WellCare expands access to opioid addiction treatment options

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new and unique challenges for public health officials in Kentucky, including addressing the growing opioid health crisis across the commonwealth. In response, WellCare of Kentucky announced today Groups Recover Together, an industry leader in value-based care for opioid use disorder (OUD), has joined its network of providers to help members struggling with addiction.

Opioid use has deeply affected Kentuckians. The Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy reported that opioids and other drugs have caused more than 1,500 deaths a year in Kentucky. The CDC indicates the per capita death rate from overdose is higher in Kentucky (30.9 per 100,000) compared to the U.S. average (20.7 per 100,000).

“Opioid use has destroyed individuals and families, and puts tremendous strain on community resources,” said Bill Jones, WellCare’s plan president and CEO in Kentucky. “We welcome Groups Recover Together to Kentucky, where they will offer a successful approach to treating opioid use disorder to our members in rural areas.”

Groups Recover Together is currently moving into Kentucky, opening a total of 10 new offices across the state by end of year, including the following locations:

  • London (Laurel County)
  • Lexington (Fayette County)
  • Richmond (Madison County)
  • Hazard (Perry County)
  • Pikeville (Pike County)
  • Erlanger (Kenton County)

These centers, which will serve up to 1,000 WellCare members across the state, will use a uniquely effective clinical model that combines evidence-based medicine with community support and holistic care. By helping members form a community, seek care for comorbidities, and address social determinants of health, Groups Recover Together drives industry-leading outcomes. For example, Groups Recover Together reports the number of members who remain in the program at six months is more than double the industry average, with 90% of members attending group therapy meetings each week.

“To get the great results that individuals and communities deserve, providers need to do more than just prescribe medications. Providers must support patients holistically, addressing their emotional needs, their social needs, their medical needs, and ultimately their total quality of life,” said Dr. Jacob “Gus” Crothers, national medical director at Groups Recover Together. “We are pleased to partner with WellCare of Kentucky to offer members access to high-quality, comprehensive treatment for opioid addiction.”

New rules regarding the coverage of telehealth services are enabling Groups Recover Together to offer counselor-led group therapy through teleconferencing—an integral component of the treatment—while still adhering to the state’s safe-at-home guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Groups Recover Together is CARF-accredited, licensed and compliant with all Kentucky state regulations. They will initially hold required group meetings virtually in support of Kentucky’s Health at Work initiatives.

As of May 31, 2020, WellCare of Kentucky is the largest provider of Medicaid services in Kentucky serving 449,000 Medicaid members across the state.

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