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Company forms clinical team to deliver fully home-based treatment

April 19, 2012
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Addiction Reach Home targets person who might never contact a treatment center

A Florida-based company that started accepting patients about four months ago is targeting the individual who for family, career or other reasons would likely never seek services in a brick-and-mortar addiction treatment center. Addiction Reach Home is marketing itself as the nation’s first integrated in-home treatment program, emphasizing the availability of a team of professionals of various specialties for each individual patient.

The company’s president and CEO says that outside of the program’s insistence that every patient receive a medical evaluation and input from a mental health professional, everything else about the private-pay Addiction Reach Home is individualized, from the duration of treatment to the composition of the clinical team to the clinical approach used.

“We would never consider ourselves as a replacement for inpatient,” says Sue Merklin, whose past work in the field involved treatment center management and marketing. “We’re taking people who would never call [a center], because they won’t leave home.”

Merklin says that in some cases, this occurs because the person carries some high-profile stature and wants his/her treatment to remain beyond others’ view. In other cases, the person might avoid a treatment center stay because he/she is not in a position to abandon professional or family responsibilities completely. Merklin adds that the program works better for the individual who maintains a reasonable level of functioning and is highly committed to recovery.

“A bad fit for us would be someone who has to be intervened, who has no commitment level,” she says.

So far, the patients with whom Addiction Reach Home has worked have represented a variety of ages and circumstances, from elderly clients dependent on prescription drugs to mothers with very young children. The program’s present geographic reach is along Florida’s east coast from Vero Beach south to Fort Lauderdale, although Merklin says it might expand after the model has been tested for a while.

“We’re getting recommendations from detox centers, through our own team of providers, and from churches, civic groups and attorneys,” Merklin says. In turn, Addiction Reach Home is making referrals of its own for individuals who contact the program but appear to need a traditional treatment center stay, she says.
Among the professionals overseeing clinical services for the organization are David Loucas, MD, a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and medical director of Resolution Medical Services, Inc., and Jeanne P. Yetz, MD, a psychiatrist and addiction specialist.

The cost of treatment averages about 30 to 50% less than that offered in standard centers, Merklin says. The program is pretty much exclusively self-pay at present, though one member of the clinical team does work with private insurance.

Merklin says the company was founded in 2009 and originally helped treatment centers with marketing, but she came to find that many centers’ lack of customization would routinely leave certain potential clients behind.

She says that for the most part, she hasn’t heard much opposition to the home-based concept from others in the treatment community, although some individuals do hold the opinion that it always makes sense to take the addicted person out of their traditional environment when they receive treatment. “But what happens then when they go home?” she said.

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