Withdrawal Service for Reynolds Memorial Hospital Fills Significant Care Gap for Tri-State Residents Struggling with Addiction

Innovative program has received U.S. Attorney’s Community Outreach Award

Reynolds Memorial Hospital opened the first medically supervised inpatient substance abuse withdrawal service in the tri-state region of West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania in September 2015.

The withdrawal service, known as BreakThru, addresses the distinct needs of patients seeking help to break the cycle of substance abuse in a safe and discreet manner in an acute care hospital and has treated more than 100 patients in the first six months.

United States Attorney's Awards Withdrawal Service Reynolds Memorial HospitalRecognizing the withdrawal service’s impact on the community, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia granted Reynolds Memorial Hospital with a Community Outreach Award in ceremonies May 9, 2016.







How BreakThru Works

The initial stages of withdrawal are the most difficult, as symptoms can cause severe anxiety, pain, distress and other potentially life-threatening symptoms. Doctors and nurses monitor patient status, administer medications to ease symptoms and ensure patient safety and comfort. The treatment is covered by Medicaid, Medicare and most health insurance providers. A generous grant from the Schenk Family Foundation ensures that uninsured patients are able to access the program as well.

“We are pleased to provide an essential medical service to the Tri-State community combatting what we feel is the single greatest threat to humanity and our civilized society,” said David Hess, M.D., chief executive officer at Reynolds Memorial Hospital. “We are encouraged that so many have trusted us to care for them and stand committed to help many more fight the devastating effects of addiction.”

BreakThru is a medical withdrawal management service for individuals that are in imminent or active early withdrawal from alcohol or drug abuse. These patients are cared for in the hospital, often in private rooms, where the physical symptoms of the withdrawal process are medically supervised to ensure safety, comfort and confidentiality.

Average Length of Stay During BreakThru

The average length of stay is three days, and the service further assists patients in transitioning to the next phase of recovery after discharge from the hospital.

“We work in close partnership with other abuse and recovery organizations to ensure patient success,” Hess said.  “Our role is in the first few days whereas our partner community-based organizations continue the long-term recovery process for each patient.  


“Breaking the addiction cycle requires removing barriers for the patient,” said Brad Fercho, CEO TriTanium Solutions.  “Losing confidentiality and the imminence of exaggerated withdrawal symptoms are major hurdles that keep people from seeking help.  BreakThru is a TriTanium Solutions service line, which is a contracted service to Reynolds Memorial Hospital.  Our care model is based on medical evidence with quality metrics and has been shown to be highly effective in helping people overcome drug and alcohol related issues and get their lives back on track.”


Access to BreakThru services is available by contacting the office at 304-221-4528. The office, located in Reynolds Memorial Hospital, is open Monday-Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.


Enough Talk Already. It’s Time for Action!

As a practicing internal medicine physician in Marshall County for the past 14 years, I have witnessed nearly every malady that threatens the human condition. Unquestionably, the current scourge of substance abuse that has so pervasively permeated our region/state/country, represents, in my estimation, the single greatest threat to humanity and our civilized society.

Indeed, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that in 2013 (most current data available) 46,471 Americans died of drug overdose, more than automobile accidents (35,369) and firearm deaths (33,636). As an active member of the provider community and a hospital CEO, these senseless fatalities have created in me an indescribable level of frustration and incapacity.

What is BreakThru?

BreakThruAs it turns out, these sentiments were also universally manifested among our 25 member Board of Trustees, as well as vividly reflected in our recently completed Community Needs Assessment, wherein substance abuse was identified as the number one social problem facing our community, and the number two health concern (exceeded only by obesity). In short, we enjoyed unanimity in acknowledging our profound challenge, yet possessed few, if any weapons in our arsenal to combat the problem.

In March 2014, the management team at Reynolds Memorial Hospital (RMH) was challenged by our Board of Trustees to prioritize the development of a strategy that would allow us to leverage our resources and begin to offer assistance to those mired in the morass of substance abuse. Shortly thereafter, we introduced BreakThru, a medically supervised withdrawal management program.

The BreakThru model is the first of its kind to serve the tri-state region of West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania with the program addressing the distinct needs of patients who have voluntarily decided to take the first step toward breaking the addictive cycles of alcohol and drug abuse.

How Does BreakThru Work?

Our focus is directed at individuals that are imminent or an active early-stage withdrawal from alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines or heroin. These patients are served on a medical/surgical floor where the physical symptoms of the withdrawal process are medically supervised to ensure safety, comfort and confidentiality. Medical literature

Medical literature tells us the initial stages of withdrawal are the most difficult as symptoms can cause severe anxiety, nausea, pain, distress and other potentially life-threatening health concerns. Doctors and nurses monitor the patient’s status, administer medications to ease symptoms to ensure a safe and comfortable environment. The service is covered by most health insurance providers and by Medicare and Medicaid. The average length of stay is three days, and the service aggressively assists patients entering into the next phase of their recovery, typically an intensive outpatient program (IOP).

BreakThru Response

BreakThru is now entering its fourth month of operation. Initially, we projected five to eight admissions during our first month. In actuality, we had 24. The response had been simply overwhelming. While we realize this effort represents only a small portion of the fight that must be waged, RMH is gratified to be making a contribution to the struggle. Interestingly, our care team has derived enormous satisfaction from the effusive gratitude our BreakThru patients have expressed for the opportunity RMH has provided them in taking the first step in achieving sobriety. It is clear to all of us that BreakThru is making a real difference.

Contact Us

Access to BreakThru services can be facilitated by contacting the office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If anyone reading this article has questions, needs assistance or has a referral, please contact the BreakThru office at Reynolds Memorial Hospital by calling 304-221-4528 or 855-341-9999.

**previously published in the WV State Journal.