Home-Based Recovery Program Shows Positive Results

By Paul Gaita 04/11/17

Anthem Blue Cross has reported that 72% of the insurance-based, at-home recovery program's clients are sober, or still in treatment, after one year. 

illustration of doctor and patient

The state of New Hampshire has suffered considerable losses in its war against opioid addiction, with statistics showing that more than 1,600 individuals have died from drug overdose since 2012. But a host of policy initiatives, from the expansion of drug courts to tougher prescription laws, have chipped away at the free-falling overdose statistics—admissions for opioid treatment and opioid-related emergency room visits both dropped 5% between January and February 2017. This has given hope to state residents and legislators alike that treatment may help save more lives. 

One such treatment that has shown a remarkably high percentage of successful recovery is Aware Recovery Care, a Connecticut-based company that began treating patients in New Hampshire earlier in 2017. Aware's approach is centered around year-long, home-based treatment, allowing patients to recover in a familiar environment while connecting them with medical professionals and medication-assisted treatment—as well as additional support from therapists, case managers and 12-step meetings. If necessary, clients may also benefit from urine screenings and GPS tracking.

"99% of the industry really treats addiction as an acute problem—like a rash on your arm that you rub lotion on and you're done," Matt Eacott, vice president of Aware Recovery Care, told NHPR.

The insurance-based, at-home treatment program costs $38,000 for a full year and is currently only available to private-pay clients and Anthem subscribers in New Hampshire and Connecticut. Anthem Blue Cross reports that 72% of its patients are sober after the end of one year, or remain in active treatment—about twice the sobriety rate of people who check into a rehab facility for a month and then receive no follow-up care.

That figure is key to reason why clients like Hannah Berkowitz, a 20-year-old Connecticut resident, signed up with Aware to treat a long history of drug use and relapse. Her mother, Lois, said that the level of program involvement and support was intensive at first, but as Hannah developed the tools to maintain her sobriety, Aware's professionals allowed her to take greater control.

"It's not like they're doing the work for the addict," said Lois. "They're basically taking them by the hand and saying, 'Here are the places you need to go that will help you. And I'm going to go with you to start, so it doesn't feel that uncomfortable. And then we're going to let you fly."

Testimony and results like Hannah's are among the reasons why a major insurer like Anthem has thrown its weight behind Aware. Dr. Stephen Korn, one of the company's behavioral experts, was initially skeptical of Aware's claim, but found that its hands-on, science-driven approach offered a new and rewarding alternative. Dr. Korn, a believer in the program, even helped Aware receive a contract with Anthem. "There are old, old notions [in addiction treatment] that have hung pretty tough," he noted. "When I was in training, as soon as substance abuse was mentioned, the response of physicians was, 'Well, go to AA. That's not our problem. We don't treat that.'" 

A spokesperson for Aware said that the company hopes to increase its client base by a few hundred by the end of 2017, and is in negotiations with four other insurance companies.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.