A letter from Dr. James Boone about COVID-19

John SniffenLa Hacienda

Dr. James Boone, Medical Director

If you are looking at our website, you or your family or loved ones are likely struggling with alcohol or substance use disorder.  In light of the current climate around the coronavirus and potential risks what is the best thing to do at this exact time?

This time in our history is somewhat unprecedented and there certainly is not a clear right or wrong decision. What is being advised this week may well change over the next few days or weeks.  We know that this virus has the potential to be fatal especially in high-risk individuals, but we also know that up to 85% of the cases are relatively mild which is why it has the potential to spread and is hard to contain.

Our facility is located in rural Kerr County and we closely screen every new patient. We have rigorous expectations of all staff in regard to their self-care and protection of our patients as it relates to hand washing, sterile techniques, and staying home if they have any respiratory illnesses or fever. 

Travel by our staff at this time has also been restricted to avoid higher risk areas.  Even with maximal precautions there can be no absolute guarantee that our campus will remain virus free although we certainly will be aggressive in our efforts.

We also know that addiction is life-threatening and threatening to relationships and marriages and jobs and finances. 

In 2017 there were approximately 88,000 deaths from alcohol and 77,000 deaths related to substance use and accidental overdose.  This is not meant to minimize the serious and potential deadly threat of this coronavirus, but simply acknowledging that addiction is also profoundly serious. 

Based on actual risks alone this may well still be the right time for you to pursue help for your addiction.

La Hacienda for over 16 years has followed a medical model which has included daily visits with our medical team.  We have had 7-day-per-week, full-time, double-boarded Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine physicians on campus.  Our medical expertise should be reassuring to you if you choose to come to our facility. 

Some of you may currently not be able to work and potentially this time could be maximized in pursuing recovery. 

If you are looking at our website right now, you or your family or loved ones are likely struggling with alcohol or substance use disorder. In light of the current climate around COVID-19 and potential risks, what is the best thing to do at this exact time?

This time in our history is unprecedented, and there certainly is not a clear right or wrong decision. What is being advised this week may well change over the next few days or weeks.

We know that this virus has the potential to be fatal, especially in high-risk individuals, but we also know that up to 85 percent of the cases are relatively mild, which is why it has the potential to spread and is hard to contain.

Thankfully, as of today, there have only been nine cases in Kerr county where our rural facility is located.

We are closely screening every new patient and have extensive restrictions as it now relates to prior travel, state and or city of residence, possible exposure risks, recent respiratory illnesses, and zero tolerance of any active symptoms at admission.

All patients and staff have documented temperatures every day. There are no visitors allowed on campus and all staff are mandated to wear masks whenever they are within six feet of a patient or other staff.

All patients wear face coverings/masks when out of their rooms and within six feet of other patients or staff.  After arrival on campus patients are currently not able to leave the campus for excursions or meals or meetings to minimize exposure and further maintain the safety of our campus.

We have rigorous expectations of every one of our staff in regards to their self care and protection of our patients as it relates to hand washing, aseptic techniques, travel restrictions, and obviously staying home if they have any respiratory illnesses or fever.

New patients are screened for symptoms before admission and receive a COVID-19 test if that is available. (An alternative is a confirmed negative swab for COVID obtained within 72 hours of admission.)

They sleep in a single-occupancy room until test results are confirmed negative. Patients who admit with reliable, documented, positive antibody testing are placed with a roommate who has passed our testing procedures. 

Temperatures are taken for everyone who enters the campus. Anyone with temperatures above CDC guidelines is denied access. 

Adjustments to our protocols are made as new guidance is received regarding best practices to protect our patients and staff. 

Addiction is life-threatening and threatening to relationships and marriages and jobs and finances. In 2017 there were approximately 88,000 deaths from alcohol and 77,000 deaths related to substance use and accidental overdose.

With social distancing and stay-at-home orders for all non-essential personnel, children at home with schools closing, financial strains and fears, and the collapse of the stock market and oil prices, the stress levels are higher than ever.

People who were barely managing to function with the structure of work are now isolated and using and drinking at unprecedented levels. Alcohol sales are at an all-time high. This is not meant to minimize the serious and potential deadly threat of this novel coronavirus, but simply acknowledging that addiction is also profoundly serious.

Based on actual risks alone, this may well be the perfect time for you to pursue help for your addiction. La Hacienda is a large open campus in Hunt, TX, which has a population density of five people per square mile! La Hacienda for over 16 years has followed a medical model that has included daily visits with our medical team. We have seven-days-per-week, full-time double-boarded Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine physicians on campus. Our medical expertise should be reassuring to you if you choose to come to our facility.

Many of you are not currently able to work, and potentially this time could be maximized in the pursuit of recovery and wellness. We understand that this is an incredibly difficult time for many, and the decision of when and where to get help in light of this pandemic makes it even more difficult.

Please contact us for any questions or concerns.

James C Boone, MD, Internal and Addiction Medicine

Medical Director, La Hacienda Treatment Center