Contract to be developed for new opioid treatment program in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County could be getting another option for treating opioid addiction after action taken by the Salish Behavioral Health Organization.

Last week, SBHO’s executive board voted to develop a contract with BayMark Health Services for the operation of opiate treatment programs in Kitsap and Clallam counties, said Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias, who sits on the board.

“Having a comprehensive outpatient treatment program is a huge step forward in our community,” said Clallam County Public Health Officer Dr. Chris Frank.

“It’s something that our community has been missing, and it has been needed for a while.”

Clallam County had 62 documented overdoses last year and at least six deaths, and the county has been documented as above the state average in opioid hospitalizations.

BayMark, headquartered in Lewisville, Texas, has 74 locations in 20 states, including one in Washington, according to its website. The plan is to add one in Port Angeles and another in Bremerton, Ozias said.

Efforts to reach BayMark were unsuccessful Thursday.

Anders Edgerton, regional administrator for SBHO, said typically it takes from six to nine months for BayMark to open a new treatment center once it agrees on a contract.

“Our contract is pretty much done; we just haven’t signed it yet,” he said. “All but the formality is done.”

Edgerton said BayMark is now in the process of finding locations for the facilities in Port Angeles and Bremerton.

He said BayMark is anticipating seeing 150 to 200 people at the Port Angeles location, a number he believes could be higher once it’s in operation.

The program is intended to treat people addicted to opioids who have Medicaid, but it will also accept private insurance, according to the SBHO.

Frank, who reviewed the proposal, said the outpatient treatment facility would include intensive chemical dependency counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy and connections to social services, housing resources and legal aid.

“It’s all things that need to come together for people to recover and be productive citizens,” he said.

Federal law requires patients who receive treatment at an opioid treatment program to receive medical, counseling, vocational, educational and other assessment and treatment services, in addition to prescribed medication.

Doctors across the county regularly prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid-addicted patients, but those patients are often required to seek treatment at other facilities in the area.

“With the BayMark facility, they would do all of that in-house,” Frank said.

Kitsap County is the largest county in the state to not have such a program, Edgerton said.

At the facility, patients would be prescribed buprenorphine, Vivitrol or methadone, depending on which would work best for them, Edgerton said.

It would be the only facility prescribing methadone in Clallam County, he said.

Sometime this fall, officials are planning a public meeting to answer questions about the facility, Edgerton said.

The date isn’t yet hammered out, but he said he wants the community to learn about the proposal and get questions answered.

“They were clear they intend and expect to be highly engaged with the public as they work through this,” Ozias said of BayMark.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.