Groups Drug Recovery Centers to Accept MaineCare

By Sarah Craighead 

Dedmon 

 

For many addicts, the cost of treatment is yet one more barrier to sobriety.  Beginning March 21, the Groups outpatient drug recovery centers located in Machias and Calais will be able to accept MaineCare, removing that barrier for many. 

Groups Chief of Staff Cooper Zelnick said he is thrilled that Groups has crossed the hurdles necessary to become a MaineCare provider. “The reason MaineCare is so important is because the mission of the company is to bring treatment to everyone, regardless of where you are or ability to pay,” said Zelnick. 

In late 2017 Groups started accepting many commercial insurance plans including Anthem, Aetna and United Healthcare. 

As a medication-assisted treatment facility, Groups’ program is centered around group therapy and weekly Suboxone prescriptions. The fee is $65, plus the cost of medication. Each weekly visit includes group therapy, a medical consultation, and a drug screening. Attendance is mandatory to receive the prescription to Suboxone, which eases the pain of opiate withdrawal without inducing a high. 

“We are not the first Suboxone program to accept MaineCare, but we are somewhat unique in that we're actually accepting MaineCare through a program called the Opioid Health Home (OHH),” said Zelnick. “This is a relatively new program intended to expand and improve opiate addiction treatment across the state.”

The Maine legislature passed the OHH program into law in July 2017. It marks a departure from fee-for-service healthcare which requires healthcare providers to bill for each service separately, and runs the risk of encouraging more treatments for more income. 

Under OHH, the payment rate is bundled, a strategy the state hopes will encourage providers to treat the whole person. Opioid Health Homes provide substance abuse counseling, care coordination, medication-assisted treatment, peer support and medical consultations.

“Maine created a program intended to pair addiction treatment with more holistic care coordination and case management to ensure that people not only get medication and counseling, but also gain access to auxiliary services essential for successful recovery,” said Zelnick. “We're very excited about that one.”

Groups opened its two Washington County locations in 2017, and plans to add locations in Farmington and Houlton in 2018, bringing their statewide clinic total to 10, and nationwide to more than 50.

“The program is 18-24 months long, enough time for people to come in, stay alive, learn coping skills, and start changing their friends,” said Zelnick. “The best part of it is that you build a community with other people who are trying to change their lives, too.”

 For more information on the Groups program, visit www.joingroups.com.