Brighton Hospital: Dan McCormick, Interim President

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The first addiction hospital licensed in the state of Michigan and the second oldest addiction treatment program in the nation is Brighton Hospital, which was founded in 1948. The hospital campus sits on 92 acres east of Brighton, Michigan. The organization has approximately 100 beds in its various facilities. They offer medical supervised detoxification services, rehabilitation services, and partial hospitalization. They also have a half-way house for men and women and both family and children’s programs to support co-dependencies found within families when treating alcohol and drug addiction. The hospital operates with about 250 employees.

“I would say principally our most valuable resource is the committed, dedicated, passionate staff that serves the families who suffer from alcoholism and drug abuse,” says Dan McCormick, Interim President. “A good percentage of our employees are recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, so they bring an empathy and compassion to the treatment process when they deal with patients, family and outsiders. They have a keen understanding of the disease, the disease progression and what it takes to achieve a successful recovery over a lifetime.”

Expanding Reach

The next stage of strategic planning at Brighton Hospital will engage all the stakeholders, from the employee base and professional counseling staff to the providers and referral sources. McCormick expects opioid addiction treatment services, after-care recovery support services and medical services that are often necessary with the addictive patient to receive particular focus.

“Often times the alcoholic or drug addict also has psychiatric problems that require intervention,” he says. “As well, some patients present to us with diminished physical health capacity, so being able to serve their medical and psychiatric needs as well as their addiction is important.”

Ultimately, the mission is to provide the community with quality, cost effective chemical dependency and behavioral health services. They work to balance the needs of patients with the resources at their disposal and to the extent that they can increase the number of patients and families served.

Greater Access for Health and Addiction Services

Federal Parity Legislation, passed in 2008, means employers and health plans that offer mental health or addiction benefits must offer those benefits under the same terms and conditions as other medical benefits are being offered. This eliminates the old 30-day coverage rules, for instance. “We don’t say that for any another disease,” says McCormick. “Cardiac or oncology, orthopedics or whatever, we cover the whole spectrum based on medical necessity.”

“Federal Parity is going to create greater access for mental health and addiction services. More people are going to have quality mental health , behavioral health, and addiction services available to them,” he says. The jury is out on a couple of things; with more people accessing those services and no new money coming into the system, you would expect that may have the effect of increasing the downward pressure on pricing and the downward pressure on controlling costs within the system. That will cause providers to have to look at new, creative ways of delivering addiction and mental health services in a resource-constrained environment. I think the current health reform initiative is another example of increasing access without increasing the funds available.  It will precipitate a process that will challenge us to find new creative ways of delivery including different care models as well as the use of technology to both support and deliver care.”

Utilizing Information Technology

“In the world that we are living in today, and increasingly in the future, technology will be a standard platform that will be used to not only to support the care delivery side, but to promote a higher level of engagement in long term recovery,” says McCormick. Web-based recovery support programs assist by keeping patients connected with various recovery support services.

“We see use of those kinds of platforms being increasingly important. If you look at technology ranging from mobile phones to web-based programs to telemedicine to various type of diagnostic and interventional tools … there’s very fertile ground there for us to expand and extend the services that we offer,” McCormick says. “Something as simple as a web or phonebased assessment  and brief intervention can have material effect on alcohol or drug consumption. As we look at that as an indicator, we are very excited about the broader use of technology in addiction prevention, treatment and recovery.”

Management also looks forward to completing the implementation of the electronic health record, enabling them to track and trend the overall outcomes achieved with the patient population, as well as provide opportunities for cost savings and enhanced care delivery.

The Future of Addiction Care

“Brighton Hospital has unique value in the market because we’ve been delivering addiction treatment services for 60 years now. We have seen the trends and cycles in marketplace and the way society and individual patients view addiction. We’ve moved from addiction being a moral failing to a recognition that addiction is a chronic disease, just like diabetes or hypertension are chronic diseases. What we need to do is engage those affected with chronic disease in a treatment and recovery program that will enable them to manage their care–their chronic condition with appropriate support–over a lifetime.

by T.M. Simmons

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