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  • Writer's pictureGene Preston

My Most Meaningful Project



HUNTINGTON — A former CVS Pharmacy in Huntington will soon house what local health care leaders are touting as the region’s all-in-one referral point for addiction treatment and care — powered by some of West Virginia’s most established and well-equipped providers.


The foundation of PROACT (Provider Response Organization for Addiction Care and Treatment) was announced Wednesday afternoon at Huntington City Hall. It’s a nonprofit, joint effort led by Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall Health and St. Mary’s Medical Center, in partnership with Valley Health and Thomas Health System.


Heralded as a one-stop shop for a litany of addiction services, PROACT will operate from the former CVS Pharmacy at 8th Avenue and 20th Street in Huntington, and from Saint Francis Hospital in Charleston, said Gene Preston, president of PROACT and vice president of Physician Service, Pharmacy Operation and Managed Care at Cabell Huntington Hospital.


PROACT will address medical, social and behavioral issues through a variety of outpatient treatment options consolidated under one roof, including medication-assisted treatment, clinical assessments, peer recovery, individual and group therapy, and workforce preparedness training.

The facility will become a next step to recovery, particularly for those discharged from local emergency rooms and inpatient detox units, as well as clients served by Huntington’s Quick Response Team. The Quick Response Team is made up of a medical care professional, a mental health specialist and law enforcement who visit every overdose patient in person within 72 hours of their overdose, assess the patient’s needs and develop a plan for intervention.


PROACT also will accept walk-ins and referrals from other community providers.


“PROACT is that place where we can have all those individuals go to get some help after they’re discharged or detoxing,” Preston said. “With that help, they’re going to have a better chance to recover.”


The involved providers will provide funding and staffing for PROACT, with additional funding coming through grants, business operations and private donations. Preston called it a testament to the leadership of the area’s health care providers.


“We take a lot of pride in how we as a community have taken on this disorder,” he said. “There’s a lot of positive things happening [in Huntington], and PROACT is just the natural progression of this movement.”


Renovations at the former CVS building are already underway, and PROACT is expected to begin operating in four to five months, said Beth Hammers, vice president for PROACT and CEO of Marshall Health.


“We’re going to provide a lot of different programs, and this is going to become one of the options for where they’re going to be able to seek treatment,” Hammers said.


The facility’s operations will be overseen by newly hired director Michael Haney, who joins the program from Pathways Inc. in Ashland, where he served as area addiction manager. PROACT will have a host of treatment options, Haney said, but if it doesn’t offer the best treatment option for an individual, it can connect the patient to somewhere that does.


“We’ll be able to see their needs and what pieces they’ll be missing in their lives and help put a plan into place,” Haney said.


According to a news release from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, its Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities has awarded $332,601 to Marshall Research Corporation from a State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis supplemental grant. That money in part will help initiate PROACT as part of an overall program to build and strengthen services supporting recovery of individuals with opioid use disorder and to reduce opioid overdose deaths in the state.

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