Dr. Enrique Oviedo, MD
Dr. Enrique Oviedo is a board-certified psychiatrist specializing in addiction treatment who serves as the medical director for MATClinics. A graduate of the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine, he has practiced in the area for more than decade, including as medical director for Catholic Charities of Baltimore’s addiction treatment services and as a clinical associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
At MATClinics, Dr. Oviedo works with a clinical team of more than 20 nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and licensed behavioral health specialists to develop comprehensive care plans tailored to the needs of individual patients. He is an active member in both the Maryland Psychiatric Society and the Maryland-DC Society of Addiction Medicine.
Below is a brief Q&A with Dr. Oviedo which helps to illustrate how his treatment philosophy is implemented throughout MATClinics.
Q: What draws you, as a physician, to addiction treatment?
A: Addiction treatment wasn’t my initial plan when entering medical school, psychiatry was. However, when I was a resident, I had an opportunity to work in an addiction clinic in West Baltimore. What I remember from my first experiences there is that everyone had their own unique story. They had endured trauma or their pain was mismanaged by over-prescription or other circumstances made life very difficult for them. After meeting with these patients, I was like “gosh, this isn’t their fault…that could have just as easily happened to me.” That’s when I decided to return to the University of Maryland School of Medicine to get specialized training for addiction treatment.
Q: How important is it that the whole of the person – not simply their substance use disorder – be treated?
A: It’s extremely important. I like to use the analogy of a four-legged chair: the first leg is their addiction treatment, the second leg is their physical treatment, the third leg is their behavioral health and the fourth leg is their everyday needs like finances and family. If one of those legs isn’t sturdy, the chair can tip over. That’s what happens in real life. So, you can provide the very best addiction treatment, but that’s not always enough. That’s why we invest so much in our case management and other support services.
Q: In addition to medication-assisted treatment, behavioral health and other clinical aspects of treatment, what does someone with a substance use disorder most need?
A: Support, support, support – in all its forms. For example, we encourage our patients to be active in Narcotics Anonymous to gain peer support, to get a sponsor to gain valuable tips that can prevent relapses, to bring families members into their therapy so they can be supportive of the patient. It runs the gamut.
Q: As medical director, what about MATClinics’ approach to addiction treatment are you most proud of?
A: Historically, addiction treatment has been very punitive. Patients would be kicked out of programs for unexpected urine results or difficult behavior. Can you imagine a patient with diabetes being turned away by their primary care physician for having high blood-sugar levels? Of course not. That would be malpractice.
At MATClinics, we don’t give up on our patients. We don’t expect sick people to act well. We recognize that addiction is a disease in which relapses do happen. That’s why we need to continue to be there for each of them.
Q: Can you describe MATClinics philosophy of harm reduction and how that philosophy helps patients with substance use disorders in their recovery?
A: Every patient’s recovery is different. Therefore, not every patient’s goal is to abstain from all substances, which is something treatment programs historically imposed on patients. So, if you didn’t subscribe to an abstinence-based program, out the door you went.
I believe that addiction treatment is more effective when it’s patient-centered and the patient comes up with their goals for themself. So, if a patient wants to get off of illicit opiates, but wants to continue to drink alcohol, we can meet them where they are and help them achieve that goal. And because patient goals evolve over time – and we form a productive alliance with them – we can and often do help them achieve other recovery goals down the line when they have more confidence in themselves.
Q: How would you describe your colleagues – especially the medical providers, counselors, case managers and others who interact directly with the patients?
A: I’m in awe of just how compassionate and flexible and understanding our front desk staff, our case managers, counselors, and our providers are to each patient. This can be very difficult work and our patients can be very complex, but our staff treat patients the way any person should be treated – with respect and dignity. I see that day in and day out. I’m inspired by our staff at all levels and at all positions.
Q: What credit would you give someone suffering a substance use disorder that they might not give themself?
A: It’s easy for patients not to give themselves the credit – the grace – they deserve for their decision to pursue recovery. As human beings, it’s difficult for us to start a new behavior or change an engrained behavior whether it’s beginning to exercise to lose five pounds or spending less time on our mobile phone.
Therefore, it’s important for those in addiction treatment to know that what they’re doing can be incredibly hard and progress isn’t always going to be linear. That’s why they deserve a lot of credit for seeking recovery and why they need to know that they’ll get the support they need to be successful.
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MATClinics currently accepts all Maryland Medicaid programs as well as Medicare Part B and all CareFirst (or BlueCross Blue Shield) plans. Learn more about what to expect and a list of the insurance programs accepted.