Desert Hope Treatment Center and its parent company, American Addiction Centers (AAC), is leading the way in the addiction treatment industry by now testing each patient admitted to any one of its treatment centers for COVID-19. The new safety protocol is significant news for patients seeking addiction treatment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those struggling with addiction need those services now. We don’t need to let COVID-19 be a barrier to treatment. Last year alone, 67,000 people died from drug overdoses in the U.S. That’s almost 200 people per day dying from this deadly disease. In addition, an estimated 88,000 people die annually from alcohol-related causes.
Andrew McWilliams, AAC CEO
Tests will also be available to current patients and staff exhibiting symptoms, in accordance with guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. AAC’s lab, Addiction Labs, worked tirelessly to piece together all the necessary elements to conduct the testing with fast turnarounds of 48 hours or less.
“The safety of our patients and staff is paramount and we were not going to take ‘no’ for an answer,” said Shannon Myers, Addiction Labs supervisor. “And with that came hundreds, if not thousands, of phone calls with vendors.”
The lab also went beyond standard testing protocols to ensure an accuracy rate of 95% or higher.
“The accuracy of the test is extremely important to us because our clients are all in the facility together with the staff for extended periods of time,” said Joe Olechowski, Addiction Labs genetics research and development supervisor. “Providing a false negative report to a positive patient has the potential to affect the entire facility. Our test looks at three gene targets where other tests may only look at one gene target, which means the potential for false negatives is far higher.”
AAC is one of a few treatment providers to have an in-house lab and the capability to offer COVID-19 testing for its patients. Addiction Labs has the capacity to run 2,400 tests a day.
“We do know that behavioral health services, from a COVID-19 testing perspective, is very underserved,” said McWilliams. “Our goal is to utilize the testing we’ve developed to not only serve our patients, but to open it up to the broader behavioral health community at large.”
To learn more about AAC’s COVID-19 testing and patient safety plan, visit our coronavirus notice.