HUNTINGTON — Evolved from a concept about half a decade ago, Provider Response Organization for Addiction Care & Treatment (PROACT) now provides a centralized hub of substance use recovery resources to 600 clients.
PROACT, which opened in 2018, provides comprehensive assessments, education interventions and addiction treatment solutions in a service hub in its office at 800 20th St. in Huntington, the former site of a CVS Pharmacy.
Dr. Zachary Hansen, medical director of Marshall Health’s Division of Addiction Sciences and assistant professor for the School of Medicine, said PROACT filled gaps for the recovery community.
With about 69% of clients having been in the program for a year or longer, program leaders believe it is successful.
Michael Haney, director of PROACT, said the idea started as a collaboration between Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center. Valley Health had also been involved in the collaboration, but pulled out after the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
Currently, Marshall Health provides the clinical services, such as medical, therapy and ancillary wraparound services, like peer coaches. St. Mary’s Medical Center provides spiritual care. Cabell Huntington Hospital has also partnered with Marshall Health to handle lab services.
PROACT’s services allow patients to not only recover, but also to maintain their sobriety to build a better life by returning to work and rebuilding relationships, Hansen said.
“But in order to do those things, you’ve got to see enough patients to generate enough money to be able to pay people to do that,” he said. “You’ve got to be bigger or big enough to be able to sustain it.”
The facility combines behavioral, social and medical resources from the community to provide individualized care.
Haney said when someone enters the PROACT system, they are sent to a therapist for an initial assessment, which leads to a recommendation for care tailored to meet that person’s needs.
Those needs might align with using PROACT services, or the person could be sent to another program if they need a higher level of care, have issues with transportation or other reasons.
“There’s a lot of barriers, with transportation being probably in the top two or three barriers, to care,” he said. “Anything we can do to lessen those barriers, we want to try.”
While opioid use is still the biggest issue the recovery community faces, people also seek care for other substance use, such as alcohol or methamphetamine use. This makes having personalized plans important.
“A large part of our people are on medically assisted treatment, but that’s just because of the nature of what we’ve seen walk in the door,” Haney said. “As trends have changed, we are starting to see more amphetamines, methamphetamines, but (opioids and heroin) are still the number one that we are seeing.”
Clients have weekly doctor visits and group therapy, as well as twice-a-month individual therapy sessions, until they get settled into their treatment regime and have stopped using illicit substances, at which point the treatment requirements are scaled back.
For those who relapse or are struggling, PROACT has launched an intensive outpatient program, a level between outpatient and residential treatment, which increases the patient’s participation.
While success in recovery is hard to define, Haney believes it is someone who is no longer using illicit substances and whose life has gotten better. Recovery goes beyond medical help, and PROACT is able to fill those needs.
The program has family navigators — “problem solvers,” Hansen says — who help patients work through issues or needs they might need fixed to make their recovery successful, Haney said.
“I can help anybody or provide treatment for any type of substance use problem, but if you’re worried about where your next meal is coming from or where you’re sleeping, it’s very hard to focus on those tools that we give you,” he said.
Haney also applauded the Creating Opportunities for Recovery Employment initiative, which offers employment coaching to help people in recovery return to the workforce.
“We are seeing people recover and build their lives back up because they have employment, they have a way to pay their bills, they have a place to go every day and they have a sense of purpose,” he said.
PROACT has about 600 patients, 69% of whom have been with the program for a year or longer. He estimated another third have been with the program for less than 90 days. The longtime patients might not be doing sobriety perfectly, but they’re trying their best, Haney said.
“This means over half the people that we see are actively engaged in treatment and long-term commitment to their efforts toward sobriety,” he said.
Haney said he wasn’t looking for a job when the opportunity to lead PROACT became open, but he felt called to it because of the investment and collaboration behind it.
“Huntington has been amazing,” he said. “When this started, everybody wanted to do something. No one was saying, ‘No, we can’t do that.’”
Seeing the emotions that come from patients being told they are doing a good job lets the workers know they’re working toward more than just a paycheck, Hansen said.
“A lot of people get torn down, because people think that the criticism and yelling is going to help them stay clean,” he said. “They don’t say things like, ‘Man, you passed a drug screen. That’s great.’”
The chaplain provided by St. Mary’s Medical Center has an effect on both staff and patients, Haney said, just by having meaningful, engaging conversations.
Haney said PROACT wants to start replicating its program, whether it be another brick-and-mortar building or partnering with an existing program that would use its model.
Hansen said PROACT has the programs and growth it wants, but the financial model is complicated because of reimbursement rates for Medicare and Medicaid, leaving little extra to pay for services that aren’t billable. Ideally, he said, PROACT would have a transportation division with a few vans that could transport patients.
PROACT can be reached at 304-696-8700 to schedule an appointment, but Haney said walk-ins are encouraged.