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On Tuesday, Jan. 4, The Herald-Dispatch published an editorial under the headline, “Let cities monitor drug treatment centers,” calling for closer scrutiny of a growing number of such treatment centers in the city Huntington.

As a Huntington-based emergency department staffing company that was founded in 1999 and expanded in 2011 to provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and counseling services to address the burgeoning opioid epidemic in the Tri-State area, OVP Health supports The Herald-Dispatch’s position on this matter.

From the moment OVP Health started its first MAT program in Gallipolis, Ohio, nearly 11 years ago, the company was fully committed to running a program that met or exceeded all medical and behavioral health standards; that followed all established rules and regulations; that conducted business ethically and responsibly; and that treated all patients with dignity, compassion and respect. And today, with 23 outpatient and inpatient treatment centers across West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and South Carolina, we’re even more committed to those operational standards. The Tri-State area is our home, and we intend to be here for a very long time.

One of the most effective ways consumers can be more confident in their choice of a drug abuse treatment program is to make sure it is fully certified and accredited. In the care and treatment of patients with substance use disorder, the gold standard for accreditation is CARF, or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. To achieve CARF accreditation, programs must undergo and pass a rigorous three-day survey to prove conformance and commitment to internationally recognized best practices and standards of care.

OVP Health’s MAT program has received two consecutive three-year accreditations from CARF over the past six years and will be opening up its books and operations to another extensive CARF survey in the coming weeks. We welcome the scrutiny because it helps us provide the highest quality of care and service to our patients, and it offers them assurance that we are committed to achieving results by doing things the right way. Unfortunately, not all treatment programs have that same commitment.

We believe the current rules and regulations for operating drug abuse treatment centers are sufficient to ensure the safety and effectiveness of patients trying to overcome substance use disorders. The problem lies with the inconsistent (and sometimes non-existent) enforcement of those rules and regulations.

That said, as long as actions are not taken to make it more difficult for patients to receive the life-saving care they need from programs that are operating responsibly, OVP Health supports efforts by the city of Huntington to direct closer scrutiny on the programs that are not.

Stacey Shy is CEO and Robert A. Hess, M.D., is president and co-founder of OVP Health.

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