Tribe rebuts critics of opioid treatment center

Ron Allen
Posted 8/7/19

I am writing to address our proposed Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Clinic in Sequim because there is much erroneous and inflammatory information being shared about the project.

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Tribe rebuts critics of opioid treatment center


I am writing to address our proposed Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Clinic in Sequim because there is much erroneous and inflammatory information being shared about the project.

This community healthcare project is very important to me personally and to our Tribe. We want you to have the facts and feel comfortable with how the facility will be managed and operated.

As I’m sure you know, Clallam and Jefferson counties have been struggling at the local level with the effects of the national opioid epidemic. Our Olympic Peninsula community has faced high rates of overdose and death and there is hardly a family who has not been affected.

While some people have been able to receive effective medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in existing primary care facilities, there are many more who need daily monitoring of their treatment and other supportive behavioral health and social services.

To address this need, our Tribe has partnered with Olympic Medical Center, Jefferson Healthcare and Peninsula Behavioral Health to develop an approach that is grounded in best medical practices. We have worked with the governor’s office, the state legislators, and the state Department of Health to secure their advice, support and $7.2 million in capital funding, which will be in addition to our Tribe’s funding commitment.

We are currently in the design and engineering stage of our new Healing Campus. This campus will be located behind the Costco in Sequim, in an area adjacent to Highway 101 and zoned for healthcare services. It is near public transportation and buffered from residential neighborhoods. The MAT Clinic facility is targeted to approximately 15,000 square feet, and after a two-year gradual growth in service, we expect it will eventually serve about 250 patients. We are planning for the possibility that a 16-bed inpatient psychiatric evaluation and treatment services may be needed in a future phase to address more patients needing that kind of health care.

Some people are concerned that we will ‘import’ patients from Seattle or King County. This notion is untrue. We are embarking on this journey in order to serve the needs of our north Olympic Peninsula community. It is clear to our Tribe the need for this specialty health care in this community is great and we continue to struggle with high rates of deaths and overdoses. The Jamestown Tribe has agreed to step up to address it. We are optimistic that a high-quality MAT Clinic combined with wrap-around services (primary care, dental, individual and group counseling, child care and transportation) to help those in need, will help many of our local citizens to become vibrant, productive and healthy citizens again.

In addition to planning for the new facility, we are exploring how to address food and housing insecurity, job training and other barriers in order to be able to restore many residents to improved health and productivity.

We are eager to share accurate information about the Healing Campus project with the community. We are hosting a public forum to further elaborate on this project and to give the community more time to learn and ask questions. We hope you will consider joining us.

We have all seen the loss caused by opioid addiction. We have nothing to fear from treatment. All people have value and all are capable of changing their lives, with appropriate support.

(Ron Allen is Chairman and CEO of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, which traditionally maintained villages in several locations now called Jefferson and Clallam Counties. Federally recognized in 1981, the Jamestown S’Klallam have, without federal support, built from a landless reservation base to owning 1,000 acres. The tribe operates construction, shellfish, hospitality, retail and other businesses that generate a $26 million annual budget. Allen, who graduated from the University of Washington, serves as an advisor on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Tribal Technical Advisory Group.)


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It's difficult to get people to accept fact when fear and myth and scary campfire stories get in there first. The tribe recently posted some FAQs online about their project and the answers should comfort those who don't stand their ground on denial.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019