Mountaineer Recovery partnership with Unity Family Health Care continues to see growth

Originally published in The Journal

KEARNEYSVILLE — A marriage of caregivers in recovery, Mountaineer Recovery Center and Unity Family Health Care’s partnership has seen growth over the last six months, gaining traction throughout the pandemic.

“It’s going really well. We’re growing that,” Mountaineer Recovery Center CEO Dr. Johnathan Hartiens said. “With COVID and people staying isolated, it was slow at the beginning, but as people are getting a little more comfortable being out, and unfortunately, the consequences of addiction are bigger than ever, it’s starting to feel like we’re growing exponentially now.”

The partnership allows for a balance in the psychological and physical treatment in recovery, the two entities sharing space inside a building. The shared space gives room for a continuum of care and structure that can be beneficial in recovery.

“One of our ambitions is to integrate substance abuse treatment with primary care,” Hartiens said. “Most people go to the primary care doctor for everything, and a lot of times, the things physicians see are either symptomatic of substance abuse or consequences of substance abuse.”

Hartiens explained the process becomes easier when a primary care doctor can walk down the hall to make a connection with more resources instead of offering a referral to therapy.

“We can sit with the patients, see where they’re at, engage them and get them connect with treatment,” Hartiens said. “There’s so much that overlaps.”

The MRC side of care includes group therapy sessions to help with the recovery process.

“There were so many people in this small town who needed help,” one group member said. “Before Unity, it was a very long process to get any help to get to recovery. When you call here and say you need help, you can tell immediately they care. They see us as real people with lives and families who need help.”

The growth of the program has been exciting as the MRC staff quickly realized the struggle of moving from in-patient at the facility back to Morgan County, as the facility began serving several people from the area almost immediately. Having that Morgan County location enables quicker access to treatment and a level of comfort.

“Berkeley Springs, right in the center of Morgan County, is pretty much where everybody comes to do their shopping, any kind of service agencies, medical care, groceries,” Hartiens said. “They come into Berkeley Springs anyway. There really wasn’t anybody providing substance abuse services there. They would have to come all the way here.

“There’s a lot of people who are hesitant to come here to start with. Maybe if we were there, in their neighborhood, that would make them feel more comfortable.”