In our latest In the Booth podcast, we are pleased to have Kelly Mesi from Meritain Health market development strategy and delivery, Ashley Loeb Blassingame, Lionrock Founder and Chief People Officer and AJ Black, Lionrock Director of Business Development, discussing Lionrock and how they provide a new approach to the treatment of substance abuse disorders.
Speaker 1 (00:06):
Welcome to another edition of In the Booth. My name is Kelly Mesi, and I'm a senior business consultant on the market development strategy and delivery team here at Meritain Health Thank you for joining us today for a discussion with AJ Black and Ashley Loeb Blassingame from Lionrock. Lionrock is one of Meritain’s newest vendor partners offering telehealth treatment for substance abuse disorders to groups of all sizes. We're so excited to have you here, Ashley and AJ. Ashley, can you tell us a little bit more about Lionrock and how it differs from some of the other substance abuse treatment programs out there?
Speaker 2 (00:43):
Absolutely. So my, my name is Ashley and I'm one of the co-founders of Lionrock Recovery. I'm also the current Chief people officer, and I'm a person in long term recovery. So I come at this from a bunch of different angles and I going to talk a little bit about the medical model. So what many people think of as treatment is more the medical model. How can we give you something to get rid of cravings? How, how can we stop the, the use of substances and get you back to work to make you more productive? And while that is something that is important and certainly useful, one of the things that Lionrock Recovery looks at is, is what we call the Whole Person Initiative. And that looks at what can we do in our program to make it so that long term, we're not just masking or stopping symptoms, but we're creating a person who feels comfortable over a long period of time to make real long withstanding changes.
Speaker 2 (01:56):
This is different than a lot of programs, A lot of programs. It's much more about patching you up, giving you some medication and sending you on your way. They're going to give you some meetings, they're going to give you some skills to maybe change the direction of your drinking or abstain. The way that we look at it is there's something underneath that is causing you to want to self medicate. What is that thing underneath? How can we help you reduce the anxiety, the depression, whatever is underneath the use so that you can be not just abstinent, not just no longer spiraling, but actually a happy, healthy member of your family, of society, of your workplace. What is, what is to make you, what can we do to make you the best you? And so our curriculum looks at what is underneath, what are the core reasons.
Speaker 2 (02:53):
It's, it's very similar to what you would see as like functional medicine doctors, right? You have the medical model. You go to most doctors, they're going to look at, Okay, you have these symptoms, we're going to treat your symptoms. When you go to a functional medicine doctor, they're going to look at what a root causes. They're going to treat your symptoms, but they're going to look at what a root causes. And that's how I would describe Lionrock is we're interested in root causes. We want to see people have the skills to be able to change not just the substance use in their life, but also the other things in their life that aren't working anymore.
Speaker 1 (03:31):
Great. Thank you so much, Ashley. It sounds like Lionrock really takes a holistic whole person approach to helping people change their lives for the better.
Speaker 2 (03:41):
Another thing that we do, which is, which is different, is that we offer a moderation management program. This is kind of taboo in our field, but we do believe that there are people out there, and we have seen people out there who want to just change their relationship with substance. Maybe that's not the core issue, but that's how it's showing up. And so we do have a program called Health Balance where people come and they, they do a 30 day abstinence, and then they introduce alcohol back into their life in a way that they've worked through with their counselor. They meet once weekly and they work on, is this something that we can, I can moderate.
Speaker 1 (04:27):
That's great. It sounds like there's a lot of options to help people regardless of kind of where they are in the process and along the spectrum of substance abuse. Can you tell us a little bit more about how members are going to know about Lionrock and how they ultimately engage with Lionrock?
Speaker 3 (04:42):
Sure, I'll take that one. This is AJ Black. I'm Director of Business Development here at Lionrock. We work with employers and their brokers and consultants to roll out the communication of the Lionrock Virtual Substance Use Disorder Care. And this is a nuanced approach, and we got to spend a second here on this. One of the things we want are folks to have access to it, but they also don't want to be looking over to their shoulder thinking, Oh gosh, my employer knows that I'm in treatment and I can be let go. In fact, addiction is treated or is covered by ADA, so it's against the law to take any negative action towards those employees. So what we do is communicate it in an early rollout, let them know that everything is a hundred percent confidential. The virtual care can be done discreetly wherever they are in a convenient manner. And when the employee wants to engage, they can either they have a dedicated 8 77 number that they will reach out to, and they'll be in touch with an admissions counselor, or they can go to Lionrock recovery.com and access it online and be in touch with admissions counselor that way.
