Hub and Spoke Program Exceeds Goals in Tackling Opioid Use Disorder in Central Washington

The integrated approach to treatment demonstrates promising results, surpassing expectations and bringing hope to communities affected by the opioid epidemic.

Yakima, July 2023 – Comprehensive Healthcare has achieved remarkable success in its Hub and Spoke Program, a state-funded project aimed at addressing opioid use disorder (OUD) across the state of Washington. By employing an integrated approach and focusing on engagement, the program has not only met but exceeded its annual goals, offering a glimmer of hope in the battle against the ongoing opioid crisis.

The Hub and Spoke Program is an initiative to expand access to medications to treat opioid use disorder (MOUD) for individuals struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD). This innovative approach combines the expertise and resources of Comprehensive Healthcare, referred to as the hub, with a network of smaller, community-based providers known as spokes. By fostering this united effort, the program ensures that patients receive comprehensive and integrated care, encompassing medication, counseling, and various vital support services.

This emphasis on patient engagement and tailored care lies at the core of the program’s success. Understanding that effective treatment starts with meeting individuals at their specific stage of change, the program’s dedicated “Navigators” work to build trusting relationships with each person.

“It’s really about picking people that know how to engage,” explained Shellenberger. “If we can do that, we can build relationships, people trust them, and they’ll keep coming back.”

Thanks to this thoughtful approach, Comprehensive Healthcare has witnessed a substantial increase in inductions—patients starting medication treatment—throughout the fiscal year. The program’s track record is truly impressive, with “never a month in our contract year where we had fewer than 40 inductions,” shared Shellenberger. “Our average was 52 per month, a significant achievement.” This consistent progress demonstrates the dedication and effectiveness of the Hub and Spoke Program in transforming lives and fostering lasting recovery for those grappling with opioid addiction.

However, the program’s impact goes beyond inductions alone, as Comprehensive Healthcare recognizes the importance of patient retention for successful treatment. Understanding that early disengagement can hinder progress, the team prioritizes efforts to help patients maintain their connection to treatment.

“We want to help people retain their connection to medication-assisted treatment in the critical first 90 days,” emphasized Shellenberger. “By doing so, we can significantly reduce the risk of relapse and enhance the long-term success of their recovery.”

Furthermore, the Hub and Spoke Program’s focus on medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has yielded promising results. This approach involves providing medication to stabilize patients, effectively reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Subsequently, patients receive referrals to inpatient or outpatient treatment for substance use disorder and addiction, as well as mental health therapy to address underlying conditions like major depressive disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. By taking this approach, the program aims to address both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction, paving the way for more effective and sustained recovery journeys.

“Our goal is to provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to individuals, reducing the potential for fatality from overdose by 50%,” said Shellenberger. “We believe that combining medication with comprehensive treatment and therapies enhances the chances of long-term abstinence and stability.”

Building on this vision, Comprehensive Healthcare has demonstrated unwavering dedication to expanding its network, a crucial factor contributing to its remarkable success. By forging collaborations with other esteemed medical clinics like Kittitas Valley Healthcare and Triumph Treatment Services, the program has significantly bolstered its capacity to offer Suboxone treatment, a medication widely recognized and utilized in MAT, to individuals across Central Washington. This strategic collaboration is a testament to the program’s commitment to reaching more individuals in need and providing them with comprehensive care and support on their journey to recovery.

“Our aim is to continually expand our network and ensure that individuals in need have access to effective treatment options,” stated Shellenberger.

“Our aim is to continually expand our network and ensure that individuals in need have access to effective treatment options”

The achievements of Comprehensive Healthcare’s Hub and Spoke Program have not gone unnoticed. State officials have recognized the program’s outstanding results and provided incentives for meeting and exceeding annual goals, allowing additional funding to enhance services, and improve overall patient care.

In the face of triumph, Shellenberger’s sentiments remain grounded in the stark reality of the ongoing opioid epidemic. “We’ve crushed all of our contract goals, which is really good news,” he concludes with a sense of accomplishment. “But it’s bad news at the same time because that means this epidemic is still raging.” Despite exceeding their objectives, the epidemic’s continued impact is a stark reminder of the urgency and critical importance of Comprehensive Healthcare’s Hub and Spoke Program.

The Hub and Spoke Program serves as a beacon of hope, providing evidence that with an integrated approach, focused engagement, and access to medication-assisted treatment, recovery from opioid use disorder is attainable. As the program continues to exceed its annual goals, it brings renewed hope to individuals and families affected by the opioid crisis, offering a lifeline toward a brighter future.