The opioid epidemic remains a serious public health threat across the U.S.;
By leveraging telemedicine technology, Groups Recover Together is helping to ensure that effective treatment continues to be available to individuals struggling with opioid addiction;
With this fully virtual experience, patients remain connected to their recovery communities while adhering to social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Groups Recover Together, an industry leader in opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment, has transitioned to a fully digital model that ensures continuity of care for more than 5,000 existing patients in six states and expands access for millions of others who are battling addiction during this unprecedented crisis. Groups' network of outpatient clinics delivers a uniquely effective clinical model that combines evidence-based medicine, community, and holistic care.
Groups has long used telemedicine to expand access to treatment in rural communities and to keep members engaged outside of in-office visits. On March 16th, as many states began implementing social distancing policies, the company made the decision to transition 100% of its clinical services onto its telemedicine platform. "We kept two principles front and center when making this decision – keeping our staff and members safe from COVID-19 and ensuring our patients continued to get the services they need to succeed in their recovery" said Colleen Nicewicz, Chief Executive Officer.
Opioid use disorder is often an isolating experience and social connections are essential for recovery. But maintaining recovery communities is challenging with social distancing. As the country seeks to slow the spread of COVID-19, there is a risk that recent progress made in the fight against the opioid epidemic could be lost. According to the CDC, one American dies every 11 minutes from a drug overdose and an estimated 2.1 million Americans are addicted to opioids.1
By developing a digital model that leverages multiple platforms—including secure, HIPAA-compliant voice, video and SMS—Groups is helping to ensure that effective treatment continues to be available to everyone who needs it. From California to Maine, patients are using their mobile phones and the Groups platform to meet weekly and support one another through the challenges of opioid addiction and, now, COVID-19.
"The community that we foster inside our clinics is central to our ability to deliver industry-leading outcomes, which have been validated in third-party evaluations," said Gus Crothers MD, National Medical Director. "By leveraging technology, we are able to take that community virtual and ensure that patients remain connected to their peers in recovery, even while physically separated." Attendance at weekly group therapy sessions has been 88% since shifting to the digital model and feedback from patients has been overwhelmingly positive.
"We founded Groups to help people struggling with opioids get their lives back," said Dr. Jeff De Flavio, founder and board director. "Today, as the COVID-19 pandemic stresses our healthcare system, economy, and every aspect of daily life, it is more important than ever to find creative ways to help keep patients out of the hospital, in community with one another, and on the road to long-term recovery."
About Groups Recover Together Groups Recover Together is the national leader in value-based care for Opioid Use Disorder that is proven to help people beat addiction and get their lives back. Our network of outpatient clinics delivers a uniquely effective clinical model that combines evidence-based medicine, community, and holistic care. We provide Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), which is considered the gold standard of treatment for OUD. What differentiates the Groups Recover Together model is the belief that long-term recovery from opioids is tied to aspects of life that are beyond the reach of traditional medical care. By helping patients to form community, seek care for co-morbidities, and address social determinants of health, Groups Recover Together drives industry-leading outcomes.