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Opioid-ravaged West Virginia seeks help in a $ 26 billion deal | National

Huntington, West Virginia (AP) — Crumbling roofs and parking lots. Broadband glitch. Technology challenges. The Prestera Center’s priority list goes beyond the mental health and addiction treatment services offered to patients throughout West Virginia.

One thing is certain: it’s one of the epicenters of the US opioid explosion, and nonprofits could actually spend some money. Cash infusions, whether from potential domestic settlement agreements with major US drug distributors or from other sources, are accompanied by tensions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as recent staffing and other areas. Stop the flow of loss in.

“Our needs are long,” said Kim Miller, a presutera addiction counselor. “We need help.”

It may cost more on the way to places like Prestella all over the country.State and local government lawyers this week Announced a potential $ 26 billion settlement Beyond opioid tolls with pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson and pharmaceutical companies AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson.

However, West Virginia has already settled with three distributors and other drug wholesalers for a total of $ 84 million in a series of transactions between 2017 and 2019, so three sales. It is not included in transactions with vendors. Johnson & Johnson resisted a $ 5 billion share that would contribute under potential deals.

Morrissey says he knows that those fighting the opioid crisis need urgent help, but he is concerned about how it will be distributed nationwide. He argues that the proposed allocation is too focused on the size of each state’s population and does not adequately consider the depth of the crisis in West Virginia.

If Morrissey refuses to settle, the state will not receive a portion of the distributed funds, but can continue its proceedings against J & J in the hope of reaching a better deal.

Prestera CEO Lisa Zappia said she has mixed feelings about the settlement and needs to review the details before deciding whether to support the settlement.

Prestera employs 550 workers in 55 locations in southern West Virginia and serves more than 20,000 people annually. Addiction recovery centers, mental health care facilities, youth programs, and suicide awareness initiatives, to name a few.

Prestera was not eligible for a payroll loan to help businesses keep their employees hired during the COVID-19 pandemic. He received a small amount of federal incentives for Medicare, but not enough to offset the losses, Miller said. “We can’t afford to lose money every year. We can’t keep the door open. We had to shrink some services.”

During the pandemic, nonprofits tried to use telemedicine services instead of visiting directly. However, the broadband internet connection was rocky at best.

“We are doing our best with what we have,” Miller said.

Here, we expect the settlement to flow to the surface, whether it is a newly announced transaction or another transaction.

Dreams are free.

“We want to consider all the needs of the infrastructure. Broadband expansion. Rehabilitation of facilities that haven’t been rehabilitated for a long time. It’s like a roof,” Miller said. “We have a long list of maintenance issues that needed to be repaired and band-aided as much as possible.”

Doug Reach addicted to Minnesota for a year after fighting prescription painkillers after a broken nose in a college bar battle, as there were no housing beds available in his hometown of West Virginia. I was treated. The state has the highest opioid mortality rate in the country.

Originally an accountant, Reach founded a Morgantown-based Ascension Recovery Service from the basement in 2016 to help others suffering from addiction. The Behavioral Health Consulting Management Organization currently has 50 employees and is developing programs in 35 states.

“We know how to treat this disease,” Reach said. “But the payment model is flawed. The repayment rate is very low.”

Once West Virginia gets some of the country’s settlement, Reach loops from a fragmented system of addiction care to everyone, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, and housing facility operators. You will want to continue moving to a long-term approach.

“I hope this money will help establish these systems so that we can work with payers to implement payment arrangements that save money and keep people calm in the long run. “I will,” said Reach.

At Prestella, which receives more than half of the money from Medicaid’s repayment, the Huntington headquarters parking lot looks like the aftermath of an earthquake. Just navigating Prestera’s outdated and glitchy phone system is tricky. It costs $ 85,000 to exchange.

At another Prestella facility in the city along the Ohio River, Zappia said the roof was being replaced at a cost of $ 140,000. She is also afraid that the 50-year-old boiler of the building will be on her last foot.

“I’m holding my breath,” Zappia said. “I don’t have $ 300,000 to replace it.

“These buildings need to be in a state where people can come in and feel comfortable and cozy. That’s why infrastructure is important to us.”

Prestera staffing has dropped by almost one-third over the last decade. There were pandemic-related layoffs and layoffs, but almost all of the affected people were brought back. Many are still working from home.

Also, people aren’t coming for treatment as they were before the pandemic began. Some people are worried about getting COVID-19 by staying in a residential substance use treatment facility.

“We are financially struggling, but the importance of what we do is more apparent than ever,” Miller said.

Miller pointed out statistics showing an increase in substance abuse during the pandemic. So are the levels of depression, anxiety, and stress in the general public, including children.

“This pandemic is a nightmare of mental health and substance use,” Miller said. “It will increase people’s mental health problems. It will increase the use of substances. And we must be prepared to meet that need.”

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Opioid-ravaged West Virginia seeks help in a $ 26 billion deal | National

Source link Opioid-ravaged West Virginia seeks help in a $ 26 billion deal | National

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