Overmountain Recovery methadone clinic fee 23% higher than originally planned

GRAY, TN (WJHL) – Patients of the region’s newest addiction clinic who need extended methadone treatment will end up spending $1,000 more a year than originally estimated.

Overmountain Recovery in Gray, a partnership between Mountain States Health Alliance and East Tennessee State University, opened its doors in September.

The clinic’s methadone fee is $16 a day, which is $3 a day more than the not-for-profit laid out in its certificate of need application last year.

“The $13.00 cost per day is inclusive of the medication, counseling, case management/social work, and testing,” Overmountain Recovery said in its CON application, which the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency approved unanimously in August 2016.

“The fee schedule in Overmountain Recovery’s certificate of need (CON) was an early estimate based on rates at other clinics and was prepared well in advance of our implementation date,” Mountain States Health Alliance said in a statement. “Once we completed our final analysis, it became evident that the extensive nature of the counseling, laboratory testing and intervention services offered at the clinic would require us to adjust the fee schedule slightly.”

The $16 a day fee costs more than Overmountain Recovery’s competitors previously proposed in their certificates of need in recent years. Those competitors withdrew two of those applications and the board voted down another.

The clinic’s administrator previously said the facility would reinvest any profits.

“As we have success with the clinic and grow the clinic, any additional proceeds from the operation of the clinic is going to go back into the center at ETSU, which will be focused as well on prevention and education,” Lindy White said in January.

Most recently, White said the clinic offers financial help to those who can’t afford treatment.

“Those that need assistance or are uninsured, we will make sure there is access to care,” White said in August.

Mountain states said its comprehensive, individualized treatment plan at Overmountain Recovery has “a robust therapy component” with master’s-trained therapists who lead individual and group sessions.

“Because we don’t want cost to be a barrier to treatment for any patient, Overmountain Recovery does offer financial assistance for patients who need it,” MSHA said in its statement. “Overmountain Recovery also offers a discounted rate for services if paid at least seven days in advance. Many patients have taken advantage of this discount. Additionally, we are in the process of applying with insurance companies, and we hope to have contracts established by the end of the first fiscal year, which is June 30, 2018.”

We checked with two other methadone clinics nearby. The $16 a day fee is higher than the $14 a day fee at the clinic just over the mountain in Weaverville, North Carolina, but slightly less than the almost $17 a day fee in Knoxville.

Copyright WJHL 2017. All rights reserved.

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