ELKTON — Cecil County quietly received a new batch of resources in its fight against substance abuse last month when Ashley Addiction Treatment opened a new clinic here.
The regionally renowned provider, formerly known as Father Martin’s Ashley, has been running an intensive outpatient program (IOP), medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program and monitored, off-site detoxification program at its new Union Hospital location since Dec. 12.
It’s the second such satellite clinic run by Ashley, which still operates its original 100-bed residential program in Havre de Grace, after it opened one at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health in Bel Air in 2015.
“Our IOP clinics are going to be our extensions out into the community,” explained Marc Butler, clinical outreach representative for Ashley. “We’re confident we’ll have the same impact here as we have in Bel Air.”
The clinic, located at a leased space at 111 W. High St., Suite 109, will be able to see up to 150 patients daily and will accept private insurers and medical assistance programs. It operates Monday through Saturday, with evening hours available.
The detox program is offered for benzodiazepines, alcohol and opiates, with a patient physically coming to Ashley’s Elkton clinic every day while detoxing, typically for three to five days. There, a patient is tested, examined and medicated to ensure the detox is safely proceeding. Butler noted that if physicians feel they cannot safely detox a patient on an outpatient basis they would work with them to obtain placement at a residential program.
“The majority of the time, we actually are able to detox on an outpatient basis,” he said, noting Ashley has seen success with outpatient detox at its Bel Air clinic. “We saw a niche here in Cecil County that could be filled by outpatient detox. Not everyone can step away from what they’re doing for 28 days.”
Dr. Mariana Izraelson, outpatient services program director at Ashley, emphasized the impact that will have on the community.
“Because we’re able to offer ambulatory detoxification or partial hospitalization in an outpatient setting it really facilitates for patients who would normally go to the ER or a residential program, and gives them an avenue to continue attending their family functions, taking care of their children and working,” he said. “We’re similar to an urgent care center because we can treat people for their needs at that time.”
Meanwhile, Ashley’s IOP program is an eight-week commitment of three hours of group counseling four times a week along with 30 minutes of individual counseling every other week. IOP patients then likely transfer to a stepped-down outpatient setting of visits once or twice a week.
“We’re here to promote long-term recovery, so we’ll stay with our patients as long as we need to,” Izraelson said.
The MAT program offers a variety of medications, including vivitrol, buprenorphine, naloxone and suboxone, but notably not methadone. A patient’s enrollment into a MAT program is based upon a comprehensive health assessment and discussions with a team of providers, Butler said. A MAT patient is required to attend counseling sessions while on the medication.
Ashley officials emphasized that their offerings also served pregnant women and that a family program developed by the Hazelden Foundation would also help to educate families affected by addiction. Part of the appeal of the Ashley program is its connection to the residential program in Havre de Grace, where a patient can easily be connected for a higher level of care.
Ken Collins, director of the Cecil County Health Department’s Alcohol and Drug Recovery Center, which also operates an IOP program but not a detox program, called Ashley’s clinic “one more piece of the puzzle” toward fighting substance abuse in the county.
“They have a reputation for providing high-quality treatment with an established history here in the region. It’s good for Cecil County,” he said. “Their addition will make treatment more accessible and help more people.”
Rod Kornrumpf, director of behavioral health at Union Hospital, said the arrival of Ashley to Union’s Elkton facility is a much-needed addition.
“Having a credible provider like Ashley in this market really upgrades the service array that we have available to serve those folks who are coming out of our emergency department, medical beds or behavioral health unit,” he said. “They don’t have to go somewhere else, they can get those services right here in the downtown, close to home.”
Kornrumpf said he’s already heard praise from Union officials about the ability to connect patients to Ashley’s services over its first few weeks.
That connection will only grow in the coming years as Ashley moves its Elkton clinic to the future Behavioral Health Crisis Center being planned by Union Hospital off Railroad Avenue, which will centralize all outpatient behavioral health services at Union Hospital. Izraelson said Ashley has been involved in the design of the building, which is slated to break ground this spring and be completed in the spring of 2018.
Butler said the Elkton clinic may not be the end of Ashley’s expansion as well, with considerations for future sites in discussion.
“The goal is really to help more people,” he said.