Speaker 1 (05:52):
Great. It sounds like there's a few different pathways for a member to engage in this discreet and convenient treatment. All right. Many of our listeners may not be aware that this is a problem for their employees or clients. Can you provide some insight into what you've experienced around how these issues may present in the workplace and who might be struggling with substance abuse?
Speaker 3 (06:13):
Absolutely. so the US Department of Health and Human Services states that roughly 15% of Americans are struggling with some form of addiction. So you take that same axiom and apply it to employer groups. They are your coworkers. They're either hiding it or it could be the stigma is keeping folks from reaching out for care, but they are your coworkers. It's, it's Eddie down the hall in accounting, the, the hypothetical Eddie out there. So it is a very much more common fact that, that, or a feature that folks are struggling. However, since the stigma stigmatization of this condition is so prevalent people won't raise their hand to get help. And this is one of the reasons why Lionrock is so effective, because of our discretion. You can get help, as I had mentioned earlier, in the convenience of your own home in your car, on your iPhone. You can join a meeting whenever it is convenient for you. We have over 75 sessions per week that our members are have access to, to help them get the treatment they need.
Speaker 2 (07:24):
Yeah. And, and this is Ashley again. Furthermore, you know, there is this idea that someone who struggles with substance use is, you know, living on a bench, under a bridge. There's, we have this sort of Hollywood vision of what someone's struggling with substance abuse looks like. And what I always tell people is most of the people that I work with actually have very good jobs and are integral parts of the community. It, it is shocking to most people how often someone they know has an undercover drinking or drug problem. And the reason that is, is that most people try really, really hard to keep that problem as under control as they can until they can't. And one thing that's interesting about Lionrock is that 80% of our clients are employed, which is a very unusual number in the substance use treatment world. And that's because people are accessing care earlier in the, a acuity of the disease.
Speaker 2 (08:28):
Because they're able to do it online, they're able to do it without people knowing about it. And so they don't have to wait until they go to a 30 day place where everyone has to know. I've worked with investment bankers, ambassadors to foreign countries. I've worked with people who travel, who do sales for a living, and they travel from hotel to hotel, stay at home moms Hollywood executives, you name it, we've, we've had them at Lionrock. And what the common denominator is that this problem starts out as stress relief, and it, it snowballs into something more. And one of the ways that I, I tell people to think about a drinking or drug problem is this, Does drinking cause you problems? You don't have to call it alcoholism or a drug problem. You can just say, Does drinking cause you problems? It's a great place for people to start because most people don't continue to drink if alcohol cause causes them problems.
Speaker 2 (09:30):
However, many people are willing to say, you know, alcohol is causing me problems and I'm continuing to drink. That lowers the bar for people having to identify as an alcoholic. And it also includes people who drink too much at the Christmas party, they drink too much when they are, you know, taking the clients out, whatever those circumstances are. And we all know those people that look, that is the beginnings or the middle of a drinking problem, and we're able to help people much sooner before they have to say, go inpatient or they have serious, serious consequences like DUIs and other such things.
Speaker 1 (10:09):
Great. It, it really sounds like there's such a broad need for these services and really any group of any industry could benefit. One of the other real big pieces that I know the listeners would be interested in learning more about is some of the outcomes that Lionrock has been able to achieve with these services. Can you share more about what outcomes you've seen from those that have utilized Lionrock?
