Addiction counselors learn skills at CMC
New program helps Solvista Health improve mental health, substance abuse treatment
By Mike McKibbin
Four Solvista Health employees in Salida are learning what they need to know to become certified addiction counselors through a new collegewide Colorado Mountain College program.
The employees are taking nine credit hours of online classes this fall semester through CMC's certified addiction counselor program – and their employer is paying for the lessons. Solvista is also paying for phlebotomy certification through CMC.
Courses are available online, in a combination of real-time virtual class meetings and some self-paced semester courses. Students can enroll in and take these classes from any CMC location and must live within the college’s 12,000-mile service area for support in placement of field experience.
The counselors will meet regulatory requirements when they finish, according to Julie Anderson, Solvista's regional assessment center program director.
"We'd used online classes before and when we noticed CMC was going to offer them, we thought that was great," Anderson said.
Qualified for care
The center began mental health and substance use crisis treatment in May in Salida on the Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center campus. It offers residents in Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Lake, Park and surrounding counties treatment they previously had to travel over 100 miles to receive.
Tammy Moruzzi, chief nursing officer, said the four staff members will be qualified to care for the needs of center clients.
"Right now we have both in and outpatient services and with substance abuse you need highly skilled individuals to provide the care," she stated.
Moruzzi said Solvista officials were "super excited and a little shocked" when they discovered the program.
"It's really a testament to CMC," she said.
Anderson said the costs of the CMC program are comparable to other online training classes.
"But the students really like it because they have felt lots of support and access to facilities right here in Salida," she added. "And they're in cohorts with students from Glenwood Springs and Rifle."
Keeping it local
Moruzzi noted it was important to support a local community partner like CMC "and keep local money local."
"They also get really awesome sharing experiences," she said. "We hope we can continue other training with CMC, too."
The CMC program offers certificates of proficiency as certified addiction technicians and addiction specialists. With the certificates, employment in addiction recovery, counseling centers, hospitals, youth recovery facilities or residential treatment centers is possible.
Certification in Colorado requires specialized training and supervised field experience in the addiction field. CMC's programs offer all the technical training for credit college-level courses and field experience opportunities.
For more information, call the Salida campus at 719-530-7900.