Community Care of West Virginia testifies to Senate committee


BUCKHANNON — Community Care of West Virginia (CCWV) is making waves in pushing back against the opioid crisis in the local communities it serves, and it is bringing the awareness of those services to our leaders in Charleston. Earlier this week, representatives of the North Central West Virginia health care provider made the trip to Charleston to meet with Legislators to discuss the PAX system, which they have assisted with the implementation into four county school systems: Braxton, Upshur, Lewis and Clay.

“The problems our students are facing are tremendous and we knew we needed to bring something to the table that was different from what is currently being used,” said Rick Simon, CEO of Community Care of WV. “PAX has shown such tremendously positive results in schools nationally and internationally that we knew it would be a unique solution for West Virginia.”

Studies of PAX implementation have shown a reduction in mental and behavioral disorders, bullying, teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol use, and lower rates of attempted suicide. In addition, places that have incorporated PAX have seen higher standardized test scores and increased graduation and college entrance rates. For teachers, there is a lower rate of burn out and an increase of as much as 60 minutes of instructional time.

“PAX is a scientifically proven and evidence-based program that teachers can easily incorporate into their classrooms without interruption or change to the current curriculum and to the benefit of the students, teachers and school,” explained Dr. Kevin Junkins, CCWV Psychiatrist.

The program, which utilizes made up words such as “spleems” and “toodles” to appeal to children, is a tool that teachers can use in the classroom in order to help address mental and behavioral health issues that many students are facing from difficult home life and opioid affected households. The basics of the integration is that it draws attention and reinforces positive behaviors while holding accountable and teaching students to self-regulate.

“We are seeing the most positive outcomes in the schools in which the teachers are using this program with fidelity,” stated Simon. “Teachers are enjoying teaching again, students are being taught important social skills, and everything is being framed to create a positive, safe environment, which many students are seeking.”

Community Care of West Virginia has long worked ahead of the curve with medical innovativeness. Eight years ago the facility removed opioids from its practice and instituted a single pain clinic that manages distribution with intense controls. In the last year, the provider was recognized as a Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPi) Exemplary Practice by the National Rural Accountable Care Consortium Practice Transformation Network.


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