Time and time again, I hear from the Medicaid reliant men and women on the streets of Kensington and those who have been given housing these related and similar phrases:
"If I didn't have to wait so long for treatment
in a crisis center, I would go to detox right now."
"My caseworker is trying to arrange it so I can get my medical clearance and go directly to detox without waiting in the crisis center for hours."
This unreasonable wait time with its accompanying humiliations and the inevitable onset of dope sickness as I have described in recent blogs is a major reason why so many of our nation's sons and daughters don't even bother seeking medical services.
Some people will argue this point by saying that the Substance Use Disorder patient is simply '"not ready" for treatment and that they "just don't want it bad enough to go through the existing process."
There is an element of truth to that just as there is for any of us who have been told by our doctor that at some point we will need medical intervention for something that is not as it should be within our own bodies. When that point comes for us that we decide we are "ready" we go for the treatment, have whatever therapies are required, and move on with life. As we have done so, we've been warmly and professionally greeted and treated in a generally pleasant environment as a person worthy of dignity and respect.
Such is not the case for Medicaid reliant patients of Substance Use Disorder.
It is absolutely wrong of the medical establishment within the Medicaid system to cast the sole blame on the patient as to why they are not seeking services. To take that attitude is to take the attitude that cancer should cure itself.
The medical establishment must be willing to receive input from its customers - In this case, patients of Substance Use Disorder - compare that input with its own processes and procedures and act on its findings to improve the system.
Once that is done, the medical establishment must develop respectful and dignified ways to REALLY connect with the people on the streets and let them know that they will be welcomed with prompt dignity, honor, respect, and love when their "ready" arrives.
A patient who knows that they will be treated as a human being who is worthy of dignity, honor, respect, and love will be more willing to consider taking that next step toward healing.
That's just human nature.