Speaker 3 (10:32):
Sure, I'll take this one. At Lionrock, we're, we're always working with our members and graduates and alumni to make sure the satisfaction levels were there. So we're polling quite a bit. And in that we most recent poll, which was done six months ago, we asked several questions. Starting off with the quality of Lionrock’s Care. It was over 80% positive response there, 84% to be exact, which is very, very high in the substance use disorder industry. Next we ask the amount or the substance use disorder substance use since discharge. And close to 80% are abstinent or have had one relapse, but this is after 18 months. And let me take a second here to, to talk about this 18 months of being sober versus some more solutions that are showing up in this space. It's getting a little more crowded and competitive. They'll go out 28 days and measure sobriety in 28 days. That's, that's not a good broader. So we push that out to 18 months. So all the numbers I'm stating right here are after 18 months of care or receiving care and being a graduate from next we actually ask quality of life since discharge, which might be the, the most important. And it's 85% is positive, much better or better which is really, you know, the fast ball here on what we're trying to solve for.
Speaker 2 (12:03):
I'll hop in real quick here. Another portion of this data that's important is that the people who did the more intensive care had better outcomes. And when we look at outcomes 18 months out, we're looking at people who are still abstinent 18 months later, even if they've had a relapse. So they were able to use their skills to get back into recovery even after a relapse. That is a really, really important measurement because oftentimes people do go back and relapse and try to see if alcohol is still something that doesn't work for them. And the ability to use those skills to get back into recovery is extremely telling. As AJ said, a lot of programs will test, a lot of programs will look at outcomes right after someone leaves treatment. So after 30 days, were you sober, abstinent, leaving your treatment program? Were, we don't believe that. That's a good barometer
Speaker 1 (13:04):
From It sounds like from a member experience perspective, it's clear that Lionrock has had some really impressive outcomes. I think some of the listeners may also be interested in some of the cost savings opportunity that comes along with using Lionrock. Can you share a little bit more about how a plan sponsor might see some cost savings if they choose to have Lionrock as part of their benefit package?
Speaker 3 (13:26):
Absolutely. One thing we like to do with self-funded employers is pull the revenue and claims codes that substance use disorder is filed under. And it's actually a very good exercise for our broker partners to pull these claims. The claims data on that as it shows empirically the utilization at a given employer group. We mentioned earlier, there's some skepticism or I don't hire those folks at my company. And when you present the claims data, it's always eye-popping because they don't know they're spending that much with the Lionrock model. And because we're so efficient and effective and with a discretion, we're able to save quite a bit of money off, off what an employer would've spent year over year, roughly 40 to 60% is what the usual outcome is. And also keep in mind we have better outcomes for their employees and their adult dependents. So we're improving care and lowering costs at the same time. We have two models that employers can look at per employee per month employer funded or a case rate, also employer funded. It's roughly one fifth. The cost, the case rate is roughly one fifth, the cost of one month of an inpatient facility. So again, to reiterate one fifth, the cost with better outcomes for the people who go through that and lower cost to the employer. Employer too.
Speaker 1 (14:52):
Great. I'm sure our listeners love hearing that. And I'm sure that after hearing what you had to say today about the broad applicability, the improvements for the members and the cost savings opportunity, there may still be some interest in learning more about, you know, what the member's True experience has been using Lime Rock. Are you able to share where listeners can go and learn more about a member's experience using Lionrock?
Speaker 3 (15:17):
We have a couple resources. The first one I would direct your broker and consultant partners to is Lionrock health.com. We have some white papers in there as well as user experiences. And then the original website, Lionrock recovery.com, which includes Ms. Blasting Game's Weekly podcast, which is a terrific resource and a lot of people dip their toe into that before reaching out to us amongst many, many other items that may be of interest to the person seeking email@example.com.
Speaker 2 (15:51):
And another resource we have is our Trust pilot, which we have worked very hard to collect a lot of reviews from. And you see that they are completely authentic because we have people in there who, you know, had mixed reviews, but 92% five star reviews. Our clients have written really authentic and revealing reviews about their experience at Lionrock Recovery. So you could go to Trust Pilot and Search Lionrock Recovery for those.
Speaker 1 (16:21):
Great. And I just wanted to add in that in addition to the resources Ashley and AJ have shared, you can also reach out directly to your Meritain Health contact and they can get you connected to Lionrock for a more in depth conversation. AJ and Ashley, I really appreciate you joining me today for in the booth and sharing more about Lionrock with our listeners. Thank you so much.
Speaker 2 (16:44):
Speaker 3 (16:44):
Thank you so much for having us. Very excited about this partnership with Meritain.