Medical leaders at Caron Treatment Centers see the newer generation of physicians as much less inclined to carry negative attitudes toward patients with addictions than their predecessors, and this makes these doctors an ideal audience for Caron's ambitious healthcare professionals training effort.
Caron's various training initiatives reach professionals ranging from primary care and psychiatry residents to pain medicine fellows, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Joseph Garbely, DO, Caron's medical director and vice president of medical services, tells Addiction Professional that he sees the landscape changing toward more of a desire in general health settings to address underlying addiction issues, rather than the old tendency to brand these patients as nuisances.
“The disease concept of addiction is universally accepted,” Garbely says. He adds, “The fatality rate is too great for us not to look at the totality of the patient. It's finally sinking in that punishing someone for an addiction hasn't worked.”
Caron's training addresses core topics such as signs and symptoms of illness and co-occurring issues, but also seeks to familiarize medical professionals with the some of the distinctive features of addiction treatment and support services. More hands-on training encompasses subjects such as 12-Step support meetings, participation in family programming, and role playing of initial sessions with persons in the early stages of a disorder.
Caron has been a pioneer among addiction treatment facilities in the area of medical training. It was the first freestanding addiction treatment center to offer an addiction medicine fellowship recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Its first fellow now works full-time for the organization as an addiction medicine specialist.
“We grew our own,” says Garbely. This will continue to be Caron's intent going forward, he says, particularly as the need for more addiction medicine expertise grows with the organization's development of a medical center on its main campus in Wernersville, Pa.
Going on the road
Garbely and his colleagues also travel for a variety of presentations, such as grand rounds at hospitals. Asked whether all of these initiatives have more of a broad-based “mission” goal for Caron or a day-to-day business objective (leading to more referrals, etc.), Garbely replied, “If we keep the global goals in mind, we are going to be successful.”
He adds, “It's exciting for us to be doing this because this is an academic campus.”