Opioid treatment programs now work through a concomitant health crisis.
Patients depend on facilities for drug-assisted treatment. But providers try to reduce the number of person visits and the risk of patients being exposed COVID-19.
“The reality is, the opioid crisis hasn’t gone anywhere,” said Allegra Schorr, president of the Care Provider Coalition Assisted with Medicine and Supporters of the State of New York. “These two crashing crises are a big fear.”
To help alleviate some types, opioid treatment programs have switched to remote treatment and the dosage of drugs taken home.
Jonathan Samuels, head of the addiction treatment program at the SBH Health System, said SBH had more than 600 patients prescribed methadone, Suboxone or Vivitrol injection. This program has increased the number of extended doses for patients, but this effort has been a balancing act to individually assess the risk of overdose with those infected and have severe complications from Covid-19.
SBH surprised people’s visits to reduce patients in the waiting room and offered telephone visits.
Harshal Kirane, medical director and assistant professor of psychiatry at the Zucker School of Medicine in Hofstra / Northwell, was navigating the Covid-19 outbreak when he prepared to open the Wellbridge Addiction Treatment and Research in Calverton, Long Island, in May.
“We, over the past two decades, have experienced very complex drug and alcohol crises with tremendous implications for the mental health needs of Americans,” Kirane said. The Covid-19 outbreak will only intensify some underlying fractures in America. a framework of how people manage mental health problems. “
Joel Idowu, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Sciences at Richmond University Medical Center, echoes the importance of telemedicine. Loose regulations regarding initial visits for treatment have been very helpful, he said.
The entire health industry faces a labor shortage. Although telehealth has helped ease tension, providers in opioid care programs work through their own health problems and child care problems.
Schorr noted that several hospital-based programs had been asked to re-employ doctors, nurses and staff to other parts of the facility during the pandemic. He added that the association worked with the city and state to try to find ways to fill some gaps in addiction treatment.
For stable patients, the dose of medication taken home is very important, he said. The Association recently detailed the importance of reforming doses for at home in presenting Medicaid’s redesign recommendations to the country.
However, it is patients who are earlier in their care and who have other health problems that are most worried about the opioid treatment program, Schorr said, especially when anxiety increases and coping mechanisms may be sought.
This article past beginning was published in Crain’s New York Business.
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