Dr. Oba Hollie, who treats opioid addiction at Nashville’s Mental Health Cooperative, knows that his treatment has worked so far. “I can think of about ten success stories off the top of my head,” he admits. “But we’re just getting started. We’ve only put down the foundation.”
He’s a doctor who works with patients addicted to opioids to complete their treatment and begin their recovery, though when he began practicing medicine, opioid addiction hadn’t been on his mind. “I’m a primary care physician,” he admitted. Or, he was. His general interest changed when his former mentor, Dr. James Geraghty, joined the Mental Health Cooperative (MHC). Dr. Hollie liked the sound of what Dr. Geraghty and his team were preparing for opioid addiction treatments at the MHC.
“It sounded like a good fit for me,” Dr. Hollie said, “since it’s a new medically-assisted treatment program with a well-rounded focus.” He now serves as an opioid addiction doctor with the MHC. And he’s found that it’s not too different from the primary care where he began. After all, Dr. Hollie firmly believes that opioid addiction is a treatable disease. “I try to approach it without a stigma, like I’d approach any chronic illness,” he explains. This philosophy fits Dr. Hollie well to the Mental Health Cooperative, both in its mission and treatment.
It’s a system of community-level centers that offer outpatient mental health and addiction treatment in and around Nashville, Tennessee. They have ten locations, and from those ten, MHC staff can serve those facing mental health and addiction concerns in dozens of counties near Nashville. And they’re focusing their MAT treatment on underserved patients, to someday restore them into their fullest lives.
Where Dr. Hollie works, at the Metro location in downtown Nashville, the staff serves one of the state’s hotspots for opioid addiction. “We’re here for this community,” Dr. Hollie says, “and the [MHC] is probably the only program of its kind in terms of collaborative primary and psychiatric care.” That collaboration means that Dr. Hollie works hand-in-hand with psychiatrists like Dr. David Patzer to develop MAT treatment plans for all patients—together, professionals like Hollie and Patzer can integrate physical healing with mental healing for a total recovery. Dr. Patzer acts as Medical Director for the program and is board-certified in addictions, adults and children.
But what does that mean on the ground? Well, MAT patients come to the center for their combination of MAT medications and group therapy meetings. Their medication visit includes a drug screening and a trip to MHC’s on-site pharmacy to fill prescriptions. MHC staff has designed the experience so that every patient is treated with utmost respect in a warm, comfortable environment.
Beyond any given day, Dr. Hollie and the MHC also operate within a two-year timeframe for their MAT patients. “We individualize care,” Dr. Hollie says, “and we set the expectation to taper off the medications in a two-year timeframe.” That expectation takes hold after about the first month of treatment, when those weekly visits (no more than seven days) become monthly visits. For Dr. Hollie, his patients need to taper down so they can rediscover and enjoy the life which their opioid addiction had taken from them.“The treatment is outpatient so that patients can live their lives,” Dr Hollie says. “It’s something where people can succeed and live a normal life.”
Remember those “success stories” that Dr. Hollie remembers so fondly? One of those is Dara Badgeley, who came through the Mental Health Cooperative for opioid addiction treatment and eventually regained custody of her daughter. Fox17 covered her story back in November 2019, and Dr. Hollie explained that he’s seen more experiences just like Badgeley’s. “People in treatment have success,” he said, “whether it’s people reconnecting with their children, not running into the law, or working full-time jobs again.”
“We want to grow the program from where we are now,” Dr. Hollie says. That Fox17 story did something to spread awareness of the MHC’s mission, but there remains plenty to do. Dr. Hollie mentioned that the MHC is now working to partner with Nashville emergency rooms—where those who suffer opioid overdoses are in serious need of immediate addiction help. “It’s time to expand help to those people too,” Dr. Hollie said, “to get them into the clinic.”
Dr. Hollie remains excited for that first, most important reason: opioid addiction is a chronic disease like any other. That’s why the MHC has to expand.
And so if you need opioid addiction help for yourself or someone you know in Nashville, look up the Mental Health Cooperative, and ask for Dr. Hollie. He’s at the Metro Location in downtown Nashville (275 Cumberland Bend, 37228), and he’s taken it on himself and his coworkers to treat you just as you need. MHC welcomes all TennCare plans.
You can call (615) 743-1555 Monday through Friday to set up a visit, which will prove easier than you think. The MHC has no wait times for visits once you’ve called that number. Give it a try as soon as you can.
Here’s one more thing: many of MHC’s MAT clients come in with lingering legal issues. MHC has a specialized team of on-site professionals who help those with legal issues to satisfy court requirements and any other court related needs. It’s more than just opioid addiction treatment, and it’s what you need, then the MHC might be right for you.
And if you’d like to learn more about opioid addiction or opioid addiction treatment plans, we at Buprenorphine Doctors have plenty of resources also. Visit us today to learn how we can serve your understanding and your needs.