Stacey Pearce, aged 43, Chief Compliance Officer at Alliance Recovery Centers, in Georgia, started working in an OTP in 1995 as a part-time receptionist. “It was one of three jobs to pay my rent and bills,” she said. “I never had intentions of working in substance abuse treatment, and didn’t think I would make a career of it. But I really enjoyed watching the changes people were able to make in their lives after entering medication-assisted treatment.”
She decided that she wanted to work in the field, and changed her college classes to reflect that.
Mrs. Pearce has developed good relationships with many people in state offices to identify and meet the needs of patients and providers in the state. Among her other accomplishments, she opened an OTP in an underserved area in 2002 at the age of 27; has been a CARF surveyor; has been an active and involved AATOD board member for more than a decade; received the Nyswander-Dole (“Marie”) award; and helped organize Methadone Treatment Awareness Day at the state capitol.
Her top goal currently is to get a bundled rate from Medicaid, to cover take-home medication. She also wants OTPs and office-based providers to have better relationships, so patients “can receive more coordinated care that suits their needs and enhances their recovery,” she said. “Higher-need patients can be treated in OTPs, and once they become stable, and lower need, they can transition to OBOT.”
Pearce also wants to decrease stigma within the Department of Family and Children Services, and to be able to coordinate better with patients when there are open cases.
Finally, she wants to have medication-assisted treatment in the state’s correctional facilities.
Ms. Pearce urges more collaboration among OTPs. “I think one of the missing pieces within the leadership of many OTPs is a sense of commitment to the field as a whole and a willingness to do things for the greater good,” she said. “Many people are inwardly focused and involved in what is going on in their clinic or their small area of the world and are missing the broader conversation. By not being involved in the providers organization or group in your state, and not attending the national AATOD conference, you are missing opportunities for growth and learning. All levels of clinic personnel need to be involved in things and attend educational opportunities, or the facility will become stagnant and out of touch.”