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Healthcare industry execs launch opioid treatments centers in Tenn., Va.


Veteran healthcare industry executives have launched Nashville, Tenn.-based ReVIDA Recovery Centers, a network of outpatient centers focused on treating opioid use disorder through a combination of medication and behavioral therapy.

Healthcare regulatory attorney Lee Dilworth founded the venture, with help from former RCCH HealthCare Partners CEO Martin Rash, who is serving as board chairman of ReVIDA, and former Acadia Healthcare regional director Ed Ohlinger, who is chief operating officer of the clinics.

“Historically there’s been emphasis just on the medication piece and insufficient emphasis on the behavioral health components” of opioid addiction treatment, CEO Dilworth explained. “We want to switch that paradigm, and our centers will have very robust behavioral health programming.”

Dilworth said he decided to launch the medication-assisted treatment clinics after three of his sons’ close friends lost their lives to opioid addiction. In November, he bought seven existing cash-only clinics in eastern Tennessee and Southwest Virginia serving about 2,000 patients each month, and set about revamping the care model to focus on patient outcomes.

Beyond medication, the clinics will provide individual and group behavioral therapy onsite. A team of care coordinators will also attend to patients’ non-medical needs, referring them to social services that can help with housing, employment or enrolling in insurance coverage, if needed.

“Medication is critical to the overall success. Medication quiets the brain of this person who suffers from opioid use disorder, and when the brain is quieted and no longer tasked with how to find the opioid, and doesn’t have to deal with the withdrawals or the cravings, then the clinical work can happen and we can be successful in retraining, teaching, helping the patients develop necessary social skills, coping skills, and anger-management skills,” Ohlinger said.

ReVIDA is in the process of contracting with insurance companies. It already accepts Virginia Medicaid patients and is in discussions with the managed-care organizations that serve Tennessee Medicaid members. After that, it will begin contracting with commercial payers. Dilworth said he expects more than 50% of ReVIDA’s patients to be covered by insurance by the end of 2019.

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, only one in 10 patients who need medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder receive it. MAT combines medication with behavioral counseling and is considered effective at reducing the risk for relapse and improving chances of recovery. The lack of insurance coverage is one of the major barriers preventing patients in need from accessing treatment.

In Tennessee, 1,268 people died of overdoses related to opioids in 2017, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. Virginia’s health department reported 1,229 overdose deaths related to opioids in the state in 2017. Nationwide, there were more than 47,000 overdose deaths related to opioids that year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.