An addiction treatment clinic is opening in Downtown Madison that its owners say will provide medication, counseling and lab testing in one place.
“We want to provide comprehensive services in one site to really maximize the patient’s chance of success,” said Dr. Mike Repplinger, a UW-Madison emergency medicine specialist who is opening Monarch Health Addiction Recovery Clinics next week, with a grand opening Oct. 1.
The new clinic, at the corner of East Washington Avenue and South Blair Street, comes as opioid overdoses are up 48% this year statewide and opioid overdose deaths are up 35% in Madison. Experts say the increase is related to isolation and lost jobs from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Monarch Health will focus on using the medication buprenorphine, or Suboxone — and to some extent naltrexone, or Vivitrol — to treat addiction, Repplinger said. It won’t prescribe methadone, as 21 clinics in Wisconsin, including four in Madison, are licensed to provide.
Methadone clinics require patients to visit six days a week, though visits can be gradually reduced if patients are compliant. With Suboxone, there is more flexibility, and Monarch Health plans to see patients every few days at first and then every week or two, Repplinger said.
Methadone treatment “requires very active attendance for very prolonged periods of time,” Repplinger said. “That’s really untenable to many everyday folks who have a family to support, potentially multiple jobs to go to and a non-traditional schedule.”
Repplinger said he got the idea to open Monarch Health after seeing many patients with repeat opioid overdoses in the ER, including some who had to wait to access treatment at other Madison providers.
He is opening Monarch Health, which he described as a family medicine clinic focusing on addiction, with Dr. Howard Croft, an emergency medicine specialist from the Milwaukee area.
Monarch Health has contracted with Medicare and Medicaid and some national private insurers, and is finalizing contracts with the Madison-area insurers Quartz, Dean, WPS and Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, Repplinger said.
Among other addiction treatment providers in the Madison area are Tellurian, Journey Mental Health Center, UnityPoint Health-Meriter’s NewStart program and Connections Counseling.