Mercy Care of Excellence Program
Too often chronic pain doesn’t just hurt—it also can lead to mental health and substance abuse issues. Here’s how our treatment program helps at Arizona Pain.
At Arizona Pain, we know that many chronic pain patients need a comprehensive person-first program that promotes healing across the body and mind. Because of that, we are proud to introduce our Arizona Pain and Mercy Care Center of Excellence Program. This innovative program treats the entire patient, by directly providing chronic pain, mental health, and substance abuse treatments. If you’re looking for a Phoenix Suboxone clinic, contact us for help. Our comprehensive approach improves overall treatment success rates for patients in need.
Whether you’re a provider who’s looking for medication-assisted treatment programs in Phoenix for your patients, or looking for yourself or a loved one, we can help patients get their lives back.
Please note that our program is currently only available to Mercy Care patients, though we provide related chronic pain and mental health treatments at our multiple Phoenix locations. Find out if we accept your insurance provider here.
About Our Mercy Care Center of Excellence Program
In psychiatry, a dual diagnosis refers to a patient who experiences mental health challenges along with substance use disorders. The National Institute of Drug Abuse recognizes the comorbidity of these two diagnoses and the lower rates of success when just one is treated.
And for many people, treatment is complicated even further by a chronic pain condition. When mental health issues, substance abuse, and chronic pain conditions occur together, the result is a seemingly insurmountable cycle where each worsens the other.
Our Mercy Care Center of Excellence treatment program serves patients experiencing the trifecta of these challenging diagnoses: chronic pain, mental illness, and substance abuse. Our ten-week outpatient program offers a comprehensive and robust treatment approach. For the best chance of success, Arizona Pain simultaneously addresses the challenges of these three diagnoses. This personalized program of care helps patients and their families get their lives back. Here’s how we help.
Chronic Pain Treatment
Board-Certified Pain Management Physicians
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Urine Drug Testing
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Social + Environmental Support
Housing Search Assistance
Employment Search Assistance
Nutrition Support Assistance
Simultaneously treating all three conditions at once is crucial for long-term healing. Consider that:
- Patients with mental health and substance use disorders (SUD) have an 85% relapse rate in one year if only substance use is treated
- Half of those with SUD also experience mental illness
- People who develop opioid dependence are at increased risk of psychiatric comorbidities
- People with chronic disease are two to three times more likely to develop depression
If you’re looking for a Phoenix methadone clinic or Phoenix Suboxone clinic, we can help. Our Center of Excellence program’s mission is to treat the whole person.
We know that recovery is not a straight line (or an easy path). We are on this journey with you, providing the kind of care and support we would want for our own family members. You are not alone—we are committed to helping you get your life back, and we are with you every step of the way.
Healthcare providers with patients who are a part of the Mercy Care network can reach out to Arizona Pain to get started. Families with this coverage should talk to their doctor. If you’re ready to learn more about this program and get started, schedule your first appointment with our team today by filling out the following form! (If you’re not covered by Mercy Care, Arizona Pain offers comprehensive pain and mental health treatments. Make an appointment today to get started on an individualized treatment plan.)
Stage one: Diagnosis
Once you do enter our Center of Excellence program, treatment occurs in four distinct stages. In the first three weeks of the program, patients are thoroughly evaluated to verify (or uncover) a diagnosis.
They’ll meet with specialized physicians, including:
- Board-certified pain management providers
- Psychiatric providers
We also use diagnostic tools for patients who have not received a diagnosis for their chronic pain conditions. These may include MRIs, pain scale scores, and EMGs to find the root cause of pain. This diagnosis is then used to inform their treatment plan.
Throughout this process, a case manager facilitates communication among all healthcare providers.
Stage 2: Stabilization
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, patients will move into active treatment, including:
- Medical management of chronic pain condition begins: This might include medication management, complementary therapies, and interventional procedures as needed.
- Behavioral healthcare is initiated: Therapeutic strategies such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), biofeedback, support groups, and family therapy are all initiated, as is any necessary medical management of psychiatric conditions.
- Addiction treatment is formalized: Patients who require detox or medication-assisted treatment (MAT) will begin this process.
