“Our virtual outpatient care and other telehealth resources and services are proving to be effective and convenient, and have enabled us to expand options to reach more people as substance use and mental health concerns continue to escalate on the tail of the pandemic,” said Hazelden Betty Ford President and CEO Joseph Lee, MD. “We are grateful to collaborate with others throughout Arizona and New Mexico to help bring healing and hope to more individuals, families and communities.”
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 sites across the country, expansive telehealth solutions and a growing network of collaborators throughout health care. Its collaborators in Arizona and New Mexico include Aurora Behavioral Healthcare Systems, Camelback Recovery, In Balance Continuum of Care, and Scottsdale Providence Recovery Center—all of which are preferred providers in the Hazelden Betty Ford Patient Care Network.
Hazelden Betty Ford recently was approved to provide insurance-eligible virtual intensive outpatient (IOP) addiction treatment services to individuals and families throughout Arizona and New Mexico. Designed to replicate Hazelden Betty Ford’s on-site patient-care experience, its 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, residents of Arizona and New Mexico had to travel to a facility in another state. Now, they can access it right from their homes.
“Regardless of where you live in Arizona or New Mexico, if you have commercial health insurance and a computer, you and your family members are now eligible to participate in therapy without traveling anywhere,” said Zachary Fuchs, Hazelden Betty Ford’s outreach specialist for the two states. “Soon, we will be offering virtual mental health care in these states as well.”
Other RecoveryGo™ resources and services now available in Arizona, New Mexico 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 New Mexico and Arizona school systems 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 state 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 in New Mexico and Arizona who are also committed to reducing the negative impact of addiction, we’ll be able to bring hope and healing to underserved rural populations and others throughout the states,” said Samantha Pauley, national director of virtual services at Hazelden Betty Ford.
A leader in its industry and longtime provider of telehealth solutions, Hazelden Betty Ford transitioned all of its “outpatients” nationwide at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 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. A year later, Hazelden Betty Ford has now provided virtual outpatient care to thousands of people throughout the United States.
Early outcomes from the Butler Research Center show Hazelden Betty Ford’s virtual intensive outpatient (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 is here to stay,” Pauley 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 thousands in Arizona and New Mexico and millions across the nation who struggle with substance use.”
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 mental health care for adults and youth, the Foundation has treatment centers and telehealth services nationwide as well as 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.
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