As the state with the 18th highest rate of overdose deaths, Virginia declared its opioid epidemic to be a public health emergency last year. The state has since developed financial incentives to increase access to treatment.
Amidst this serious response, CleanSlate Outpatient Addiction Treatment is opening the first of several new outpatient centers for medication-addiction treatment in Virginia. The company's inaugural Virginia center, located in South Richmond at 101 Cowardin Avenue, Suite 202, opened its doors to patients last week.
"South Richmond needs more treatment providers to save lives, and CleanSlate is eager to join the community battling the opioid epidemic here," said Brian Coonan, Regional Director of Operations in Virginia. "Our S. Richmond center is located within the same building as a Federally Qualified Health Center, where any of our patients can access a wide range of health services. The FQHC and other stakeholders in this community have welcomed us with open arms, and we look forward to close collaborations with new partners."
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The Virginia Health Department has been working closely with Richmond’s Behavioral Health Authority and a number of other partners to develop the city's response to the opioid epidemic. While officials believe there is enough capacity in the addiction treatment space for those who are insured and financially stable, there is a dearth of treatment options for residents struggling with addiction who are underinsured or not insured at all.
CleanSlate plans to participate in-network with most Medicaid and commercial providers in Virginia so that South Richmond patients can be treated with minimal or no financial burden.
Working with partners on the ground, CleanSlate has developed insight into areas of the city with the highest overdose rates. This includes the city’s largest public housing community, around Gilpin Court; in the East End, where four large public housing developments sit; and along the Midlothian Turnpike corridor on the southside of the city.
"The need here is great and we're ready for the challenge," said Joan Erwin, CleanSlate's Senior Vice President of Expansion Operations. "Last week, Dr. Jima Telele, our Medical Director, worked all day to help a new patient, encouraging the patient to come back after he missed his first appointment, and helping this patient access new health coverage. We will walk through any barrier to make sure that patients get the help they need."
(Pictured: Dr. Jima Telele, Medical Director, CleanSlate S. Richmond)
Overdose deaths prompted financial aid
In 2016, Virginia recorded a 40% increase in opioid deaths, followed by a 14% increase in 2017. High rates of use of heroin, fentanyl, and its analogues are producing increases in all indicators of opioid abuse.
These sobering numbers prompted officials to create the Addiction Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS) program, an effort that uses Medicaid to boost reimbursement rates for addiction treatment.
The results of this effort have been promising. Within the first seven months of implementation, the state saw a 29% increase in Medicaid members receiving treatment and a 31% decrease in in opioid-related visits to emergency rooms. Similarly, the effort to obstruct opioid overflow in Cuyahoga County, Ohio has met with promising results.
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Virginia also expanded Medicaid this year, which has helped increase the number of Virginia residents with access to health coverage for services such as addiction treatment.
Despite this progress, Virginia is still experiencing significant effects of the opioid epidemic. Aside from the high rate of overdose deaths, the state ranks 18th for new Hep-C cases and 14th for new HIV cases, both of which can be spread through dirty syringes. Large swaths of the state can be considered “treatment deserts,” with underserved populations deprived of access to high-quality addiction services.
But CleanSlate officials see hope on the horizon.
"We see the recovery community coming together here," said Coonan. "We're participating in a Block Party on April 6th, where other stakeholders like Aetna and Capital Area Health Network will also be joining. Everyone we meet is ready to combine forces so that together we can help people save and change their lives."
A successful model of care
A pioneer and leader in 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.
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 12,000 patients currently being treated each month in 11 states.
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 Virginia addiction treatment center, please visit http://www.cleanslatecenters.com to find the center nearest you. Most CleanSlate centers accept walk-ins.
To make an appointment at CleanSlate’s S. Richmond center, please call 833-505-4673. 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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