Expanding Kolmac’s Reach – A New Chapter at Kolmac
The Kolmac outpatient detoxification, rehabilitation, and continued care treatment services will soon become more widely available through a relationship we have just entered into with WindRose Health Investors, a New York-based private equity firm. Through this new partnership, we will be combining Kolmac’s clinical expertise with WindRose’s experience in expanding healthcare organizations in order to establish new Kolmac programs in urban areas outside of Washington and Baltimore. This is the start of a new chapter at Kolmac.
When we first began this journey in 1973 with the launch of Kolmac, we had the narrow goal of trying to provide an effective addiction treatment option to those whose need to maintain their jobs prevented them from receiving treatment in residential settings. In the process of creating an outpatient alternative to traditional inpatient treatment, however, we inadvertently achieved other things as well.
First, we invented a level of care which had previously not existed, but which has now come to be known as intensive outpatient treatment, or “IOP.” This three-hour treatment unit is long enough to create a therapeutic milieu—the foundation of addiction treatment programs—while short enough to fit into the daily life of a person who is employed full time.
Second, we added outpatient detoxification and follow up weekly continuing care, thus creating a comprehensive outpatient treatment “sandwich.” With this latter step, which was less intensive but longer lasting than IOP, we successfully addressed one of the primary problems with addiction treatment: premature treatment termination. Like any other chronic, incurable disease, substance use disorders have the best outcomes when continuity of treatment is maximized. This is exactly what the outpatient “sandwich” accomplishes.
I was heartened early on when the IOP treatment model was initially adopted across the country, becoming formally endorsed by professional organizations and payers as an acceptable level of treatment. Over the years, however, some of that encouragement turned into disappointment as I watched our model being “watered down.” For example, some programs never meet more than three times a week, rather than five. Groups are led by a single clinician rather than being co-led by two, and medical staff are not sufficiently accessible. As a result, the full potential of our model’s efficacy has not yet been fully seen by others.
The problem of opioid addiction and overdose—touching nearly every corner of the country—is at record heights and in the center of the media’s attention almost daily. As the healthcare industry continues to draw up and explore new approaches, it is important that we don’t lose sight of tried-and-true approaches that have proven to be effective time and again. It is my hope that with the focus of this new partnership to make fully-resourced Kolmac programs more widely available to those who need them most, we will be doing just that. We are excited to begin a new chapter at Kolmac.
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