Throughout this stage, hands-on, multifaceted therapies provide physical, mental, and emotional support.
Stage 3: Transition
Finally, it’s time to dream again. This stage of the program focuses on setting goals for the future.
Patients receive continued support from a case manager. Case managers also coordinate with community healthcare workers to focus on everyday needs. This includes social, housing, and environmental support. The Arizona Pain app is also there for patients to access 24/7 for support and guidance as they transition into a more hopeful future.
Stage 4: Follow up
When the program ends at ten weeks, the support continues. Patients continue with support from their case manager in-person, over the phone, or via the Arizona Pain app. Some may also need ongoing help managing chronic pain conditions or MAT for substance abuse.
Put simply, we know that full recovery doesn’t occur in ten weeks for the majority of patients. That’s why we’re here to support you after the program ends.
Our Treatment Approaches
All of our treatments start with a proper diagnosis. Arizona Pain’s board-certified doctors specialize in identifying the cause of chronic pain. Our team has trained at some of the world’s leading institutions and together has decades of experience diagnosing and treating chronic pain. We believe in treatments that support the whole patient, from their physical well-being to their mental and emotional health.
Our comprehensive approach is one of the reasons why we can help patients find relief after years of suffering. Learn more about the full program in the following video.
Chronic Pain Treatments
Once we identify the root cause of your pain, we use a variety of treatments. These range from non-invasive lifestyle changes to more interventional approaches.
Non-invasive treatment options may include:
- Tai chi
- Chiropractic manipulation
- Diet and exercise education
Patients who require more interventional support have options, too. Some of our procedures include:
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Joint injections
- Peripheral nerve stimulation
Because we are committed to reducing opioid prescribing and treating over-prescription or opioid addiction issues among new patients, we’ll also evaluate your current medication plan. We work with you to reduce opioid use and find safer alternatives for pain management with medications.
Learn more about our treatments at arizonapain.com/pain-center.
Behavioral Health Approaches
In addition to improving a person’s general sense of well-being, mental and behavioral health services provide relief from chronic pain in ways that were not previously understood.
Consider the following research:
- A 2020 review of studies found that chronic pain patients receiving mental health services felt less pain
- Even group therapy via text produced better physical and mental health outcomes than no therapy
- Chronic pain sufferers who are treated for anxiety see a reduction in the levels of both conditions
- Untreated depression can actually lead to back pain
- Chronic pain was the cited cause of 9% of suicides in the U.S. in 2018
Better mental health resources helps with healing depression and back pain and anxiety and pain, too. Mental and behavioral health services are urgently needed for chronic pain patients, and we provide a variety of options.
Cognitive behavior therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) changes the way a person responds to negative patterns of thought. Together with a therapist, the patient examines their own thought patterns and behavior. They use journaling or desensitization to examine thoughts without judgment. This can help reduce the “stories” that rise up when pain flares.
For example, patients with depression may be in a thought pattern that pain is a permanent condition that always ruins everything. CBT helps them to look more objectively at a painful flare-up, noting any direct causes and identifying potential ways of self-care that offer some relief.
Biofeedback therapy trains a person to recognize signs of mental or physical distress and to control their response. The patient is connected to monitors that report on vital signs from breathing rate to skin temperature. The monitors clearly indicate when a person is beginning to feel changes. A therapist then guides the patient through a series of actions (such as breathing exercises) to help them return their vital signs to baseline levels.
This type of treatment helps person change their response to mental and physical pain.
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and commitment therapy uses an action-oriented approach that combines some of the best strategies from CBT and mindfulness. ACT is frequently used to treat major mood disorders, chronic pain, and addiction.
A review of studies on the efficacy of ACT for treatment of a tri-diagnosis of addiction, mental illness, and chronic conditions found it more effective than other types of therapies.
Some patients have difficulty opening up to a therapist alone, much less surrounded by other people. But for others, just knowing that they are not alone in their struggle goes a long way towards providing relief.
Group therapy is generally more affordable. It has a set structure and is guided by a licensed therapist. Some patients find it helpful in conjunction with other types of therapy, too.
