The Primary Care Department received a 2013 Science and Service Award for Office-Based Opiod Treatment in recognition of its innovative use of buprenorphine as an accessible option for homeless patients. This model of care support SAMHSA’s priorities for addiction treatment including: recovery support services, integrated behavioral and primary health care services, hepatitis prevention and treatment services, practices that encourage patient choice in treatment planning, administrative practices that promote retention, access to care, and service/cost effectiveness and efficiency, and the use of electronic health records.
What does this mean? With the primary care clinic at 3rd Street co-located with 2 detox programs and The Recovery Center, patients withdrawing from heroin and other opioids can find a “one-stop shop” of integrated health care and recovery support. This means they are more likely to stay in care. In 2012 the average treatment was 361 days which is impressive. Medical Director Roslynnn Glicksman states: “As long as clients are in treatment, they are presumed to be free of illicit drug use and all that entails – overdose risk, illegal activity and risk of arrest, risk associated with intravenous drug use, and so on. So longer treatment is better. In that time, patients are also improving their housing situation and working on health and recovery issues. There is no limit to how long someone can be on buprenorphine maintenance. Addiction itself is a chronic condition with relapses likely and so treatment can and should continue.”
Congratulations to the Medical Department and all staff working with clients in this practice – another example of innovation in helping homeless men and women rebuild their lives!