Podcast Series: RiverMend Health

Gina Thorne: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Harmony Foundation podcast series, and I’m pleased today to be joined with Elise DuBois with RiverMend Health.
Welcome, Elise.

Elise DuBois: Thank you.

Gina Thorne: It’s really great-

Elise DuBois: It’s great to be here.

Gina Thorne:It’s so great to have you up on campus here at Harmony, and we want to hear more about RiverMend Health, but before we do, we want to learn a little bit about you. What got you into the field of addiction treatment?

Elise DuBois: I am from Detroit originally, and I was working in automotive marketing for about 13 years there and was looking for a change from the corporate world, so I decided to get my master’s in mental health, so I completed my master’s in mental health in 2010 and then realized that I may not want to be a therapist. I had some personal experience with recovery and some professional interest in the field of recovery, decided to move to Los Angeles and just became more invested in that field professionally.

Gina Thorne: I think it’s quite a big shift to go from Detroit to LA.

Elise DuBois: Yes, it is.

Gina Thorne:You like the sunshine, I guess.

Elise DuBois: I do. I love the sunshine. I hate the traffic.

Gina Thorne: Oh, yeah, there is a lot of that.

Elise DuBois: Yeah. Yeah.

Gina Thorne: I guess it’s like, what do you call it, a way versus … the pros and cons, I guess.

Elise DuBois: Yes, it’s a give and take, definitely.

Gina Thorne: There you go. Yeah.

Elise DuBois: Definitely.

Gina Thorne: You work with RiverMend Health, and what I learned about it when I was doing my research is that RiverMend has a continuum of care model with various treatment programs that addresses residential, IOP, and even eating disorders. Correct?

Elise DuBois: Correct.

Gina Thorne: Can you share a little bit about how RiverMend assesses which program is best for a client when they call into your program.

Elise DuBois: Sure. We do have eating disorders specific treatment programs, substance use disorders specific, and then each of our program also has a niche within it, so Rosewood Centers for Eating Disorders is our eating disorder treatment program. Bluff Plantation is treating substance use disorder primary in Augusta, Georgia, and Positive Sobriety Institute is a professionals program in Chicago.
Our calls are fielded by centralized intake group and, at that point, we do an over-the-phone assessment. We can also run any financial information that a potential patient may be interested in learning more about, where they stand, and then, at that point, we decide which program would be the best fit. If it’s within our family of programs, we also have a really, really large book of resources outside of our programs.
I would say that we probably refer out the majority of the calls because there’s something that is a better fit either geographically, financially or clinically, but we do a pretty thorough assessment over the phone and then, if someone is going to continue on to admit to one of our programs, we’ll then do a deeper-dive clinical assessment and really continue assessing along the way. If a different, say, an eating disorder pops up as a primary at one of our substance use disorder treatment program, we can address that and refer out if necessary and then vice versa. Those two addictions go hand in hand, so we’re always looking to make sure that the patients are in the most appropriate level of care at the most appropriate program.

Gina Thorne: Do you all take insurance?

Elise DuBois: We do take insurance. We’re in network at Rosewood, so eating disorders, and then out of network with our substance use disorder treatment programs.

Gina Thorne: Great. Perfect, so that’s always a big question that people ask, isn’t it?

Elise DuBois: Yes. Yes.

Gina Thorne: My experience working with RiverMend is that you all have a very strong medical model …

Elise DuBois: Yes.

Gina Thorne: … that can really treat some folks that are fairly highly medically acute, because we all know that this disease is not just about the physical addiction and/or the psychological addiction, but it’s also about what’s done to the body, and so can you talk with us a little bit about how you all address the acute medical needs that come up when people admit into your program, and I’m assuming that that would probably be more often at the Bluff’s in Augusta?

Elise DuBois: Yeah, so, for the substance use disorder side of things, definitely Bluff Plantation is equipped to handle a variety of medical issues, so Dr. Jacobs, our medical director there, is also the admitting physician at the hospital, the local hospital, so can really help people get into see neurologists, endocrinologists, work with patients who have diabetes or even chronic pain issues. He is board certified pain management before he was board certified addition and so has a really deep knowledge of just different medical issues that can arise, and we can get those issues addressed pretty quickly.

Our other program that probably deals with that the most is Rosewood, so, with the eating disorders, as you can imagine, there are a myriad of medical complications that come along with that. One thing that Rosewood is able to do is to detox an eating disorder patient, which is a pretty rare resource to have, so, along with that really heavily medically supervised detox with a medically compromised patient, we also look at, I mean, a vast array of medical issues that come along with the eating disorders, and we’re able to treat those safely and have the ability to work with the eating disorder alongside the other medical issues.

Gina Thorne: Usually that just increases the success rate post-treatment when you’re able to take care of those medical issues, which often can be a trigger for relapse with many folks.

Elise DuBois: Exactly, especially for the substance use disorder side and the pain issues that may come along with that, opiate addiction and/or chemical dependency on opiates, definitely, and then for the eating disorder side of it, it’s just a continuum of increased health that keeps somebody in recovery on that side of things.

Gina Thorne: That’s wonderful. This is your first visit to Harmony.

Elise DuBois: Yes.

Gina Thorne: I know that you haven’t really been able to do the full tour yet, but what are your thoughts so far?

Elise DuBois: I mean, it’s beautiful. Again, coming from Los Angeles, it’s a big change, but I really value the seclusion here, I guess, if you will, and just the containment, and I think that, for a lot of people especially in early sobriety, the quiet is really good and really beneficial, and I can see that being a really big draw for people who need to get some space. I mean, I’m a nature lover, so I love the nature aspect of everything, and I also think that that really can be a big plus for someone in early sobriety.

Gina Thorne: We’ve seen that actually be the case is that the natural surroundings do contribute to people, seeing that life in recovery can be less chaotic and crazy, so that’s helpful. If someone were listening today and they wanted to access the services at RiverMend Health, how could they get in touch with you?

Elise DuBois: I mean, I’m always happy to talk with anybody and I can provide you my phone number if needed. I do think though that a really great thing to do to get several things taken care of at one time including the assessment, verification benefits and general program information is to contact our intake department.

Our national director of admissions, Kristen Scheel, is amazing and has put together a really, really good team with a lot of resources, so I always encourage people, even if you don’t know if it’s going to be a good fit or you don’t think it will be, to just give a call anyway because our rule of thumb with our intake group is to never hang up the phone without giving resources whether they’re with us or with another program, so I would say that anyone needing to get in touch with RiverMend Health can call our intake line at 844-464-3876 or always feel free to reach out to me as well. My email address is edubois@rivermendhealth.com.

Gina Thorne: Wonderful. Thank you so much for taking the time.

Elise DuBois: Thanks, Gina. It was my pleasure.

RiverMend Health