Community Health Network’ MAT Program Offers Collaborative Training

Posted on September 23, 2019

John came to Texas without his opioid withdrawal medication and had no money to purchase the expensive Suboxone needed to help taper him off addictive substances. Suboxone and other Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) drugs are used to help individuals safely quit addictive pain medications, alcohol, and other opioids such as cocaine or heroin without suffering the painful withdrawal symptoms that accompany withdrawal. John experienced relief when he learned of the MAT program at Community Health Network in Freeport, Texas.


Community Health Network ( www.sfachn.org ) is a federally qualified health center with nine locations in Brazoria and Galveston Counties providing integrated medical, behavioral health including psychiatry and oral health services. CHN’s Medication Addiction Treatment (MAT) program is available at all locations for patients desiring to stop using opioids, alcohol, tobacco or other substances of addiction. The program is managed by physicians and nurse practitioners in the primary care environment that are DATA 2000 Waived to prescribe Suboxone. Treatment also includes participation in individual and group therapy. CHN offers group therapy for patients in the MAT program through its Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) services, and all counselors are trained in Substance Use Disorder (SUD) therapy.

CHN is pleased with the success of the program’s soft launch to existing patients in 2018. The need for MAT services in the general community and CHN’s commitment to serving those with limited resources led CHN to open the program to new patients in early 2019. And the response is overwhelmingly positive.

Chief Medical Officer Yvette Poindexter, M.D., always seeks ways to improve clinical services, recognized an opportunity to collaborate with the Texas Opioid Response Network, to host a Substance Use Disorders Workshop to the CHN providers and support staff. The introduction workshop occurred on September 21st from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm at the CHN Pearland Family Health Center, 2552 E. Broadway, Ste. 102, Pearland, TX 77581. Dr. Poindexter designed the training with Dr. Mahar Hage-Karam1, a volunteer with the Opioid Response Network and faculty at MD Anderson Cancer Center where his addiction interest is in the area of alcohol, tobacco and comorbid disorders. Dr. Poindexter anticipates that the collaboration will result in Tobacco Cessation Certification for CHN providers and clinical support staff, an Internal ECHO Project with Dr. Hage-Karam and many other future partnerships. “With our success, we will plan other workshops as effect on Oral Health and Pharmacy Management to provide integration that will engage other staff members,” relayed Dr. Poindexter as she concluded the September 21st workshop.

CHN providers and staff with Dr. Hage-Karam during the Substance Use Disorders Workshop at Pearland Family Health Center on September 21st. Pictured, front row, left to right is Dr. Yvette Poindexter, OBGYN and Chief Medical Officer for CHN, Carmen Garcia-Garza, FNP, Dr. Antonia Way, and Dr. Mahar Hage-Karam with the Texas Opioid Response Network. Back Row, left to right is Audrey Hamilton, Behavioral Health Care Coordinator, Rosalee Vasquez, CMA Site Lead, Diana Ruiz, CMA Site Lead, Liz Garcia, LVN, Clinic Nurse Manager, Ashley Rodriguez, CMA, Jules Rangel, CMA Site Lead, Sherrell Gibson, FNP, Jolie Gana, LVN Site Lead, Valentina Nieto-Villarreal, FNP, and Jessica Castenada, FNP.

1 Mahar Hage-Karam is a Professor, Department of Behavioral Science, Division of Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX. He also serves as the Medical Director, Tobacco Treatment Program, Department of Behavioral Science, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX https://faculty.mdanderson.org/profiles/maher_karam-hage.html