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Another view – Cheryl Wilkie: Four steps to respond to the opioid crisis


April 15, 2018 10:00

I appreciate that President Donald Trump visited New Hampshire to reveal his plan for solving the opioid epidemic. It affects us all. In addition to the pipe and the drapes and national media and standing ovations and promises, my sincere hope is that the next step involves a rapid and significant influx of specific resources to New Hampshire.

President's promise that we should end drug abuse in America once and for all by being tough, smart, kind and lovingly reasoned with me and with my team. I hope he will follow the help we need at Farnum and throughout the state's treatment community. The President stressed the need to address the treatment, prescription drug policy, stricter law enforcement and improve deterrence efforts. We appreciate that he leads this conversation.

This is not a partisan question; It's not a political question. This is a matter of humanity and it is important to take action now. After listening to President Trump's message, I respectfully propose four areas where more resources can have an immediate impact.

Treatment staff and education: Many addicts can not afford to pay the wages of the medical staff necessary for treatment. These men and women are important, but they come with steady staff costs.

And while work is available, it is a challenge to find qualified advisors and treatment experts. We need a program to accelerate and finance training for treatment providers to meet growing public demand. We need to see this as a plan to deal with abuse with an investment that believes in the long term.

Narcan: This life-saving medicine reverses the effects of an overdose. It saves lives, but at $ 1

50 per dose it is unreasonably expensive. We applaud to make Narcan available for free in schools and colleges and we support the proposal to federally fund Narcan for law enforcement. We should extend this approach to first respondents and treatment providers such as Farnum.

Increase Medicaid Compensation: New Hampshire needs to protect this important program and acknowledge that current remuneration rates for the treatment of addiction are so low, they do not come close to covering the actual cost of treatment. Facilities like Farnum must find other revenue streams because the current interest rate is untenable.

This is a major reason why so many treatment providers are struggling to be open. In January 2019, when all Medicaid customers are deducted from the exchange and placed in the entire Medicaid population, the rate of treatment for processing will be $ 162.50. BDAS pays $ 140 per day. However, the cost of running a program is about $ 275 a day for housing and $ 425 a day for detox. The economic deficit is huge and unsustainable.

Increase Financial Support for Treatment: There is a constant fight for those who need treatment but can not afford it, many do not qualify for state aid and have no insurance. We should provide financial support to fund treatment for men and women who would otherwise turn away from the lack of resources. Most treatment centers offer financial support, but there are limits. We need resources to fund the business in all treatment centers around New Hampshire and beyond.

The jump to New Hampshire is a perfect example of a plant that does a good job while struggling to finance its business. The state has entered, but we need sustainable financing.

Farnum does its role. Over the last three years, Farnum has rapidly expanded its available beds, more than double the room to 140 beds. Our administrators have opened and expanded a facility in Franklin. Farnum Center has expanded Suboxone processing, with more suppliers and more customer openings. Farnum has extended hours to help families through the evening's intensive outpatient clinic program. Our business model combines insurance, state funding, private collection and cooperation. But costs are rising, demand rises, and state and federal government aid is not rising to meet this demand. We need help and we need it right away. Treatment works, but it may not be unreachable for those who need it if we really will respond to this epidemic.


Cheryl Wilkie is Chief Operating Officer in Farnum, Manchester and Franklin.

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