California Rehabs Partner with Primary Care ProvidersDylan Romero
America’s opioid epidemic is the topic of many news stories, most of which are negative and create cause for concern. However, once in a while some good news about potential treatment will come to light. Recently,Politico reported that California has decided to use its recent federal grant to build a landmark addiction treatment program that could help millions of residents.
Scaling the Hub and Spoke System
With only a matter of weeks to implement a $90 million opioid treatment program, the state of California decided to scale up a model that has measured success in Vermont. The “hub and spoke” system, first launched in The Green Mountain State back in 2012, features regional addiction treatment centers (hubs) connected by spokes (primary care providers and local clinics).
Each patient has a fully individualized treatment plan, and perhaps the system’s greatest benefit is that is permits them to receive ongoing care close to home. Those with greater needs or more complex cases can then be referred to a hub for advanced treatment.
After beginning with just 18 hubs and 57 spokes, California’s fledgling program has now expanded to include more than 200 spokes across the state. It also now includes systems in which those who are admitted to emergency services with opioid withdrawal are now referred to a nearby spoke for long-term treatment.
Opioid Use in California
California may not rank with the highest-risk opioid states, such as West Virginia and Kentucky, but that doesn’t mean that the epidemic hasn’t reached the west coast. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that in 2017, there were 2,199 overdose deaths involving opioids in the Golden State. Of these, the main driver of deaths was prescription opioids. Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, caused a recent spike in opioid deaths – the amount has more than doubled within the past two years.
Over the course of 2017, California healthcare providers wrote 39.5 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people. While this is lower than in other areas of the country, there is still room for improvement. Recent legislation and improved physician education continue to contribute to lower prescription rates overall.
The California Department of Public Health also provides an opioid overdose surveillance dashboard. This service combines all recent statewide research on the opioid epidemic into one place, including quick stats and ER visit numbers. There is also a running ticker of breaking news and emerging data available for public use. This research is a collaboration between the California Department of Public Health, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the Department of Justice, and the California Health Care Foundation. It is funded by the Centers for Disease Control Prevention for States Grant.
Continued Program Success
As of March 2019, more than 13,000 patients have made use of the new hub and spoke model. The program has resulted in an 82% increase in the prescription of buprenorphine, a drug considered by many to be the gold standard for treating opioid use symptoms. By making use of this federal funding, California’s eventual goal is to build a framework for the treatment of any addiction – whether to alcohol, stimulants, or opioids.
The state of California still faces several possible issues with implementing the new program on a large scale. Perhaps the most significant of these is stigma from health professionals, although reluctance from treatment centers may also pose a problem.
Additionally, doctors must receive special training in order to prescribe buprenorphine – however, these specific guidelines may soon be amended with new legislation. In spite of these concerns, healthcare professionals and those in recovery view the new system as a great opportunity to spread the miracle of sobriety to those who are struggling.
Southern California Addiction Treatment
Concise Recovery provides detox and residential treatment programs to the Southern California area. With locations in Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley, services are conveniently located, affordable, and effective. If you or a loved one want to break free of the cycle of addiction, contact Concise Recovery at 888-978-5424 today.