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Baystate Franklin Medical Center earns $1M for mobile opioid addiction treatment clinic

October 09, 2019
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Franklin County and North Quabbin Bridge Clinic to provide mobile access to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Baystate Franklin Medical Center acquired a $1 million grant to launch a program to provide mobile services to people suffering from, or at risk of, opioid use disorder (OUD).

The grant was provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. More than $111 million was awarded to 96 rural organizations across 37 states as part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program.

Many barriers exist to address OUD across the prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery spectrum in Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region. People who need help are often unable to access and coordinate the services they need to get well. To address this critical and life-saving gap in services, Baystate Franklin Medical Center, in collaboration with the Opioid Task Force and other Consortium Partners, has used the funds to create the Franklin County and North Quabbin Bridge Clinic (Bridge Clinic).

Addressing Barriers to Treatment

“Baystate Health is thrilled to receive the support of the HRSA Rural Communities Opioid Response Program to launch the Franklin County and North Quabbin Bridge Clinic,” said Jean Ahn, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Baystate Health. “This important mobile clinic will offer a range of key prevention, treatment, and recovery services throughout our rural community, furthering the work of an impressive consortium to address the opioid epidemic, which will advance care and enhance lives.”

The mobile clinic will be staffed by Baystate Franklin Medical Center, under the direction of nurse nurse Cheryl Pascucci, and will partner with existing service providers in the community. Pascucci crowd-sourced the design of the program during an event that she organized in the winter, a working meeting of stakeholders focused specifically on the provision of care for individuals with OUD, before working in collaboration with Baystate Health’s strategic grant writer Marian Kent to apply for the grant.

“I have seen the positive outcomes of using population health models of care," said Pascucci, “and it’s imperative that we collaborate, communicate and approach treatment and recovery in an accessible way. Rural bridges look different than bridges in urban areas so we are focused on building ours in a way that will best serve the needs of our community.”

Bridge Clinic team members will be mobile and available at multiple different access points in the region. The goal is to meet people where they are--including Baystate Franklin Medical Center (emergency department or inpatient) and a host of community-based settings such as peer recovery centers, libraries, high-density housing areas, the Franklin County Justice Center’s Court Service Center, and the Salvation Army among many others.

"Offering mobile and customized services to address the impact of substance use disorder is a key strategy to combat the opioid epidemic, especially in the more rural parts of Franklin County and the North Quabbin region," said Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan and Co-Chair of the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region. "Harm reduction is also key. Individuals have to be alive to get treatment."

Preventing, Treating, and Aiding Recovery

By offering a range of OUD services, the Bridge Clinic will increase prevention, treatment, and recovery in the rural Franklin County and North Quabbin region. The Bridge Clinic will identify, engage, assess, serve, and manage the population of people with OUD and at risk for OUD in our communities.

"I see the Bridge Clinic as an important part of the treatment and recovery system in the region," said Franklin County Sheriff Christopher J. Donelan and Co-Chair of the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region.

The Bridge Clinic is strategically partnered with a consortium of service providers, public servants, and recovery communities that are skilled in trauma-informed care and collectively understand the incidence of trauma and its connection to high rates of OUD in these communities. Consortium members include the Opioid Task Force of Franklin and the North Quabbin Region, Clinical & Support Options, Tapestry Health Systems, The RECOVER Project, Greenfield Police Department, Baystate Franklin Medical Center, and the hospital’s CHART and EMPOWER programs.

"We applaud Baystate Franklin Medical Center's pioneering effort to meet this crucial gap," said Register of Probate John F. Merrigan and Co-Chair of the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region. "This is another example of how the Opioid Task Force's existence can help leverage federal funding to meet a dire need in our community in collaboration with our partners."

Find Help

Self-referrals or referrals from family or friends to the clinic are encouraged. For more information visit look4help.org.

While Pascucci is eager to address the transportation barrier for those with OUD, she also recognizes the need for a similar model to address other health care issues.

“We are already thinking about what’s next; and that is the opportunity to grow this model to serve people in the community with chronic conditions that need support closer to home. We are looking at further grant opportunities, but welcome community support in helping to bring this vision to reality.”