CORDANT HEALTH SOLUTIONS AND ADDICTION LEADERS IN TENNESSEE DISCUSS THE IMPORTANCE OF CARE COORDINATION FOR ADDICTION TREATMENT PATIENTS
Cordant Health Solutions®, a leader in providing innovative tools for patients in addiction treatment programs, announced its new pharmacy location in Nashville in a digital open house. Cordant’s managed pharmacy program serves patients in treatment for opioid use disorder using medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Treatment providers across Tennessee joined in Cordant’s open house to listen to two local providers talk about barriers to recovery. Victor Wu, MD, MPH, chief medical officer for TennCare, spoke about the need for more care coordination services to help people cope with a disease that thrives in isolation.
"If you can't get to your appointment, or you're not able to get to the pharmacy, then those can be system challenges that might trip you up and cause you to stop your treatment, even though you have the desire and the will to stay in recovery," said Wu.
Although picking up a prescription sounds like a simple errand, if you are a MAT patient receiving medication as part of your addiction therapy, it can be anything but simple, even though it significantly reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
"Unfortunately, access to this medication is often a significant barrier for patients in recovery. Patients feel stigma or judgment when they pick up these medications or worry about a lack of privacy," said Bob Mann, executive vice president at Cordant. "Not all pharmacies carry or are willing to dispense medicines that treat addiction. And finding transportation to a pharmacy that carries addiction treatment medications is yet another obstacle."
Roger Sherman, MD, owner of Compassionate Recovery Care, also spoke at the open house about his recovery patients' challenges. "I’ve come to believe we need to meet patients where they’re at, not just physically but emotionally."
As Tennessee weathers the COVID-19 pandemic, state officials report that the opioid epidemic has intensified. Health officials in Shelby County, Tennessee’s largest by population, say the number of overdoses related to opioids and other drugs escalated this spring, with 391 suspected overdoses and 58 overdose deaths over 30 days.
In response to these kinds of challenges, Cordant developed a managed pharmacy program to deliver buprenorphine, a common addiction treatment medication, to treatment clinics at no extra cost to the patients or the clinician. Patients attending support group meetings or treatment visits can also pick up their medications from the Cordant coordinator at the clinic.
"Cordant’s pharmacy program helps patients reclaim their lives, removes very real barriers to their success in treatment and helps them return to a productive life," said Mann. "Data from the pilot study of our managed pharmacy program shows that patients using our service were 32% more likely to keep their appointments, had 44% fewer relapse events and had 43% fewer drug-related visits to emergency departments compared with a control group. Perhaps most significant, patient retention increased 52%, particularly in the first six months of treatment, when patients are often in the most vulnerable stage of recovery."
Cordant’s Tennessee location is its sixth pharmacy, and the program has served 10,000 patients in 2020.
"So many of my patients have concerns about going to a local or traditional pharmacy because they worry about seeing someone they know. They've gone through such a tough, traumatic life, and anything we can do to show them compassion and give them some privacy when it comes to their treatment, I think, is important to their success and their ability to beat this disease," said Sherman. "Offering Cordant’s managed pharmacy program to my patients has certainly increased success rates and decreased relapse rates in my clinic."
If you would like to watch the digital open house, it is available at YouTube.com/CordantHealthSolutions.com.
Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to interview any of the digital open house speakers.
Cordant Health Solutions® (cordantsolutions.com) provides innovative tools for monitoring behavioral health, chronic pain and criminal justice cases. Cordant’s unique pharmacy and drug testing programs provide accurate, actionable results to protect prescribers, hold patients accountable and optimize quality of life.
A leader in quality standards, Cordant provides solutions for payers, clinicians and organizations involved with substance use disorder, pain management and criminal justice agencies. Cordant is one of the only healthcare companies that offers monitoring and risk assessment tools through its innovative drug testing options and full-service, high-touch pharmacies, which specialize in the management and dispensing of addiction treatment medications. Cordant’s testing protocols and digital case-management tools help clients become more efficient and effective in using drug testing programs to monitor patient adherence, reduce risk and improve patient outcomes.