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Free Vaccines and Opiate Treatment Will Continue, Says Clinic

by Phillip Manning ~ July 26th, 2013

Officials at the Sunshine Community Health Center say that two key programs will be able to continue while a new Medical Director is sought.  When Dr. Mary Loeb’s contract as Medical Director was not renewed, questions arose regarding the future of some of the programs that area residents have come to rely on, including the Outpatient-Based Opiated Treatment, or OBOT, program and the state-funded free vaccine program.

Cici Schoenberger, Clinical Social Worker at the Sunshine Clinic, operates the OBOT program, where participants are prescribed the opiate substitute Suboxone .  Prescribing Suboxone requires a specific DEA certification that can only be obtained by a medical doctor.  Schoenberger says that Dr. Joan Friderici has taken the course and applied for the certification to prescribe Suboxone. The process can take four to six weeks.  Schoenberger says that if there are no delays, program patients will be covered by the last prescription issued by Dr. Loeb, but that there is no backup if the process takes longer than expected.

Schoenberger says the potentially greater issue with the OBOT program is the patient-provider relationship that Dr. Loeb had established. She says that Dr. Loeb saw as many as half of the OBOT patients as their primary care physician, and that Dr. Loeb spent a great deal of time establishing trust.  Schoenberger says that it’s hard for an addict to trust a doctor.  She plans to work closely with Dr. Friderici, and says she has full confidence in her abilities, but that it will take time to re-establish the trust between the OBOT patients and a doctor they are less familiar with.

Concerns have also been raised about the state program that provides vaccines, free of charge, to those who have trouble affording them.  Dr. Loeb was listed as the physician overseeing the program prior to her dismissal.  According to Executive Director David Bryant, the Community Health Center has re-applied for the program using Dr. Anne Yoshino, who will be serving as a provider through mid-September.  Once Dr. Yoshino leaves, the program will need to be transitioned again, but Bryant says that there is no waiting period from the state once an application is submitted, and that the program should be able to continue as normal.  In the interim, Bryant says the Community Health Center has been in contact with the Mat-Su public health nurse in order to make sure there is no gap in the free vaccine program.

3 Responses to Free Vaccines and Opiate Treatment Will Continue, Says Clinic

  1. Kim

    David Bryant seems clueless as an “official” and leader. Although the staff represent the clinic when making arrangements with outside resources such as the public health nurse or a temporary doctor, they have been left without guidance to figure this mess out themselves. Mr. Bryant has offered no direction and has not had one original idea on how to proceed with the changes that need to be made. Someone is dragging him along barely keeping his head above water, he is dead weight who almost certainly gets paid an unrealistic amount of money for doing as little as possible. The clinic staff are resilient, amazing people who have pulled together to try and get this once steadfast, now desperate clinic back on track. Between Sharon Montagnino and Dr. Mary Loeb, the clinic was solid and performing well. Mr. Bryant should be relieved of his “duties” immediately before the damage is permanent. It’s time for the board to recognize the loud and unrelenting voices of the community and resolve this issue once and for all. Even if Dr. Loeb were unable to return to the clinic, Mr. Bryant should not be in this current position of control.

  2. Shelis

    The public health nurse has set up 4 dates to be in the upper mat su valley in the next month. One at Sunshine Clinic and at the Talkeetna Women and Children’s Clinic and one in Trapper Creek and one in Willow. She can be contacted for appts at 352 6600

  3. The Irishman

    Once again Mr Bryant states as he did two weeks ago that Dr Yoshino is stepping in to fill the void left by the dismissal of Dr Loeb. However, there a serious omission by Mr Bryant in the fact that Dr Yoshino is actually not yet working at the Clinic. Further, given the fact that when she does come on board and will be working just twenty hours a week, then leaving in mid September, she is certainly going to be a very busy woman.

    I’m confused by the purpose of Mr Bryant’s several announcements on KTNA. It seems as though he’s seeking credit for fixing the many problems he has created.