LETTER: Insurance companies adjust coverage to methadone clinics

In the April 27 edition of The Daily Press, an article about opiate addiction treatment in Massachusetts (“Addicted to Profits: Insurance companies adjust coverage of methadone clinics”) contained a number of misleading statements and negative speculation about for-profit programs in general, and the Habit OPCO network specifically.

Habit OPCO has a long history of providing quality care to the people of Massachusetts. At our 12 locations in the commonwealth, Habit OPCO treatment professionals offer cost-effective services (including a range of medication-assisted treatment options and counseling services) to men and women from across the socioeconomic spectrum.

As the April 27 article noted, dramatic recent increases in cases of opiate abuse and addiction have overwhelmed the capabilities of public treatment programs. At Habit OPCO, we are proud to have established close working relationships with leaders throughout the commonwealth in order to ensure that we are able to work together to meet the healthcare needs in our communities.

As the article also noted, Habit OPCO recently joined CRC Health Group, which is the nation’s largest provider of behavioral healthcare services for adults and adolescents. While the April 27 article contained unfounded speculation regarding the potential negative impact of this development, the truth is that this partnership with CRC will only enhance the effectiveness of our programs.

CRC Health Group has established industry-leading processes and protocols to ensure the highest degree of clinical excellence at all of its programs. By joining the CRC network, Habit OPCO professionals now have access to research, best practices, and shared knowledge that is unparalleled within the behavioral healthcare industry. As a result, we are even better prepared to provide life-changing care to the men and women who choose to heal with us.

Also, the April 27 article implies that for-profit healthcare programs such as those in the Habit OPCO and CRC networks are somehow substandard or less inclined to provide quality care.

We respectfully and strongly disagree with these insinuations – and we are confident that the service history of Habit OPCO and CRC Health Group support this stance. For example, in the nearly nine years since it was acquired by Bain Capital, CRC has expanded treatment services, enhanced its clinical quality management program, and been recognized for superior customer service by independent organizations such as Mental Health Corporations of America.

Habit OPCO and CRC programs exist for one reason and one reason only: to serve individuals and families in crisis. As the range of healthcare options continues to expand throughout the United States, we understand that the only way to remain a leader in the treatment of opiate addiction is to provide the highest quality of care at the most cost-effective level.

While medication-assisted opiate addiction treatment was once limited to methadone, Habit OPCO and CRC have been leaders in the effort to offer expanded treatment options, such as buprenorphine (Suboxone/Subutex) and a wide range of counseling services. In fact, countering the persistent “methadone-only” misperception of opiate addiction treatment, more than 10 percent of CRC’s opiate addiction clients are participating in a buprenorphine program.

Our programs accept both self-pay and insurance patients (private and public), and we work closely with each person who contacts us to ensure that they have identified and can access all benefits to which they are entitled. As is the case with all providers that accept Medicaid and other forms of public insurance, Habit OPCO’s rates for these patients are set at the state level, and are no higher than those charged by any other private or public programs.

The unfortunate truth is that opiate addiction is rapidly becoming a public health emergency in communities throughout the United States. As public and private organizations struggle to meet the growing need for treatment services, Habit OPCO and CRC Health Group are already leading the way in providing clinically superior services in a financially sustainable manner.

To suggest otherwise is not only misleading, but it is in direct contradiction to facts that have been clearly established during our years of effective service

Joanne Forson, Director of Operations at Habit OPCO

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