can be a two-week waiting period.”
Fraud is also a problem that has plagued the Columbus addiction community. Many local addiction treatment centers have been regularly forced to shut down due to Medicaid billing fraud and other crimes. These disruptions create a steady demand for more quality providers to help patients who have been left stranded when their treatment facilities are shuttered.
“Ohio has really been ground zero for the opioid epidemic,” said Cory McConnell, an Expansion Business Partner for CleanSlate. “The need is overwhelming here, and unfortunately that has historically attracted a great deal of fraud, fly-by-night providers and pill mills to Ohio. The local stakeholders in Columbus recognize the depth of quality services offered by CleanSlate, which is why we have already been warmly welcomed by this community.”
Track record of success, aided by partnerships
Having treated more than 35,000 patients over the past decade, CleanSlate’s program of care includes appropriate medication treatment prescribed by licensed medical providers, as well as clear accountability, supportive counseling and care coordination. With 11,000 active patients across 50 centers nationwide, the medical group is actively growing its footprint to expand much-needed access to medication treatment for addiction.
CleanSlate’s Lewis Center office will benefit from its ability to easily coordinate care with Second Chance Counseling, a respected fixture in the local community for more than 15 years. Second Chance provides drug and alcohol counseling services - such as intensive outpatient programming and group counseling - that can augment the individual counseling offered by CleanSlate. Conversely, Second Chance patients can now benefit from the medical treatment offered by CleanSlate.
Meeting the special needs of a battered state
Because Ohio has struggled with the opioid epidemic for longer than many other parts of the country, the state has been at the forefront of the challenges and opportunities around addiction treatment.
(Pictured: waiting area at the Lewis Center office.)
“The community has expressed a lot of interest in Vivitrol as a medication, as well as Suboxone,” said Autumn Yasher, the Lewis Center's office Center Manager. “We already have patients on the schedule who are requesting Vivitrol and we’re proud to be able to offer this medication as a treatment option.”
CleanSlate’s Lewis Center staff have spent weeks meeting with area commissions, local task forces, law enforcement and other stakeholders to establish a framework of cooperation to address the complex issues surrounding treatment. The company's model is built on partnerships within local communities to provide a broad continuum of care for recovery.
“Some law enforcement that I have met with reported that overdoses seem to be down because they’re going on fewer runs,” said McConnell. “But the Attorney General believes that more people simply possess and know how to use Narcan, so overdose victims are being revived at home without bothering emergency responders. He echoed what we have heard time and again; Columbus needs more in depth treatment options like CleanSlate to ensure that citizens are truly getting well and not just putting a Band-Aid on their problem.”
Staff inspired by personal experience
Many CleanSlate employees across the country were motivated to enter the addiction field because of personal experience. Yasher is no different.
“My cousin passed away last year after using heroin laced with Carfentanyl,” she reflected. “I firmly believe that if there had been a program like CleanSlate when he was fighting his battle with addiction, he would still be here today.”
Before joining CleanSlate, Yasher tattooed her arm with the word “Warrior,” not realizing then that she would soon join a company whose employees call themselves “Warriors for Hope.”
“This is my calling,” she noted. “I can give a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves. I get to speak about my cousin and give him a voice. Helping people who suffer from this disease is a tribute to my cousin. This work is so rewarding and important to me.”
“We see a lot of people cycling through addiction programs here in Ohio,” said Dr. Salzberg. “We strive to make CleanSlate their final stop, where patients can really embrace their recovery.”
To find out more details about CleanSlate’s center in Lewis Center, click here. To make an appointment, call 740-201-2033.
A pioneer and leader in office-based, outpatient addiction medicine, CleanSlate is a rapidly expanding national medical group that provides treatment for the chronic disease of addiction, primarily opioid and alcohol use disorders. Founded in 2009 in response to the country’s growing opioid epidemic, CleanSlate’s physician-led centers utilize medication treatment and related therapies to treat patients who suffer from addiction and associated disorders, adhering to the highest quality, evidence-based practices.
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 http://www.cleanslatecenters.com to find the center nearest you. All CleanSlate centers accept walk-ins.