Recognizing that 2020 was a record year for opioid-related deaths in Washington and across the U.S., with 2021 set to continue the trend, Comprehensive Healthcare and Yakima Valley Memorial have partnered to bring new cohesive prevention, intervention and treatment efforts to their patients.
“It’s no secret the opioid epidemic has ravaged our community and many others. For us at the emergency department at Yakima Valley Memorial, we are seeing many overdoses where it’s not the client’s first visit for overdosing, and I realized there is a lot more we can do in terms of prevention,” said Dr. Brian Padilla, an emergency medicine specialist at Yakima Valley Memorial leading the partnership with Comprehensive Healthcare.
Comprehensive Healthcare recently expanded its provision of medications to treat opioid use disorders (MOUD) in Yakima last November to include Suboxone. Around that time, Dr. Padilla and his team at Yakima Valley Memorial connected with Comprehensive Healthcare’s Hospital Liaison and their Chief Medical Officer Dr. Frank Garner, building on an existing professional partnership that has supported community members in the Yakima area.
Suboxone (buprenorphine with naloxone) is a medication used to help individuals with an opioid use disorder by blocking the addictive effects of opioid medications like oxycodone and hydrocodone and street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. Suboxone is specifically for individuals in withdrawal. Often, individuals may be experiencing pain through the withdrawal process, and intervention with Suboxone helps interrupt that discomfort, on top of providing a more affordable and safer course of action than street drugs.
“It’s our hope to help as many people as possible with this partnership. If we can help even just one person by providing Suboxone, we’re saving someone’s life,” said Dr. Padilla.
Clients who enter the Suboxone program through Yakima Valley Memorial can be prescribed and given an initial dose of Suboxone at the time of their emergency room visit. An ED provider then refers that patient to Comprehensive Healthcare for continued, follow-up care.
“We’re the behavioral health complement to Dr. Padilla’s emergency care team at Yakima Valley Memorial,” said Dr. Garner of Comprehensive Healthcare. “Normally, anyone can get some level of treatment for withdrawals from emergency departments, but we’ve seen that if they’re not followed up with right away there’s higher risk the individual turns to street drugs and fentanyl. Our partnership lowers that risk.”
A sustained, integrated approach supports better outcomes, which is why each client receiving medications for opioid use disorders (MOUD) at Comprehensive Healthcare have an assigned counselor and medical provider to assist with managing medications, alongside outpatient therapy options. These additional service options might include group therapy provided by Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment or Substance Use Disorder teams, but also individual counseling, peer support, and case management.
“Creating effective community partnerships builds communities of health that allow clients to be successful when on a journey of recovery. We are grateful that Yakima Valley Memorial is willing to partner with our Medication Assisted Treatment Program in a way that will benefit our community and the clients we serve,” said Jodi Daly, President and CEO, Comprehensive Healthcare.
Individuals experiencing an overdose or dangerous withdrawal symptoms are encouraged to seek emergency medical care. Otherwise, walk-in appointments for Suboxone are available at Comprehensive Healthcare’s Yakima Center located at 402 S 4th Ave., Entrance 5 between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. To schedule an appointment or learn more about MOUD services at Comprehensive Healthcare, call (509) 317-2622.