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When One-Size-Fits-All Doesn’t Work

March 26, 2019

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One size fits all may work great for some types of clothing. But it’s not an effective treatment technique. The folks at Provider Response Organization for Addiction Care and Treatment (PROACT) understand this.

A few years ago, representatives from Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Marshall Health, Valley Health and Thomas Health came together to discuss a common problem. It seemed each group was attacking addiction from a different perspective. But there was no unified approach. A single accessible service hub was needed in Huntington.

PROACT was born from that collaboration, giving the community a fresh approach to the addiction crisis.

The concept is simple, Director Michael Haney explains. “Every person is an individual. They need to be assessed in an individual way. And they need an individual treatment plan that addresses their specific needs.” This personalized approach opens the door to a broader, holistic range of treatment options, from medical to spiritual care.

PROACT’s new outpatient treatment facility opened October 1, 2018. It can treat up to 700 patients while also providing an expanded range of services.

Referrals come from doctors, hospitals, Quick Response Teams, or patients themselves. Each receives an assessment that determines a treatment path and a recommendation for care. Haney says the next step is referring the patient to the appropriate level of care. “We don’t ever say, ‘Here’s a phone number, call them.’ We make the appointment and will even arrange transportation to get the patient there.” Case managers connect them with other community resources. They get help from a peer coach, someone in long-term recovery who helps guide them. Group therapy is also available. Arrangements are made for aftercare to make sure the patient follows up on progress made in treatment.

One thing that distinguishes PROACT from other programs is the way they handle doctors. They don’t hire doctors in full-time positions. Instead, PROACT welcomes in physicians from the community to contribute their time. This gives doctors the opportunities to give back without quitting their day jobs and also allows for a larger pool of doctors providing care. Another thing that distinguishes PROACT is the offer of spiritual care if the patient wants it. Pastoral care is available through St. Mary’s Medical Center. “Many places discourage discussing spirituality,” Haney observed. “But if you ignore that part, you ignore a large part of someone’s life. You can’t ignore spirituality, especially in a place like Huntington.”

Best of all, PROACT is saving collaborating partners money in the long-run. “Because of our individualized approach, treatment is helping people before they develop additional health problems,” Haney says in conclusion. “That’s a win for the patient, a win for service providers, and a win for the entire community.”

PROACT was a featured award winner in the 2019 Innovation Now project of the Addiction Policy Forum.

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Mark Powell

J. Mark Powell is an author, former network journalist, and veteran communications expert. Read more about Mark Powell.