Cornerstone Family Healthcare’s Statement on Proposed Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Center

Cornerstone Family Healthcare has a long history of serving our region’s most vulnerable patients. We are an organization that serves 40,000 Orange County residents, offering primary care to patients of all ages, regardless of their ability to pay for their care. For the past 50 years, we have served our community with integrity and a passion for meeting the needs of our patients.  In recent weeks, we have acquired Middletown Community Health Center and are currently working to improve the delivery of primary care services in the Port Jervis community.

Unfortunately, across the United States, providers of medication assisted treatment (MAT) have, understandably, been met with resistance when attempting to expand the delivery of their services. However, the fact is the opioid epidemic has affected our entire community, and one of the most effective means of addressing the issue is through comprehensive, evidence-based treatment. To conquer this epidemic, we need everyone in our community working together to find a common solution; it is our belief that one of these solutions should be the development of an MAT program. MAT is a form of treatment that uses methadone, as well as Suboxone, Vivitrol and other medications, to help patients overcome addiction.

Cornerstone is committed to working with Port Jervis officials and residents to ensure the program we develop does not have a negative impact on city residents. Safety is our utmost concern, and we will work hard to ensure that no resident’s quality of life is diminished as a result of our planned program. We have explored a number of potential sites to house our proposed program, including 123 Pike St., though we have by no means decided on a location at this time. During our visit to 123 Pike St., we explored some potential services that could be delivered there: dental, administrative offices, direct services to women with infant children, and substance abuse treatment. We had, and still do have, every intention of keeping the mayor informed as we hone in on a final location.

Establishing a local access point for these services in the Port Jervis community would alleviate many of the burdens existing patients in the region experience while removing barriers to treatment for new patients seeking recovery. Our efforts will include the voice of local government, as well as the voices of residents of Port Jervis and, most importantly, the voices of the many who have suffered from addiction. Cornerstone believes that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. We do not judge how a patient came to be addicted, or what path ultimately led them to treatment; we only offer hope through evidence-based treatment opportunities guided by highly qualified physicians, nurses, and counselors. Cornerstone believes that addiction is a disease that requires treatment, like many other forms of illness. Approaching patients in recovery in any other way is discriminatory, produces stigma and decreases a patient’s chances for success.

As we continue to explore options in the Port Jervis community, we will plan to reach out to the community directly and let your voices be heard. Many have suggested that we explore the Medical Office Building located next to the hospital. Unfortunately, we have made two visits to the site, but have been unable to envision how a program would fit into the building while meeting the requirements mandated by various government agencies, but you have our commitment that we will keep trying.

The process for developing an MAT program is long and requires approvals from five different regulatory bodies. Throughout this process, we will communicate with the community openly and honestly, but we also need the flexibility to explore and plan, and require time to communicate. We appreciate your many emails of support and hope to host a community discussion in the near future to discuss our plans for an MAT program, and to gather your opinions, thoughts, and ideas on the location for such a facility.