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Wesson Building roadway entrance closed at Baystate Medical Center Sept. 27, 28, and 30. Enter through the Emergency roadway entrance for access.

Baystate Health Receives $1.5M Grant for Alternatives to Opioids

August 29, 2023
a doctor speaking with her patient in the ER

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded a $1.5M grant to Baystate Health as part of its Emergency Department Alternatives to Opioids (ED-ALT) Program.

According to SAMHSA, “the grant awards facilitate ongoing efforts throughout the nation in prevention, treatment, recovery support and harm reduction – the pillars of the HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy.” These programs are designed to help advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy (opens in PDF), which hopes to eradicate the overdose epidemic in the United States.

Putting the Grant Into Action

“Our goal is for this team to address the needs of our community members who present to the emergency department with issues of substance use or chronic pain,” says Dr. Bill Soares, director of Harm Reduction Services in the Emergency Department at Baystate Medical Center and assistant professor of Emergency Medicine/Department of Healthcare Delivery and Population Sciences. Dr. Soares and his colleagues Jacob Sabin, Sponsored Programs Administration and Marian Kent, Strategic Grants team lead, worked with Pharmacy, I&T, and Pain Management Services to devise the creation of a Complex Addiction and Pain Service (CAPS) team for the Baystate Medical Center emergency department.

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic Through Care

Baystate Medical Center will create and launch an Emergency Department-based Complex Addiction and Pain Service (CAPS) team. The CAPS team will be a multidisciplinary medical professional team improving pain management and substance use disorder care in the emergency room. The team will also address continuity and follow up to reduce disparities that impact residents of Hampden County, which has the second highest opioid dispensing rate and the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in Massachusetts. In the three years of the ED-ALT grant project, the CAPS team will serve more than 3,000 residents, with a focus on the Hispanic community who has suffered the greatest impact of the opioid epidemic and the highest rates of drug overdose deaths.

The primary role of the CAPS team will be to provide direct care to emergency room patients with complex painful conditions, those on chronic opioid medications for pain, and for patients with substance use disorder. The CAPS team will also educate emergency room staff on pain management opioid alternatives, opioid treatment strategies and culturally competent harm reduction strategies.

“Our goal for the CAPS team is collaborative work that will benefit our patients and providers alike as we address pain management and addiction in the era of the opioid epidemic,” concludes Dr. Soares.

The project described is supported by Grant Number H79TI086283 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).