This is an updated version of a blog post we made last year introducing our peer recovery coaches. Given how COVID-19 is keeping people inside and away from their normal support networks, it's important to make sure that your patients in need of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment or support know all of their options. Our peer recovery coaches can meet with them through AllWays on Teams or by phone. Learn more below.
A peer recovery coach is a guide and a support for someone who is interested in recovery. Evidence shows that people working with a peer recovery coach are less likely to relapse and more likely to feel good about their recovery process.
AllWays Health Partners is proud to be one of the first health plans in the country to have peer recovery coaches on staff. Our two coaches, Barry and Chris, tell us more in their own words.
How do you explain what a peer recovery coach is?
Chris: A recovery coach is a person with lived experience who can support someone on their journey of recovery. I reach out to members who may be suffering from an SUD. I start with a phone call to the members to see if I can get in touch with them, and then I pretty much go from there.
Barry: Basically, I sit down with people and ask them questions. I travel a lot to see people in their homes or in public places. And I ask things like: What is it that I can do to help? What do you think you need in order to make the changes that need to be made for you? And then we work from there. And sometimes people don’t know what they want, and so then the conversation becomes about figuring that out.
What are your thoughts on being one of the first health plans to employ recovery coaches?
Barry: It’s a very innovative company, and it shows in this initiative because there is nobody else who’s doing it. So I’m really proud to be a part of this. I think it’s really necessary. Recovery services are moving away from just sending people to treatment, and the focus is more on long-term management of addiction. It’s great to be a part of an organization that recognizes that this is important, that it needs to happen.
Chris: AllWays Health Partners really cares about people. Also, removing the stigma is huge. The fact that an insurance company is setting precedent, making it seem like there shouldn’t be a stigma attached to mental health and addiction as a whole. When you talk about a company that really cares about their members, this is the epitome of “people first.” We’re showing our members who are struggling that there is someone there to help you. There are people who care and believe it or not they work for an insurance company.
How to connect your patients with our recovery coaches
The current COVID-19 crisis can be particularly hard on people recovering from SUDs. People with SUDs are normally encouraged to reach out to others and spend time with peers, whether that means attending self-help groups or hanging out with friends and family.
Although our peer recovery coaches are currently unable to meet with patients face to face due to the pandemic, they are still meeting with patients virtually via AllWays on Teams and over the phone. Our coaches can also offer resources and support to members who are impacted by a loved one's SUD.
If you have more questions about our peer recovery coaches or want to submit a referral, you can contact Barry and Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.