Community Health Centers of Burlington announced it has reached a landmark in the number of patients served by its program that uses medication to treat opiate addiction.
Medication Assisted Treatment, or MAT, uses drugs like buprenorphine in combination with education and counseling to help people manage opiate addiction.
Community Health Centers of Burlington report more than 400 people served in its MAT program.
Medical director Dr. Heather Stein said a key to the expansion is having a team dedicated to the program.
“They're able to check in with patients, make sure there are no barriers to them making it to appointments, no barriers to them making it to the pharmacy," she said. "They also help us manage the nuts and bolts of addiction treatment — so that's bringing people in for random urine drug screens and making sure that they're able to come in for their appointments.”
Stein said success for the MAT program means meeting the needs of the patients.
“We don't want there to be any delays for them. We don't want them to have to be on a waitlist for six months and putting themselves in jeopardy or their families at risk,” she said. “We also just want to take care of our patients.”
And Stein said they want to add more staff to the MAT team to keep up with the workload.
"Whenever one of them takes a day off, it's a little bit rough for everybody else,” she said. “They're pretty strapped sort of managing and taking care of that many patients.”