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Lompoc-Based Champion Center Treatment Now Covered By Tricare Insurance

Addiction recovery program marks 2 years of operation, and now has more coverage options for military-related patients

The 2-year-old Champion Center in Lompoc, which provides substance addiction treatment, now is covered by Tricare, the insurance program for military members, retirees and their families. The facility is located at 303 S. C St. Click to view larger
The 2-year-old Champion Center in Lompoc, which provides substance addiction treatment, now is covered by Tricare, the insurance program for military members, retirees and their families. The facility is located at 303 S. C St. (Champion Center photo)

After clearing multiple hurdles, the Lompoc-based Champion Center now is included among addiction treatment programs covered under the insurance program for military members, their families and retirees.

The addition of Tricare among insurance programs that will cover treatment at the Lompoc Healthcare District facility is a major step for the Champion Center, which opened in November 2014 for patients voluntarily seeking recovery help.

“Our heart is in treating first responders so just having the capability to take that population is really exciting to us,” said Steve Collier, Champion Center administrator.

”We were getting Tricare-insured folks calling us, and it broke our hearts to not be able to treat them. It’s just enabling us to treat some of the population that we’ve had to turn away in our first couple of years.”

The proximity of Vandenberg Air Force Base and the wider Central Coast’s popularity among military retirees made Tricare an obvious insurance program to include on the list.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to serve our local community,” Collier added.

The Champion Center Heroes Program is aimed at police officers, firefighters, military personnel and other first responders with a specialized addiction treatment, including an emphasis on traumatic work-related events and experiences unique to first responders.

Many facilities treat addiction problems while others handle psychiatric trauma.

“There aren’t many that do both at the same time like we do,” Collier said.

Tricare approval comes after several other private insurance firms — Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Optum and others — included Champion Center.

“It’s safe to say that most commercial insurance we can accept now,” Collier said.

However, he said, the Champion Center isn’t geared only to first responders.

“That’s one of the program tracks we provide here,” Collier said. “But we’re a full-service facility for everyone with addiction problems, age 18 and beyond.

“That’s a kind of a misnomer that I want to make sure we correct because a lot of people believed that we were exclusively here to treat first responders, and that’s not the case.”

A patient’s stay varies based upon need, other health conditions and history, but typically averages 30 to 45 days.

“We have all levels of care at the Champion Center, from the acute medical detox all the way to the out-patient program,” said Rosemarie Miller, associate administrator. “It’s really great for the continuity of care and the success of the patient.”

Those enrolled in out-patient programs can rent condominium-like facilities, or recovery residences that are set up for people who may live more than 30 miles away.

“We are significant in the fact that we are the first treatment center in the nation to incorporate the sober living environment onto the same campus where the treatment program is delivered,” Miller said.

Recovery Center patients have come from throughout California, with some from Nevada. One patient is traveling from the East Coast to start the program early this year.

“We expect as we get known to have a broader draw than we have now,” Collier said.

Patients treated at the facility represent a diverse group of people.

“I can tell you addiction is an equal-opportunity disease so we have everything from physicians, attorneys, all the way to people who through other medical problems may not have worked for a quite a while,” Collier said.

“It’s a great diverse group of individuals with the one common issue of substance use disorder. It really runs the gamut.”

The Champion Center operates at 303 S. C St. in the old Lompoc hospital, which underwent a major makeover for its new role.

The facility has 34 acute-care hospital beds, 15 residential beds and 30 recovery residences. So far, it has logged 355 patient admissions, a small number for the veteran recovery administrators familiar with established programs in larger communities.

The Champion Center is believed to be the first chemical dependency rehabilitation hospital licensed in approximately 25 years in California, Miller noted.

For admission information, call 805.875.8800 or toll-free at 1.844,394.3767.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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