Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014
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Detox center plans big expansion

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PORT RICHEY - Despite uncertainties over federal health care reform, Novus Medical Detox is in the midst of expanding their Port Richey facility from 12 to 31 beds for people battling substance abuse.Even so, Executive Director Kent Runyon is expecting demand will justify the addition to the 6-year-old facility.More than nine out of 10 people who start their medical detox at Novus complete the program, Runyon emphasizes. Novus served 356 persons in 2012, he reports. "Putting Dignity Back in Detox" is one of the phrases the firm uses to describe its approach. Many clients are trying to break an alcohol or "heavy opiate" habit."We help them begin to heal," Runyon remarked. The caring staff takes a holistic approach in addition to medical protocols, he explained. Better sleep patterns and nutrition are among goals.Novus currently employs 25 people, Runyon said during a phone interview. After expansion is complete, Runyon said the Novus staff probably would double.Construction could commence soon, with a time frame of up to 10 months to complete the expansion project.With extra space, Novus can add a serenity room for people dealing with anxiety, Runyon pointed out.Acupuncture and massage services will be added.Novus clients typically stay seven to eight days, so the dozen beds often are filled."People call looking for help," Runyon observed. Others might see marketing materials that Novus produces. Partner agencies might refer some potential clients. Novus accepts private insurance and cash payments.Most people stay between five and 14 days at Novus. In an unusual case, a client remained for 21 days to break methadone dependency.Heroin is inching back in Florida, the unintended consequence of the state's epic war on prescription pills, Alyssa Kaplan elaborated as a publicist for Novus. She is a media relations specialist for JoTo PR.Novus has already seen an increase in patients with heroin addictions, Kaplan noted. Heroin has become viewed as less expensive and easier to get than illegal prescription drugs. Novus also is bracing for the changes under the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act, Kaplan elaborated. Reforms require most Americans to have health insurance starting in 2014.While only about three million people in the U.S. currently receive treatment for substance abuse, as of 2014, all insurance sold through health benefit exchanges or provided through Medicaid must include substance abuse services. Because the ACA includes substance use disorders as one of the 10 elements of essential health benefits, the number is likely to double, Kaplan pointed out.The challenge remains for keeping the quality high while increasing the number of people treated, Kaplan concluded.corth@suncoastnews.com(727) 815-1068

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