Ohio patients deserve the best SUD care.
I’ve been a nurse in Ohio for three decades and, for the past ten years, I’ve been focused on Opioid Use Disorder patients. I have never seen a more effective model than the collaborative, whole-patient approach at Boulder Care.
I believe that every patient's journey is unique, and it is important to provide care that addresses their specific challenges, circumstances, and goals. These beliefs are what led me to Boulder.
At Boulder, the patient is at the center of care.
Evidence and empathy take precedence and we all work together to keep our patients safe, alive, and moving forward in their own recovery. Boulder uses a team-based care model, which means as a clinician, I work alongside Peer Specialists who have lived experience with addiction, Care Navigators who manage such concerns as pharmacies and insurance, and Case Managers, who help connect patients to social services and resources in their own geographic area including referrals to mental health care providers, primary care providers, legal aid, employment, and housing services. As a complete team working with and for each patient, we can solve problems as quickly as they emerge and ensure that care is never interrupted.
This unique model supports people at every stage of recovery, empowering the patient with options for treatment that allow them to remain active with their families, employed, and able to meet life challenges that many people with the diagnosis of addiction may face in their lives.
I have treated a lot of sick people in my thirty year career, and I have seen just how challenging it can be for someone with a family, someone who is working, or someone who just has a busy life to obtain addiction medication in a timely manner and according to a schedule that works with their lives. Too often patients in outpatient settings have long waits to be seen by a provider who prescribes buprenorphine or naloxone, or face requirements to be seen weekly or even monthly to access their medication even when they are stable in their recovery. And if patients do not have transportation to get to required appointments as determined by the treatment facility, they are denied this life saving medication.
The Boulder Care telehealth model means we can provide care in a timely manner to patients at any stage of their recovery, wherever they are at. It is efficient, accessible, patient-centered, and cost effective as unnecessary appointments are not required.
And because we take a team-based approach, we have an unmatched freedom to develop innovative protocols – we work together to respond quickly to emerging trends in our patients’ needs and an ever changing drug supply.
Any interruption to an OUD patient’s access to their medication has the potential to derail their treatment, and since the risks associated with return to use are overdose and death, Boulder is built to ensure that never happens.
At Boulder, things get accomplished.
Recently I got a call from a patient who had just been released from prison and who did not have his insurance card. He was at a pharmacy and they were refusing to look his information up without it. I messaged our Case Manager and Care Navigator and they immediately sprung into action, contacting the pharmacy and insurance company.
My patient had his medication in his hand before I hung up.
This efficiency and competence exists at every level of the company. Because of our telehealth model, patients can go from doing an internet search for “opioid treatment in Ohio” to their first appointment before they change their mind. This ensures that when the person is ready for care, Boulder is available for help. And our patient outcomes prove the necessity of this level of clarity, dedication, and organization.
Boulder has a six month retention rate over twice the industry average, and 89% of our Ohio patients report feeling good or better about their recovery progress.
Boulder serves the full patient.
There’s more to Boulder than just what I do as a clinician. It's not easy to get the help you need when you're struggling with addiction or another stigmatized illness. Sometimes, even going to the doctor can be a challenge. Patients may not have their driver’s license yet, or they may be working on paying fines so they can have it reinstated. They’d be taking a risk by driving, but sometimes they’ll do it anyway because if they miss one of their outpatient appointments they’ll lose their access to their medicine. Ohio is a big state with a lot of rural patients and big distances to cover, but even for patients in cities, sometimes there are comorbidities that make it difficult to leave the house, physically or mentally.
Telehealth not only makes us more accessible, it also enables us to provide care on terms that work within patients inevitably complex lives, with evidence-based, clinically tested, FDA-approved treatments.
Boulder was the first place I had time to sit with my patients and really learn their needs. After years of having to see patients every 15 minutes, only ever seeing them in the de-personalized clinical setting, I now get to sit with them on a video chat from their homes. Some people might worry that this will be less personal, but I don’t believe they would hold that view if they experienced it fully. I had a parole officer ask me once why his telemedicine parolees seemed to fare so welI.
I told him: I've met the patient’s wife, I've met his children, I've watched him chop wood in his backyard. I've watched him watch football with his family in his garage. It may have been through a camera, but I've been to his house.
Our patients know we have their backs.
Patients like ours are terrified of losing their providers, terrified of violating some rule and losing access to their meds. Complications from losing care include returning to use, and that could be deadly. Despite that, the requirement at most detox programs, including the community mental health center where I worked for five years, is total abstinence. That meant that if a patient used marijuana–which is legal, medically, in Ohio–they had failed and were discharged. We would never cut a diabetic off from their meds for missing a single appointment or failing a test, but that anxiety constantly hangs over most OUD patients. Removing that anxiety increases their chance of getting control of their use, and of maintaining that control long term.
Boulder’s practice guidelines are firmly rooted in harm reduction: we never discharge anyone for missing appointments or returning to use.
That’s not just out of the goodness of our hearts–though Boulder’s ethos is also the most empathetic I’ve encountered–but because every indication is that it improves outcomes and saves lives.
Some of this certainty comes from careful analysis of data, and some of it comes from our unique approach, especially the inclusion of Peer Counselors. Peers have direct experience with recovery themselves, which means they have been through some of what the patients have been through. This gives them a unique perspective to provide a totally judgment free ear. Peers sit in on our sessions, they make themselves available to offer support and advice without any restrictions, and they care deeply about seeing a patient through to success.
Peers are invaluable, and they’re involved in the company at every level.
Of course, they are present for the patients, offering them an around-the-clock, deep understanding and shoulder. But, crucially, Peers also help me understand what patients may be experiencing, and how much stigma and how many obstacles they often face in their road to recovery. Peers help us understand our rural patients, our patients in poverty, and our patients with severe trauma. Knowing they’re available to my team and my patients in distress is an enormous gift.
Boulder care teams provide wrap-around care that helps patients with all they face as they enter recovery, be that physical, mental, emotional, or social. We want our patients to know that it's okay to take things one step at a time. Even if they're not stable enough yet to go to the dentist or get tested for Hep C, what's important is they have a caring network to support them as they take those first steps towards a healthier life. Then, when they’re ready, we are able to refer them to the additional services they need.
We don’t just treat SUDs, we treat the people who have SUDs.
That’s what Boulder is, and that’s why I’ll work at Boulder for as long as they’ll let me.