CENTER CITY, Minn., Oct. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is bringing addiction and mental health care—as well as recovery, family and educational services—to Colorado residents wherever they may be—including to those at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic—with its RecoveryGo™ telehealth solutions, which are now available to anyone living in the state.
"After almost 20 years of providing children's services in the Denver area, we are excited to expand our presence throughout Colorado to reach more people, families and communities affected by addiction and mental health concerns," said Hazelden Betty Ford President and CEO Mark Mishek. "Our new virtual care options and other telehealth resources and services are proving to be effective and convenient, and have enabled us to expand access to help just as substance use and mental health concerns soar amid the pandemic."
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is the nation's largest nonprofit provider of addiction treatment, co-occurring mental health care, recovery resources and related prevention and education services—with 17 sites across the country, expansive telehealth solutions and a growing network of collaborators throughout health care. One of its sites—in Aurora, Colo.—has been home since 2003 to the renowned Hazelden Betty Ford Children's Program, which serves young kids whose families have been affected by addiction.
This month, Colorado also became the 10th state where Hazelden Betty Ford is approved to provide insurance-eligible virtual intensive outpatient (IOP) addiction treatment and mental health services. Designed to replicate Hazelden Betty Ford's on-site patient care experience, the new virtual services combine group therapy and individual counseling sessions via legally compliant video technology encrypted for security. To access Hazelden Betty Ford's treatment previously, Colorado residents had to travel to a facility in another state. Now, they can access it right from their homes.
"Regardless of where you live in Colorado, if you have commercial health insurance and a computer, you and your family members are now eligible to participate in therapy groups and one-on-one mental health sessions without traveling anywhere," said Christopher Yadron, PhD, vice president of Hazelden Betty Ford's West Region.
Other RecoveryGo™ resources and services now available in Colorado and nationwide include a free one-day virtual Family Program, available in English and Spanish; a virtual Children's Program; and numerous digital recovery support tools, such as mobile apps, podcasts and an online peer community. In addition, Hazelden Betty Ford's prevention experts are looking to grow their support for Colorado school systems—in which the Children's Program has created many strong relationships over the years—by expanding into higher grade-level student services; and its professional education consultants are available to collaborate with treatment centers, hospitals, health systems and recovery organizations as well as Colorado public health leaders who are interested in implementing virtual care and other evidence-based behavioral health solutions.
"By providing more opportunities for quality treatment and ongoing support, and collaborating with others who are also committed to reducing the negative impact of addiction, we'll be able to bring hope and healing to both the urban areas of Colorado—where maintaining physical distancing is still particularly important—and underserved rural populations," Dr. Yadron said.
Long a provider of telehealth solutions and leader in its industry, Hazelden Betty Ford began piloting virtual IOP treatment in 2019 and was able to quickly speed up and expand its plans when the COVID-19 outbreak began. In March, while simultaneously taking robust steps to reduce risks for patients at its residential sites, Hazelden Betty Ford transitioned all of its "outpatients" nationwide to a robust virtual platform that includes an effective system for virtual drug testing and other best practices to ensure the highest levels of confidentiality, safety and quality.
Seven months later, Hazelden Betty Ford has now provided virtual outpatient care—for both addiction and mental health—to thousands of people throughout Minnesota, California, Oregon, Washington, New York, Illinois, Florida, New Jersey, Missouri and Colorado—and will soon expand to Wisconsin and other states.
Early outcomes from the Butler Research Center show Hazelden Betty Ford's virtual IOP treatment is working well, with patients discharging "against medical advice" at a significantly lower rate than on-site IOP patients did previously—a good indicator of positive long-term outcomes. According to preliminary 1- and 3-month outcomes, Hazelden Betty Ford also has observed little to no difference between on-site and virtual IOP patients when it comes to: reported cravings, mental health symptoms, sobriety, confidence in staying sober, support group attendance, and quality of life.
"Virtual care for addiction and mental health is here to stay," Dr. Yadron said. "More than a stopgap solution during the pandemic, telehealth is filling important gaps in the behavioral health care system, empowering many patients to take a first step they might have otherwise delayed, and significantly expanding access. If these preliminary results hold long-term, virtual care stands to create transformative new possibilities for the millions in Colorado and across the nation who struggle with substance use and mental health issues."
About the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation's leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient addiction and co-occurring mental health treatment for adults and youth, the Foundation has 17 locations nationwide, with expansive on-site and telehealth solutions and a network of collaborators throughout health care. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical education programs, school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children who grow up in families with addiction. Learn more at www.HazeldenBettyFord.org and on Twitter @hazldnbettyford.