In 2020, 40.3 million people in the United States aged twelve or older had a substance use disorder (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). National Recovery Month has been observed every September since 1989. This national observance promotes and supports treatment and recovery practices, the recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and communities who make recovery possible. This year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognizes this observance with the tagline and theme, “Every Person. Every Family. Every Community,” stating that recovery takes many shapes and forms, and can affect any person, any family, and any community.
HealthCare Access Maryland (HCAM) Recovery Care Services, a State Care Coordination Program, serves individuals that are experiencing alcohol and/or drug use to overcome barriers while obtaining their sobriety. The program is voluntary and is designed to assist clients to move from one level of care to the next by actively engaging with state care coordinators throughout a six-month time frame. The program works with clients living in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City. The program assists individuals as they transition to the recovery community by providing a connection to community/faith-based services and other human services organizations. Recovery Care Services has thirteen staff members and has worked closely with over 14,000 individuals since it was launched in 2007.
Last year, HCAM’s Recovery Care Services (RCS) program enrolled 1,087 individuals into its State Care Coordination Program. During the six-month program, the state care coordinator is responsible for connecting with their clients at minimum twice a month. This is done through face-to-face meetings, telephone check-ins, and email interactions. When a client is first enrolled in the program the interactions may be a little more frequent, as the coordinator secures funding for temporary housing, and submits financial assistance applications for clients that need a bus pass, Maryland State Identification, and Maryland State Birth Certificate which is often a great need for individuals. The goal of the interaction is not only to assist the clients with maintaining sobriety but to also hold them accountable for the goals they want to achieve during the six-month time frame of the program.
In mid-July, Leon* was assigned to HCAM State Care Coordinator, Joi’s, case load. During the initial phone call intake to the program, Leon worked with Joi to establish recovery goals and create a service plan to achieve them. Leon expressed great concern about his teeth and his difficulty accessing dental services, since extensive dental procedures are not covered entirely by insurance, and a great portion of the cost comes out of pocket. Thankfully, RCS provides tangible and non-tangible emergency items to its clients. To request these items, clients must simply provide a verification letter that they are currently in treatment.
Unfortunately, in early August, Leon hit an unexpected hurdle. The recovery house where Leon was staying and receiving care for his substance use condition gave notice that they were shutting down. Now, in addition to needing to address critical dental issues, Leon was in immediate need of housing and a connection back into treatment. The state care coordinator continued to encourage and work with Leon to find a new recovery home and treatment program so that he could continue his recovery. By the end of August, Leon had secured a new transitional home and was enrolled into a treatment program the following day. Joi was able to obtain the verification letters needed to assist Leon in receiving the much-needed dental appointments. Joi shared that Leon texted him after his dental visit and said, “Thank you. I’m done, no more pain. Love you and all that have helped me. I don’t take it lightly. I’m going to stick it out and finish the program and never use again.”
HCAM’s RCS Program Manager, Shante, shares, “During my time here at HCAM, my experience working in the RCS program has been challenging but rewarding. My background in public health solutions, program management, and community engagement, has prepared me to take on an intense, busy, and fast-paced program like RCS. It’s rewarding to see the program trajectory heading in a positive direction.”
HCAM looks forward to joining Behavioral Health System Baltimore’s Recovery Month celebration, “A Joyful Movement.” This event will take place at Eager Park this Saturday, September 24th, from 1pm until 5pm. HCAM team members will have a resource table to share more information about Recovery Care Services and other mental health resources available. The event will be a joyful moment to celebrate recovery together and share resources for community members.
For more information on HCAM’s RCS program and to learn more about the services we provide to clients, call 410-649-0529.
*Name changed to protect client privacy