Corizon Health Broadens Fight Against Opioid Addiction

Brentwood-based healthcare provider launched successful MAT pilot in Philadelphia jail system
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (April 8, 2019) – As the U.S. continues to grapple with solutions to the national opioid addiction epidemic, Brentwood-based Corizon Health is preparing to offer a successful treatment pilot to additional communities the company serves across the U.S.
Corizon, a leading provider of healthcare to correctional facilities across 17 states, developed and refined a pilot program for Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid addicts over the last year in conjunction with one of the company’s largest clients, the Philadelphia Department of Prisons.  Philadelphia County had the highest overdose rate of any of the 10 most populous U.S. counties in 2017, and opioids were found in 88 percent of drug overdose deaths. 
“Corizon’s MAT program brings best practices already shown to be successful in community medical practice into the corrections environment, where the need is especially acute,” said James E. (Pete) Powell, M.D., chief medical officer for Corizon. “Our work with our client in Philadelphia to roll out this program has shown great promise, and we look forward to sharing what we learned there and continuing to refine our program as we prepare to offer it to other communities that need this critical service.”  
Corizon medical professionals who helped develop and deliver the MAT program in Philadelphia are presenting an information session on the process and results Tuesday, April 9, at the spring conference of the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare (NCCHC) at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. For more information about the presentation and the conference, click here.
The MAT program combines three key elements that are integrated for optimum outcomes. Patients are prescribed buprenorphine tablets (trade name: Suboxone), a safe and relatively fast-acting medication that effectively blocks the opioid craving in the body. Patients in the program are provided with a transition dosage package upon release from incarceration, to reduce the chances that the individual will have obstacles to getting such a prescription filled upon release. Finally, the Corizon team networks with treatment programs in the community to establish a referral base for patients to initiate and continue community-based care following release.
Corizon’s MAT pilot launched in early 2018 at the Riverside Correctional Facility for women, where one in four women (25 percent of the total) who entered presented with untreated opioid use disorder. The MAT treatment was later added for the male population in all facilities housing male prisoners in late summer.
The opportunity to save lives with MAT in the corrections population is especially acute, given the extremely high rate of overdose deaths that occur within a short period of time following inmate release. A recent study in Rhode Island comparing post-incarceration fatal overdoses (tallied in the pre- and post-implementation periods of a related MAT procedure) showed a reduction in mortality of more than 60 percent. 
The rollout of MAT in Philadelphia made the jail system the largest provider of medication-assisted treatment in the city. Dr. Bruce Herdman, chief of medical and behavioral operations for the city’s department of prisons, saw a window in the average 100-day jail stay to be a well-managed opportunity for detox and recovery for opioid addicts.
“We are making the most of the chance to care for people who are not getting cared for in the community,” Herdman said. 
“Our new MAT program is one of several initiatives underway as we see new ways to utilize evidence-based medicine and evolve Corizon into an even stronger community and state partner,” said Steve Rector, chief executive officer. “Virtually every community in this country is seeking productive tools to fight the opioid epidemic, and we stand with our clients in providing workable solutions in that effort. Everything we are introducing will cumulatively add to our focus on health and safety for patients and reduced recidivism for communities.” 
Corizon Health has long supported the work of the NCCHC, and the company adheres to NCCHC standards in its delivery of care regardless of whether the individual correctional facility has undertaken the rigorous process of achieving NCCHC accreditation. Corizon, which celebrated 40 years of service to communities in 2018, is a leading provider of correctional healthcare services in the United States, serving states and municipalities across the country. Corizon offers individual or comprehensive solutions for primary care, behavioral care, pharmaceutical and re-entry services. For more information, please visit