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Outpatient provider enters Pa. to address opioid treatment gap

September 4, 2015
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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A statewide lack of access to affordable opioid addiction treatment services in Pennsylvania has led to a partnership between a major health plan and a network of outpatient facilities that is entering the state for the first time.

Geisinger Health Plan, a commercial and public plan organization that serves more than 500,000 members in Pennsylvania and four other Eastern states, has entered into an agreement with CleanSlate Addiction Treatment Centers, which operates outpatient centers offering medication-assisted treatment and therapy in Massachusetts. CleanSlate this week opened its first Pennsylvania facility, in Wilkes-Barre. The Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader reported that a center in Scranton is scheduled to open next month.

In comments provided to Addiction Professional, Geisinger's vice president of provider network innovations says opioid-addicted individuals in Pennsylvania have faced numerous financial barriers to care. “Many providers require cash up-front from the patient before the service is provided, even when the service is covered by their insurance,” says Geisinger's Kathleen Fierros. “This is a statewide issue.”

Fierros says that CleanSlate's ability to work with patients at various stages of recovery is seen as a plus by the health plan. She says that “CleanSlate will see [Geisinger's] members as many times per week as is needed to keep them on their recovery track following an inpatient stay.” Fierros adds, “CleanSlate's versatility to modify the frequency based on a patient's current state is important to success.”

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