Patients struggling with substance use disorders are vulnerable to any number of common and more specific medical issues. These can be either short-term or long-term in nature; minor or serious; injurious or infectious; etc. It is not uncommon to refrain from good self-care practices while actively using or even to plainly lose access to additional healthcare providers and services while in the throes of addiction.
Treatment providers like Sunrise are required to test for certain medical conditions and infectious diseases as part of the intake process. This includes testing for blood counts, kidney function, liver function, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, TB, syphilis and pregnancy. If any of those results need further evaluation and management, then Sunrise will work to coordinate care with the appropriate medical provider or public health department.
If patients aren’t currently being seen by a Primary Care Provider (PCP), then that would become a treatment plan goal to begin to address your physical health needs. PCP’s are able to make recommendations and provide services to include:
Routine health screenings (i.e. general, blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, cancer)
Pertinent immunizations (i.e. hepatitis A, hepatitis B, HPV, tetanus, influenza, pneumonia)
Assess and treat acute injuries and illnesses
Diagnose, treat and monitor various chronic disease states
In a situation where a person doesn’t have access to an appropriate medical provider for some such reason, then the medical staff at Sunrise is able to provide some limited, transitional general medical services for certain circumstances to include:
Recent treatment at ER or urgent care and unable to follow-up yet with PCP
Discharged from inpatient or residential program on medication, out of refills, no follow-up visit yet w/PCP
Lost access to provider due to provider relocation, patient new to area, insurance lapse, etc.
To regain control of a chronic condition that becomes acutely unstable
Minor, straightforward acute issues
It is appropriate and appreciated for every patient to always be completely honest and forthcoming with your PCP’s about your full identity as a medical patient. It is additionally important and an expectation of Sunrise that you are open with your PCP’s about your history of substance use disorders regardless of whether they’re currently active or not. This is even more important if you are on medication. There are too many potential risks, drug interactions, and other possible complications to not share this part of your medical history with your PCP.
Direct and complete communication and coordination of care is essential for patients with substance use disorders to be properly diagnosed and treated by healthcare providers. That being said, if you ever feel judged, mistreated, under-treated or inappropriately treated by a healthcare provider for having a substance use disorder or being in treatment, make a complaint, advocate for yourself, and switch providers within the office or change to an entirely new office. There are plenty of providers out there who have a good understanding of addiction that will provide correct, comprehensive and compassionate care.
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