Laura Nyman, 34, has been a Virginia Premier member since 2014 and a patient at the Virginia Premier Neighborhood Health Center in Roanoke for four years. “It’s a really big deal for me to say I totally trust and enjoy the people who treat me at the Neighborhood Health Center,” she says.
Laura is a former opioid addict. She says addicts tend to be wary of the medical establishment because they feel “judged and dismissed by doctors, and we’re not always treated with respect.” But things were different when she went to the Neighborhood Health Center for her primary medical care and ongoing treatment for substance abuse.
Laura first came into contact with opiates at age 21 via cough medicine prescribed to her for a severe case of bronchitis. Later, she began taking pills because she liked the way they made her feel. By age 23, Laura was addicted to painkillers, using “whatever I could get.”
At age 30, she got through a Suboxone-treatment program, but it wasn’t geared toward long-term maintenance. Her boyfriend then recommended the Neighborhood Health Center because of his positive experience with the staff there. Laura switched to one of Virginia Premier’s primary care physicians (PCP) and entered its office-based opioid treatment program. Today, the program helps her maintain her sobriety.
“I have personal relationships with everybody there. I like them all very much,” she says. In fact, Physician Assistant Jennifer Johnson serves as a PCP for not only Laura, but also her 10-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son. “I trust her with my life, and my children’s lives,” says Laura.