The triumvirate of chronic pain, addiction, and mental illness is incredibly isolating, both on their own and in any combination.
Both in-person and online support groups are invaluable tools for patients and their families who need help navigating the everyday struggles of living with chronic pain, addiction, and mental illness.
These groups are less about resolving underlying issues and more about practical matters (e.g., navigating changes in routine or struggling with simple tasks). They can provide moments of levity, bits of inspiration, and an opportunity to help others who are struggling.
Mental illness and mood disorders affects the entire family. For this reason, family therapy can provide a support network for a patient’s loved ones. This type of therapy can help identify root causes and patterns that are causing harmful behavior.
Family therapy is not about placing blame. Its purpose is to gather together in support of a loved one who is suffering, eventually strengthening the bonds of the entire family unit.
Learn more about our treatments at arizonapain.com/pain-center/#comprehensive-care.
Substance Abuse Treatments
Substance abuse, specifically opioid abuse, has risen to catastrophic levels in the U.S. In 2019, 50,000 people died from opioid-related overdose (which includes heroin, prescription opioids and fentanyl). This number increased to over 56,000 deaths in 2020, with no signs of slowing.
As the opioid crisis deepens, so, too, does the call for better treatment options like medication-assisted treatment. Our Phoenix medication-assisted treatment program works in synch with our other chronic pain and mental health approaches. Here’s how.
How does medication-assisted treatment (MAT) work?
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) uses medications like methadone and suboxone to reduce opioid cravings so that we can reduce a patient’s reliance on opioids and give other treatments a chance to start working.
There is research into the promise of these methods:
- While treatment for opioid addiction is often riddled with relapse, medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder cuts the incidence of relapse in half.
- Patients taking buprenorphine at any dose are less likely to relapse than those who attempt to reduce opioid consumption without it.
- After a non-fatal overdose, treatment with methadone or buprenorphine reduces the risk of future opioid death.
- Better monitoring efforts and wrap-around services decreased the rate of misuse of buprenorphine.
Using methadone for pain or treatment of opioid addiction is not without risk. But MAT has helped many people break free from their addictions.
Suboxone vs. methadone
Medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder generally relies on one of two medications: suboxone or methadone. Both reduce physical cravings for opioids. They work on the same parts of the brain that produces the opioid “high,” but reduce cravings. They are also both best used as part of a comprehensive treatment program like ours.
These medications may act in a similar way, but they do have substantial differences. Here’s what to know about suboxone vs. methadone:
- Methadone must be started under a doctor’s supervision, while suboxone can be taken without a doctor present.
- Methadone is one medication, while suboxone is a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine.
- Methadone is generally better at preventing relapse. Suboxone requires a higher dose to control cravings, but this dose is stable when it reaches a certain point (meaning, more will not increase the benefit).
- Methadone’s flexible dosing may be easier for some people.
The risks of each are different, too. Even though methadone is better at preventing relapse, it is more addictive and can cause dependence over time. It is also possible to overdose on methadone, but suboxone’s decreasing effects with higher doses means it’s nearly impossible to overdose. Mixing medications can lead to suboxone overdose, so it is not entirely without risk.
A comprehensive approach
Medication-assisted treatments can be incredibly powerful for reducing opioid dependence.
In our Mercy Care Center of Excellence Program, we support these medication-assisted treatment options with not only urine drug testing to monitor for signs of abuse, but also behavioral health and chronic pain support to reduce the obstacles that lead to relapse.
Social And Environmental Support
Finally, we know that one of the keys to successfully treat people who are experiencing chronic pain, mental illness, and substance abuse is connecting them with services to support the full person.
As part of our follow-up work, Arizona Pain connects program participants with community agencies to address lingering obstacles to success (such as lack of housing, inadequate nutrition, etc.). Whatever their needs, patients receive consistent support and follow up on their road to recovery.
It’s Time To Dream Again
For chronic pain treatments, mental health support, and medication assisted treatment, Phoenix residents on Mercy Care insurance can turn to Arizona Pain’s comprehensive ten-week program.
Are you ready to learn how we can help? Get started today by filling out the following form or calling our team.