MATCH Program Thrives
In the shadow of a relentless opioid epidemic, Hartford HealthCare and Natchaug Hospital have become leaders in addressing the challenges of addiction and mental health in a compassionate, accessible and discreet way with the rapidly expanding MATCH Program.
MATCH, or Medication Assisted Treatment Close to Home, was first introduced in the Behavioral Health Network (BHN) in early 2016 as a multifaceted way of helping opioid and alcohol users find lasting sobriety.
“Substance use and psychiatric disorders frequently co-occur and outcomes are significantly improved when treatment addresses both issues,” said J. Craig Allen, MD, medical director of Rushford. “With MATCH, we coordinate medication management and psychosocial therapy within a team that has expertise in both behavioral and substance use disorders.”
MATCH combines the use of the FDA-approved medications such as Suboxone or Vivitrol to reduce cravings for opioids and alcohol with group therapy aimed at relapse prevention and opportunities for holistic treatment such as yoga. Through its various locations, the program has touched thousands of lives. From July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, more than 2,500 clients with a diagnosis of opioid addiction came through the various MATCH locations.
“Medications such as Suboxone help these individuals continue to function at home and at work while they are working on their recovery,” Allen said, adding that, “same-day appointments and flexible programming accommodates clients who have real-life work, family and social responsibilities in addition to managing their substance use disorder.”
Medication, he explains, improves treatment outcomes but every patient also participates in a relapse prevention group to help improve their overall functioning and provide support throughout the recovery process. Private physicians can prescribe medications to help patients find sobriety, but the value of MATCH comes in the support and healthy services offered as well. Classes in yoga, meditation, exercise and mindfulness are also part of MATCH because Allen said they are known to have a positive impact on substance use disorder, depression, anxiety and overall mental and physical health.
To meet the state’s demand for opioid-specific programming, MATCH expanded recently to add several new sites. The 16 locations now include:
Natchaug treatment sites located in Danielson, Dayville, Enfield, Groton, Mansfield, Norwich and Old Saybrook, as well as a new location in Vernon.
A new Rushford site in Middletown in addition to its existing sites in Avon, Cheshire, Glastonbury and Meriden.
A Backus location in Norwich.
A Hospital of Central Connecticut site in New Britain and one recently opened in Southington.
“The opioid epidemic continues in Connecticut and nationwide,” said BHN President Patricia Rehmer. “The Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network continues to be proactive by providing MATCH services across Connecticut, in urban and suburban locations, so people can access the services that they need. We are consistently adding new locations because we are keenly aware of how important it is to have medication assisted treatment, close to home.