Waller says the patients are not chastised nor forced to agree to treatment plans dictated by the medical staff. "We don't have them sign any contracts and that is the big thing," he says. "If you have someone with true pain or who has a true neurobiological addiction who is not being treated they are not going to adhere to some contract because they don't see risk and benefit the same way we do."
The program is expected to grow as more eligible patients learn about it and understand that it's not a trick.
"They're scared. They think it is a bust," Waller says. "When they realize we are trying to get them some help they come back. It's a matter of getting them to trust us. Now we have a core group of patients in the neighborhood saying 'they are here to help you out.'"
As many as 40% of the center's patients are neurobiologically addicted to some substance. Waller says the center has successfully developed a treatment regimen that couples medication with behavioral therapy and modification. "More than 90% have stayed clean since they started treatment here," he says.
The net savings of $300,000 in six weeks and the drop in ED use has attracted the attention of payers, including commercial insurers with Medicaid plans.