Inpatient vs. outpatient rehab…

Inpatient vs outpatient 8Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, PainCare, New Hampshire noted that he recently read with interest the article by Meghan Barr in the Manchester Union Leader regarding the dearth of inpatient treatment programs for opioid addicts in New Hampshire, indeed in the nation.  This begs the question, is inpatient treatment necessary or even desirable?  The current debate about the cost of healthcare (this is why the Affordable Care Act was passed, right?) would suggest that a balance between cost and efficacy is the “right” method – to obtain the biggest bang for the healthcare buck.  Increasing capacity for inpatient care does not sound “right.”  Residential treatment is both expensive and due to the nature of addiction, often unsuccessful.

Inpatient vs outpatient 5Currently, only a tiny percentage of addicts can access inpatient treatment, and even if they do, if the stay is not long enough, or if intensive outpatient follow-up not provided, all these resources are wasted in the form of relapse and starting over.  Is it a heretical idea that maybe inpatient treatment, while a noble goal perhaps, is entirely unrealistic and not at all cost effective; that comprehensive outpatient treatment is the direction that addiction treatment needs to take?

While inpatient services surround the addict with an artificial environment, protected from user ‘friends’ and dealers that they must eventually confront and expunge from their lives, intensive outpatient care assists the addict in the complicated process of reprogramming their social existence, starting with what the addict faces from day to day.  When combined with buprenorphine, the medication that is appropriately replacing methadone as a staple product to mitigate opioid cravings, outpatient treatment will be the most important Inpatient vs outpatientpart of the answer in combatting the current enormous (and growing) heroin problem.

About Dr. Michael J. O'Connell, New Hampshire
Dr. Michael J. O'Connell of Barrington, New Hampshire, has forged a distinguished career spanning over three decades, as entrepreneur, physician, businessman, philanthropist and healthcare consultant. As former owner, administrator and CEO of a 225+ employee multi-specialty medical practice, Dr. O'Connell has dedicated his entire professional life to helping patients with family medicine and especially those experiencing chronic pain and all aspects of addiction. Since selling his family of healthcare businesses, he has never once contemplated retirement despite his rich and fulfilling journey, but instead has turned his focus to consulting in an industry starved for courage and creativity. Having weathered many political, technological and legal challenges, there is hardly a storm he has not confronted, a tempest he has not quelled, an urgent need he has not met. While the talking heads and self-proclaimed experts in the field have assumed the conventions and standards of the times, Dr. O'Connell does not believe in merely reflecting the herd mentality, but rather in leading the charge. Eschewing political correctness, Dr. O'Connell says and does what needs saying and doing, and not what the mindless masses expect. In addition to the continual education afforded by his variegated life experiences, Dr O'Connell earned his BS in Biochemistry at the University of NH in 1975, his Medical Degree from Dartmouth College in 1981, interned at Walter Reed Medical Center in 1982, Residency/Fellowship at UCSF in1986, and finished his Masters in Healthcare Administration at UNH in 1995. Dr. O’Connell enjoys many outdoor activities, including rock climbing, snowboarding, hiking, and golf. Through the decades Dr. O'Connell has supported many non-profit charities to include the St. Charles Home in Rochester NH, the Tri City VNA and Hospice, Hyder House, and Cocheco Valley Humane Society. To the latter organization alone Dr. O'Connell has donated over $180,000 and pledged another $250,000 in the “Bring-Us-Home” campaign for a new building. His “Matching Donations Christmas drive” has generated over $175,000 in charitable giving from the community. In addition Dr. O'Connell has participated in many dozens of other volunteer and donation efforts locally as well as in Africa and the Dominican Republic. For a listing of how I gave back to the community during my career and continue to do see:

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