UnitedHealthcare Community Plans

Blount County-based drug and alcohol treatment center Stepping Stone to Recovery will begin accepting TennCare recipients of UnitedHealthcare Community Plans starting Friday, July 3.

UnitedHealthcare Community PlansThe recent agreement between Stepping Stone, a subsidiary of Cornerstone of Recovery, and UHC means that the addiction and alcoholism treatment facility now has contracts with all three of the managed care organizations that provide health care coverage to Tennesseans enrolled in the TennCare program.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to serve more Tennesseans and provide more services to those who need drug and alcohol treatment,” says Evan Sexton, part of the Utilization Management team at Stepping Stone to Recovery. “When Stepping Stone was first opened in 2018, we recognized there was a need for comprehensive, top-quality drug and alcohol treatment for those who have TennCare, and we’re grateful that we’ve reached an agreement with UHC that now allows us to serve anyone with TennCare coverage who needs our help.”

Stepping Stone, located at 1214 Topside Road in Louisville, opened two years ago to provide drug and alcohol treatment to Tennesseans who are part of the state-funded TennCare program, which provides coverage to 1.4 million state residents. According to the TennCare Enrollment Report for May 2020, UnitedHealthcare Community Plans provide TennCare coverage for more than 422,000 Tennesseans, including more than 138,000 in the eastern third of the state.

UnitedHealthcare Community Plans and Stepping Stone

The community room at Stepping Stone to Recovery.

“From the beginning, our goal has been to provide much-needed drug and alcohol treatment for all TennCare recipients,” says Steve McGrew, the CEO of Stepping Stone and Cornerstone. “Now that we’re in network with all three managed care organizations, we feel like we’re in a position to do the most good for our neighbors right here in East Tennessee.”

Given the most recent statistics for suspected overdose deaths in Knox County — compiled by the office of District Attorney General Charme Allen — Stepping Stone’s new agreement with UnitedHealthcare Community Plans couldn’t come at a better time. Overdose deaths from January through June 2020 stand at 159, up more than 22 percent the same period in 2019.

“A lot of attention has been given lately to COVID-19 — and rightly so — but it’s important not to lose sight of why we do what we do,” McGrew adds. “There were almost 70,000 overdose deaths from November 2018 to November 2019, the latest reporting period for which those statistics are available. On top of that, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that alcohol-related deaths claim about 88,000 lives every year.

“Alcohol and drug abuse death statistics are tracked separately by the government, so when you add them together, you can accurately say that more than 150,000 people die each year in America from drug and alcohol abuse. Clearly, the need for drug and alcohol treatment is great, which is why we’re very grateful to all three of TennCare’s managed care organizations for giving us an opportunity to serve their members.”

Cornerstone of Recovery was founded in 1989 and has since grown to become one of the largest residential drug and alcohol treatment providers in Tennessee, serving patients from across the country. Stepping Stone to Recovery, which has beds for 46 detoxification or residential patients and is overseen by Program Director Rod Jackson, follows a similar model of treatment that uses various traditional and evidence-based therapeutic tools. Stepping Stone’s foundation is built on the 12 Step model of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, but the facility’s treatment model also includes a variety of approaches that address issues that frequently underlie addiction, such as co-occurring psychiatric conditions, trauma, relationship problems and poor coping skills.

In addition, Stepping Stone provides less intensive levels of care, such as Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient services to provide a full continuum of care as patients progress in their recovery. Following primary treatment, Stepping Stone provides ongoing aftercare and recovery support.

For information on services at Stepping Stone to Recovery, please call 865-259-0678.