You only want the best for those you care about. That’s why South Carolina Primary Care Specialists was created, and it’s why our medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program (through our parent company, Ohio Valley Physicians) meets the stringent requirements to be accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
Ohio Valley Physicians (OVP) is headquartered in Huntington, West Virginia – widely considered to be the epicenter of the opioid epidemic. So, we’re uniquely qualified bring a high level of expertise and experience to South Carolina. OVP began offering medication-assisted treatment in 2011, when an OVP physician learned a close friend was struggling with addiction.
Chief Operating Officer
“One of our providers came to me and said, ‘I want to be able to provide services to my friend,’” said Ohio Valley Physicians CEO Stacey Shy. “I said, ‘OK, we’ll look into it.’ It was that simple. We wanted to be able to help our family members, friends and neighbors. Addiction is something that affects all of us.”
Since the day OVP opened its first MAT office in Gallipolis, Ohio, a commitment to the latest standards and treatment plans has remained a top priority. Operating throughout West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and now, South Carolina, means having an in-depth understanding of each state’s guidelines and each community’s values, said Paul Cowsar, vice president of clinical services at OVP.
“We worked very hard to establish the program the right way, but it wasn’t until we started comparing ourselves to national standards that we realized we really were doing a phenomenal thing here,” Cowsar said. “The accreditation process was eye-opening in a lot of ways. It showed us what we were doing well and what we could be doing better.”
The program’s two main components, medication and counseling, are keys to its success, explained Adam Blanton, PA, a physician assistant at South Carolina Primary Care Specialists in Myrtle Beach. Buprenorphine, a medication that blocks the symptoms of withdrawal but doesn’t allow the user to get high, allows clients to reach clinical stability. Then, the real work begins, he said.
“Buprenorphine is a great medication that gives patients a sense of feeling normal again and allows them to get their everyday lives on track,” said Blanton. “It also gives them the opportunity to get the vital counseling they need from our counseling partners at Shoreline Behavioral Health Services in Conway. We have a great relationship with Shoreline. We communicate very well with each other and discuss the care and progress of each individual patient to make sure they’re getting what they need to stay on the road to recovery.”
Adam Blanton, PA
Physician Assistant, Myrtle Beach, SC
At Circle Park Behavioral Health Services in Florence, South Carolina, nurse practitioner Krista Poulton, FNP-BC, oversees medication-assisted treatment and primary medical care for a growing number of patients suffering from opioid addiction in that region of the state.
“It’s rewarding when you have patients who are doing well and beginning to see that they can have nice, fluid thoughts again and not have to worry about how they’re going to get their next fix or if they’re going to get caught trying to find it,” said Poulton. “And then our goal is to work with them and their counselors at Circle Park to taper the medication to a point that they can be completely off it within 18 to 24 months.”
South Carolina Primary Care Specialist’s support of clients continues long after they’ve completed the program, with family medicine and primary care services provided at all MAT offices. For many clients, it’s the first time they’ve had access to medical care since their addiction began.
Krista Poulton, FNP-BC
Nurse Practitioner, Florence, SC
“A lot of people entering sobriety have health issues they need to address,” Shy said. “We’re able to address all of those, whether it’s upper respiratory issues or hepatitis C or you just had the flu. Whatever it is, you can come here and get those issues addressed.”
It’s a genuine, nonjudgmental commitment to clients that guides them to success, from the small things, like waking up in the morning and taking a shower, to the big ones, like reentering the workforce and restoring relationships.
“The CARF accreditation is important to us because it holds us to a higher standard,” said Micca Ratliff, OVP’s director of compliance. “We want to know that we’re doing the best job we can. And if there’s something out there that could help us do a better job, we want to know about it. We want to stay up to date on the latest research and regulations to make sure our patients are getting the best services possible.”
She said when the treatment program is held to the highest possible standard, clients aim for a higher standard themselves.
“We want our clients to know they’re not going to walk up one day and see a notice on the door that we’ve closed,” she said. “We’re going to be there. We’re going to help them. We’re going to be held to the highest standard, and we’re going to hold them to a high standard, too. We want what’s best for them.”
We are in the business of helping people to heal their lives from the destruction of the disease of addiction. We believe that addiction is a primary physiological illness, progressive in nature and terminal if left untreated. We know that we have solutions and that any patient who follows our treatment plan will begin to heal.
We believe that as long as an addict is alive, there is hope for healing. We act with the certainty that our every contact with a practicing addict may be that addict’s last, best chance at recovery, and that every crisis is an opportunity to bring an addict into recovery.
We commit ourselves, as our first priority, to the patient in treatment. Next, in the certain knowledge that we can help, we commit ourselves to finding the addict who still suffers. We recognize that key to our continued success are our ability to reach the addict in need and our willingness to take immediate action to help.
We acknowledge that value of the service we provide, and we honor ourselves and our work with our sincere, unreserved assertion of that value. We understand that our opportunities to provide service and our energies to seek compensation for it are interdependent.
We know that each of our patients is at the center of a wide circle, and that within this circle are our patient’s best support in recovery and our next opportunities to provide treatment.
We constantly seek ways to improve our work and to demonstrate our empathy and respect for one another and for our patients. We recognize and celebrate effort, and we acknowledge that mistakes, as long as we are trying, are opportunities to learn. We commit to continuous improvement and growth.
It is our fundamental belief that the work we do is of social and material value to our clients and the community, and that people, both those we work with and those we serve, are our greatest and most precious asset.