As policymakers and health professionals scramble to address the nation’s opioid epidemic, the University of Bridgeport’s Division of Health Sciences (UBHS) is providing solutions by delivering addiction-free treatments to individuals at federally funded community health centers throughout Connecticut.
In its latest venture signed earlier this year, UBHS will expand community outreach efforts by teaming up with Optimus Health Care of Bridgeport to provide chiropractic and acupuncture to patients at Optimus clinics in Stamford and Bridgeport.
Under the five-year agreement, doctors from the UB’s College of Chiropractic teaching faculty, post-doctoral chiropractic residents, and supervised UB chiropractic students will serve patients, including those on expanded Medicaid, who suffer from chronic and acute pain caused by neuro-musculoskeletal conditions.
The partnership with Optimus is modeled after a pilot program that UB launched in 2012 with a similar federally qualified health center and included expanded Medicaid benefits to cover chiropractic care.
A study of the pilot program commissioned by the Weitzman Institute found that patient satisfaction after receiving chiropractic care provided by UB was 98.5 percent. Moreover, patients reported “significant improvement” in their ability to engage in daily activities without the use of prescription pain medication.
“It’s been so successful that we’re replicating the program with Optimus,” said UB Vice President of Health Sciences Dr. David M. Brady.
“The federal government is trying to come up with a way to treat pain to curb opioid addiction because it’s clearly evident that pain medicine can’t be the only answer to chronic and acute pain,” Dr. Brady added. “It’s unfortunate that people who are covered under Medicaid—low-income and urban populations—didn’t have the ability to access this kind of care. Now they do.”
Optimus Chief Medical Officer Dr. Karin Michels-Ashwood said, “We believe the population we serve should have alternative ways to manage pain. Our partnership with UB allows Optimus to support resident training in our community while expanding pain-free treatment options for our patients.”
The UB-Optimus program begins March 13 and will be run under the direction of and Dr. Michels-Ashwood and Dr. James Lehman, program director for the post-graduate resident training program at UB College of Chiropractic.
Funding for the program, including salaries for faculty and post-doctoral residents, is available through the Affordable Care Act.
“While patients clearly benefit from expanded treatment options, the partnership with Optimus also enhances clinical training experiences at the UB Health Sciences programs, starting with the College of Chiropractic,” said Dr. Lehman.
“This is just the beginning, and we are negotiating with partners to provide similar programs in New Jersey and elsewhere,” he added.
Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625, firstname.lastname@example.org