TMH Suboxone Clinic temporarily closed to new patients |

TMH Suboxone Clinic temporarily closed to new patients

Sasha Nelson
Many of today's most addictive drugs are not being sold by drug dealers on street corners but can be found in almost every home inside the medicine cabinet. Opiates have long been used by physicians to help their patients deal with pain, but one of the worst side affects of opiates is addiction. Suboxone patches are used to help treat people addicted to opiates.
John F. Russell

— The Memorial Hospital Suboxone Clinic temporarily suspended new patient intake so the hospital can review processes and documentation to ensure its paid for services.

For most of 2016, TMH provided a Suboxone Clinic as one of the local treatment options for people working to overcome opioid and opiate addiction.

During his executive report at the Board of Trustees December meeting, Hospital CEO Andy Daniels announced a temporary hold on the service.

“Documentation was not allowing us to get paid,” he said.

The closure only impacts new patients.

“Prior to the end of last year, we did close the clinic to new patients, however we are still working with established patients,” said Vice President of Hospital Operations Jennifer Riley in an email.

Suboxone is a drug used to help people overcome addiction to opiates and opioids, according to the website

“Opiate addiction is a physical, chronic disease — like type 2 diabetes. The dependent person is not using maliciously but rather because of a biological impairment, made worse over time,” according to a powerpoint presentation by Mind Springs Health Moffat County Program Director Craig Thornhill.

In 2014 there were a total of 70 overdose deaths in the five-county region, including Moffat, Routt, Grand, Jackson and Rio Blanco counties, according to Northwest Colorado Accountable Care Collaborative Medicaid Population Opioid Data.

“Since 2002 to present, we have doubled or tripled the number of opioid related overdose deaths in every one of these counties,” Thornhill wrote. “With the increasing use of prescription opiates, the opiate dependent person is no longer the stereotype — they are our friends, our children, mother or father, sister or brother, husband or wife, coworker.”

As communities in the region work to reduce opioid related addiction, local treatment options are important, officials have said.

“There is a need for local treatment options,” said Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta.

However, local treatment options are limited.

“In the area, The Foundry is the only residential treatment program in over 100 miles. There are out patient options such as Mind Springs,” said The Foundry Treatment Center Director of Admission and Aftercare Scott Kindel. “In Steamboat Springs there is only one doctor who, I believe, was not taking new prescriptions.”

People needing help must travel.

“I know people who travel to Silverthorne, or farther, for treatment,” Kindel said.

It is uncertain when TMH will again accept new patients for treatment with suboxone.

“We are currently evaluating our Suboxone Clinic and how we can best, and holistically, provide care to patients in need,” Riley said. “We are meeting with providers to determine how we can proceed and do not have an estimated time for when this service may become available again.”

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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