A new outpatient medication-assisted addiction treatment center will open next week in the town of Culpeper in partnership with a familiar medical professional.

Nashville, Tennessee-based SaVida Health will open the center July 15 in the strip mall at 767 Madison Rd., Suite 107, facing Southridge Parkway next to the chiropractic office. Local physician Dr. Alta DeRoo will integrate her existing Culpeper-area medication-assisted treatment practice with SaVida.

In addition to being a gynecologist/obstetrician with the local hospital, DeRoo is certified in addiction medicine and has been offering the service locally for more than two years in partnership with Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services.

SaVida Health provides outpatient medication-assisted treatment for opioid and alcohol addiction in addition to counseling, case management and long-term support, according to company spokeswoman Lisa Hayes. The Culpeper clinic will be the third in Virginia, with other locations in Front Royal and Woodbridge. SaVida Health operates a total of 11 clinics, also in Massachusetts, Vermont and Delaware.

Most medication-assisted treatment programs accept cash only for payment, said Hayes, but SaVida Health accepts Medicaid, Medicare and most forms of private insurance.

“This is a big difference,” she said. “It makes it a lot more affordable.”

In a statement, DeRoo said the new partnership would mean higher quality and more holistic care for patients than what it is now available in Culpeper. The new practice will employ the Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services program of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services to provide a full range of medical treatment for patients struggling with addiction—including prescribing medications like Suboxone and Vivitrol to help free people from addiction to opioids and/or alcohol.

Such treatments typically cost hundreds of dollars, but will require a small or no co-pay at SaVida Health Culpeper. With recent changes to Virginia Medicaid eligibility requirements, many more residents are now eligible for medication-assisted treatment, according to SaVida Health.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, more than 1,500 people died in the state in 2017 from drug overdoses—nearly 80 percent of those involved opioids. Culpeper County has led the state in overdose mortality rates.

“We look at where the need is,” said Hayes of why the company chose to open a practice in Culpeper.

The goal of SaVida Health clinics, she added, is to see clients within 24 hours of the initial appointment request. “It’s an urgent call that can’t really wait,” Hayes said.

In addition to being board certified in addiction medicine, DeRoo has been a board certified obstetrician for 17 years. This combination of expertise makes her practice extremely rare and valuable, according to SaVida Health.

“Pregnant women with an opioid use disorder need specialized treatment to mitigate the effects on baby in an effort to ease symptoms of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome,” DeRoo said. “Involvement in a treatment program assists the mom to engage with her OBGYN, reduces harm to mom and baby and enables an opportunity for a team approach involving communication with the OBGYN and pediatric providers.”

The opioid epidemic has affected families from coast to coast, said Tom Purkins, SaVida Health vice president and general manager, in a statement.

“Unfortunately, patients and families often lack information about effective treatment options for this chronic disease,” he said. “We help educate patients and their families. We also meet our patients where they are in their recovery and help them take important next steps, whether that is moving forward from a relapse or supporting their sobriety.”

The Culpeper clinic will open next week with a staff of six, including Dr. DeRoo, a nurse practitioner, medical assistant, counselor, center manager and case manager. It will be open Mondays from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Tuesday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

An estimated 45 patients already being treated by DeRoo will transfer to SaVida Health. To schedule an appointment or make a confidential inquiry, call 833/356-4080.

“There’s an 85 percent relapse rate for abstinence-based treatment,” the doctor told the Star-Exponent in a 2017 interview of the nature of drug addiction. “This isn’t a willpower or a character issue—it’s a medical issue.”

According to its web site, SaVida Health is committed to pursuing the most effective forms of evidence-based, outpatient addiction treatment with care and empathy.

Jim LeGraffe, director of Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services that operates an inpatient addiction treatment center in Culpeper, said the agency supports all efforts in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

He said Dr. DeRoo is continuing to work with the agency to offer medication-assisted treatment for its clients.

“We have a limited ability to provide this service and increasing our region’s capacity to meet this community need we view as very positive,” LeGraff said. “I have met with SaVida on a couple of occasions and believe they are committed to best practice of medication, case management and counseling.”

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