PRINCETON — Dr. Paul Bonucci opened Prompt Care in Princeton in 2011 to fill a community need for minor illness and injury health care.
Offering Suboxone treatment for people with opioid addictions was not in his business plan until he was approached with a request and discovered through research it was significant community need.
Within two years and with the assistance of internet locators, the program was at its maximum capacity. This was as Bonucci, who operated Princeton Prompt Care for six years before Perry Memorial Hospital purchased and renamed it in the fall of 2017, was transitioning out of Perry Prompt Care as a provider.
However, the hospital's goal is to keep the treatment program going, and Bonucci, who also wants the program to continue, is assisting the transition over the long term.
Today, Bonucci is mentoring the next generation of health care providers at Perry Prompt Care — Cory Kramer, an advanced practice registered nurse, and Ariel Pozzi, a licensed clinical social worker.
Kramer worked with Bonucci as he achieved his nurse practitioner degree and began his Perry Prompt Care provider role.
“Dr. Bonucci provided me daily guidance and challenged me on how I wanted to develop my health care practice,” Kramer said.
Working with Bonucci and experiencing firsthand the patient need for Suboxone treatment, Cory set a goal to become certified in the administration of Suboxone, which is a brand name for a medication used to treat people who are addicted to opioids.
“I had a personal friend who died from an overdose, so both my personal and professional experience has guided me to help others,” Kramer said.
Kramer received his Suboxone certification in December 2018. He is now training one-on-one with Bonucci on how to develop treatment plans for new patients toward their recovery path.
Bonucci’s mentoring continues with Perry’s recent addition of Pozzi. She collaborates with Bonucci to understand the medication while providing the follow-up therapy for a patient’s recovery, which is estimated at one and one-half years.
The treatment plan is intensive, Pozzi said.
"Suboxone as a medication is just the starting point," she said.
"I want to empower patients through counseling to help them move forward in their life. We identify life stressors and provide options on how to help them function positively when the stressor pops up,” she said.
Bonucci holds an American Board of Emergency Medicine certification and recently received an Addiction Medicine certification from the American Board of Preventative Medicine (ABPM).
The ABPM explains that addiction medicine assists with the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and recovery of persons with the disease of addiction, of those with substance-related health conditions, and of people who show unhealthy use of substances including nicotine, alcohol, prescription medications and other licit and illicit drugs.
Bonucci said he is pleased to guide the next generation of health care providers.
“The opioid addiction is not easily understood by the general public," Bonucci said.
"Cory's energetic ability to relate well to patients and Ariel’s involvement in counseling is a complement to Perry’s commitment to meet the needs of the community,” he said.