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Latest PacMAT Grant Recipients to Help Fight the Opioid Addiction Epidemic

By PA Department of Health

Latest PacMAT Grant Recipients to Help Fight the Opioid Addiction Epidemic

Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced two new health systems intend to build medication-assisted treatment programs for Pennsylvanians suffering from opioid use disorder who are uninsured, underinsured or privately insured.

“Our medication-assisted treatment facilities are on the front lines of working to make sure those suffering from the disease of addiction get the assistance they need to recover,” Dr. Levine said. “Through the ‘hub and spoke’ model, the primary care physicians within these health systems will have the support they need to prescribe medication-assisted treatment to their patients. Their efforts will help ensure that access is available to residents in several counties afflicted by this disease.”

Over the last few months, recent Pennsylvania Coordinated Medication Assisted Treatment grants were awarded to Lehigh Valley Health Network; Penn Medicine – Lancaster General Health; and Reading Hospital – Tower Health. Lehigh Valley Health Network was part of a previous RFA, but had not been publicly announced.

Pennsylvania’s hub-and-spoke model has an addiction specialist physician at the center as the hub, providing expert guidance and support to primary care physicians in rural and underserved areas of the state. The primary care physicians, who serve as the spokes, will provide the direct-patient care, including the medication-assisted treatment prescription. Patients also will be connected to drug and alcohol counseling in their communities.

The grant is funded through the State Opioid Response efforts received by the Wolf Administration to combat the substance use epidemic by increasing access to treatment, reducing unmet treatment need, and reducing opioid overdose-related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment and recovery activities for opioid use disorder.

The Opioid Command Center, established in January 2018 when Gov. Wolf signed the first opioid disaster declaration, continues to meet each week to discuss the opioid crisis. The command center is staffed by personnel from 17 state agencies, spearheaded by the departments of Health and Drug and Alcohol Programs.

Earlier this month, the Opioid Command Center released its strategic plan, highlighting accomplishments to date and providing a roadmap for the continued work to help those with substance use disorder. The plan, available here, includes five goal areas: prevention, rescue, treatment, recovery and sustainability.

Work to address the opioid crisis focuses on three areas: prevention, rescue and treatment. Efforts over the past several years, working with state agencies, local, regional and federal officials, have resulted in significant action to address the opioid crisis:

More information on the opioid crisis can be found on the Department of Health’s website at health.pa.gov