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NorthShore-Frontline merger puts healthcare needs ‘under one roof’

Written by Contributor. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on September 24, 2019 with No Comments

by Steve Euvino

Allen Grecula, director of clinical services for NorthShore Health Centers, stands in one of the Frontline Foundations meeting rooms at the Chesterton facility. Effective July 1, NorthShore and Frontline merged to provide a “whole-patient” approach to meeting health and substance abuse needs. That approach to substance abuse includes music and the arts.

NorthShore Health Centers and Frontline Foundations have merged in an effort to combat addiction. The two companies seek to offer a solution that combines medical treatment with addiction counseling.

According to company officials, NorthShore and Frontline share the same mission and values regarding access to quality healthcare to the communities they serve. The two companies are merging under the NorthShore Health Centers name in an effort to expand access to medical and addiction counseling services in Northwest Indiana.

With this merge, Allen Grecula, director of clinical services for NorthShore, said, “We can focus primarily on our programs. As a smaller organization, we had to do everything, including insurance and billing. Now we can focus on client services.”

The merger, Grecula continued, improves client services through insurance navigation, primary care, and medication-assisted treatment.

Substance abuse treatment has typically been fragmented, Grecula said, and this merger provides for integration of care and services from the two agencies.

NorthShore providers, along with Frontline counselors, can offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which is the use of medications and counseling to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance abuse disorders.

As Grecula explained, the whole-patient approach involves integrated care. “All the needs are addressed,” Grecula said. “There’s no fragmentation. All the care is under one roof.”

Frontline’s mission is to serve as a source of hope for those ages 18 and older adults, suffering from alcohol and drug abuse while also providing an effective treatment and recovery support system. It opened its first Porter County office in Chesterton in 2007.

Frontline has since centralized its Porter County locations to Chesterton and has opened another treatment facility in LaPorte. Under the merger, those two offices will remain open, with Frontline services now also available at NorthShore’s Lake Station Health Center at 2490 Central Ave. Grecula said plans also call for Frontline services to be available at the NorthShore Portage facility under construction at the corner of Sterling Creek Road and Willowcreek Road just south of Route 6.

Frontline offers support through peer group sessions, individual treatment plans, and art and music recovery programs facilitated by certified staff. The company uses a two-fold format that incorporates clinical aspects of abuse and addiction with non-denominational, faith-based principles addressing the spiritual aspects of healing and recovery.

All Frontline staff are licensed, Grecula said. That includes social workers, addiction counselors, and mental health care workers. With the merger, Grecula added, more staff will be hired.

One medication that may be offered in addition to counseling is Vivitrol, a non-addictive, monthly-injected medication used for treating opioid and alcohol dependence. As part of a treatment plan that includes counseling, Vivitrol is used to help prevent relapse to opioid dependence after detoxification. As Grecula explained, Vivitrol takes the place of opioids in receptors of the brain.

NorthShore Health Centers is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing affordable healthcare to everyone, including the uninsured and underinsured in Lake and Porter counties. It provides a wide range of healthcare services for acute and chronic health conditions.

Including the new Frontline location, NorthShore now has nine locations providing medical and/or dental care: two each in Portage, Lake Station and Chesterton, and single health centers in Hammond and Merrillville.

How does one start the program?

Patients can see a NorthShore provider at any of its medical locations to receive medical services and medications needed to cope with substance abuse and be referred to the Frontline program for counseling services. Individuals can also reach out to Frontline directly at (219) 763-8112.

To learn more about NorthShore Health Centers and the Addiction program provided by Frontline, visit www.northshorehealth.org

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