Helping patients stay in recovery from an opioid addiction was never easy. The coronavirus crisis made it harder.
Nationwide, addiction treatment clinics are expanding their hours, hiring more staff to take people’s temperatures, providing home delivery and curbside pickup for medication, and revamping procedures to limit human contact in what has been a high-touch health care service.
Without more money, the cost of retooling their services could put some providers out of business.
At West Midtown Medical Group, a methadone clinic in Manhattan, New York, the once-routine business of providing roughly 900 patients a daily cup of lifesaving addiction medicine has been upended.
Allegra Schorr, one of the clinic’s owners, predicts much more change in the weeks ahead.
“The reality is that there are just no good answers here,” Schorr said. “Every day we use our best clinical judgement to limit transmission of the virus. But at the same time, we’re trying to keep our patients in treatment and protect them from overdose. It’s a balancing act, and it’s extremely challenging.”