Health insurance changes open new options for addiction treatment.

Posted on: December 4th, 2014 by sobrietyresources

Nic Coury

Rebecca, a recovering meth addict at Genesis House, says she won’t return to using: “I’m allergic to it now. I break out in handcuffs.”

Posted: Thursday, December 4, 2014 12:00 am

Health insurance changes open new options for addiction treatment.

by Sara Rubin

While Congress continues bickering over President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, millions of newly insured Americans have been going to doctors. And doctors have been reconfiguring their businesses to adapt to new insurer payment models.

It’s the same for drug and alcohol abuse recovery clinics, which are seeing many newly insured patients. They’re also seeing former inmates now seeking substance abuse treatment in clinics under California’s prison realignment plan. And with Proposition 47, a ballot measure downgrading some nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors, there are likely to be more addicts seeking treatment.

“If you put all those things together, there are more people in need of services,” says Robert Jackson, who manages substance abuse programs for Monterey County Behavioral Health.

In Monterey County, some 40,000 low-income residents have enrolled in expanded Medi-Cal, according to Jackson. Community Human Services is one of four local nonprofits that contract with County Behavioral Health to provide clinical recovery services. CHS has applied for state approval to open two new clinics, in Monterey and Salinas, early next year.

Marta Sullivan, CHS program officer, says outpatient services help bridge the gap to more acute, residential care. “It’s like going to the doctor instead of the emergency room,” she says.

She hopes to help residential clients at Genesis House in Seaside transition back to independence with the help of dozens of new outpatient openings.

One client, “Rebecca,” has been living at Genesis House for four months. (Her name has been changed for her protection.) She’d been clean for more than four years when she started using methamphetamine again.

The 33-year-old has been through this before: When her son was born, she tested positive for meth at the hospital. Her kids were placed with other families while she got residential treatment. “I had to go to the real world,” she says, “and there was no stepping stone.”

When she completes her recovery at Genesis House, she’s planning to finish an associate’s degree at Monterey Peninsula College and become a drug counselor.

Rebecca, like the majority of clients at the outpatient clinics, expects to pay for her care with Medi-Cal. Only two of 38 inpatient clients at Genesis House pay the full $3,600 per month cost. The others are subsidized by Medi-Cal, though the rate is still being negotiated. Sullivan expects most outpatient clients to pay with Medi-Cal, too.

New law provides immunity for calling 911 for drug overdose

Admittedly, we as a society are slowly coming to grips with drug use and addiction, how we feel about it and how we deal with it.

Issues like chronic pain, access to powerful drugs, misuse and over-prescribing are difficult challenges. In the meantime however we are making progress in one vital area…saving lives. However we feel about the pervasiveness of drugs among our many health concerns we can all agree on the necessity of avoiding needless death.

This week Safe Communities Madison Dane County launched a campaign it’s calling Don’t Run, Call 911.
It’s meant to promote the new state law providing immunity from drug possession charges to a person who makes a good faith effort to seek medical assistance for someone experiencing an overdose. Given new efforts to provide law enforcement and public safety personnel with the over-dose reversal drug Narcan, alerting authorities to a drug overdose can save someone’s life.

We say, let’s start there. Safe a life. Then worry about changing it. If you’re with someone who overdoses you no longer have to run…call 911.

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