Champion Center Now Accepts TRICARE

Champion Center staff meeting with Millitary represenatives

Champion Center's “Heroes Program,” treatment track offering specialized addiction treatment for first responders and military focusing on the recognition and understanding of the biological, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of addiction.

Society has a “cultural need” for law enforcement, firefighters, military personal, and other first responders to be clean, sober and in control, says Champion Center Administrator Steve Collier.

Tragically however, these are the very people who can be most vulnerable to the effects of stress and substance use disorders – when on active duty and for long periods afterward.

Champion Center officials have already been working with Vandenberg Air Force Base, and visiting military bases and centers throughout the state.

“There is such a need out there,” said Capt. Dustin Harris, Behavioral Health Operations Officer for the California State National Guard’s Central Coast region, who toured the center in January. “In California, we haven’t found a facility this squared away.”

His colleague, Capt. Daniel Burns, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Behavioral Health Officer, added, “We just want the soldier to get the help they need.”

The Nation Institute on Drug Abuse points out that zero-tolerance policies and stigma pose difficulties in identifying and treating substance use problems in military personnel.

Champion Center offers multi-stage addiction treatment, including medical detox, in a 34-bed unit licensed as a Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital. 

Its residential drug and alcohol treatment program, “The Oaks,” is a home-like setting offering daily 12-step work and in group, individual, and family therapy sessions. There are also outpatient services and outpatient sober living recovery residences.

Collier told the National Guard representatives that the staff includes veterans and former first responders. “The thing we like about it is that it is everything all in one place,” Capt. Burns noted. 

Those with TRICARE insurance may receive approval for residential treatment if they have a substance abuse disorder diagnosis. Partial hospitalization may be approved if the patient has a significant impairment that interferes with normal functioning.

In addition to TRICARE, Champion Center also accepts Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Cigna Behavioral Health, HMC Healthworks, Blue Shield, Managed Health Network (MHN), Optum, Value Options (Beacon Health) and Magellan.

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