West Reading, Pa. – Reading Hospital – Tower Health announced that it has received a $469,810 State Opioid Response grant via the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. The grant is designed to enhance Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) to individuals with an Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) including covering the cost of treatment and medication for uninsured individuals.
The grant will be used in part to develop a “Hub and Spoke” model to treat patients with OUD. In this patient care delivery model, an anchor institution serves as the “hub,” while community-based physician practices serve as “spokes.” Both work in coordination to offer a full range of treatment services for OUD patients. For the grant, Tower Health Medical Group Addiction Medicine will serve as the hub and will be responsible for:
- Assessing, evaluating, enrolling, and stabilizing individuals with OUD into a program of MAT.
- Connecting patients to a Peer Recovery Specialist (PRS) through community partnerships to support individuals in recovery in their community.
- Connecting patients with a Case Manager.
- Connecting patients with a “spoke” physician practice in the community that will continue the OUD care.
Tower Health Medical Group Addiction Medicine has created a network of “spokes” that include Primary Care, Pain Medicine, OB/GYN, Family Medicine, and others that will be able to integrate primary health, prenatal care, and pain management with the medication and treatment for the OUD.
MAT, combined with coordinated, community-based care has proven to be an effective intervention to treat opioid use disorder. Multiple studies report MAT can significantly reduce opioid use compared with other approaches. However, MAT can be difficult to access due to the shortage of providers who can administer treatment.
Funds will also be used to add care managers to the treatment team. Care managers play a vital role by connecting patients to community resources and helping to remove barriers to treatment and recovery such as housing, employment, education, primary care dental, and behavioral healthcare.
“It is our hope that we can enroll 300 patients within all Tower Health communities,” said Desha Dickson, Associate Vice President of Community Wellness at Reading Hospital. “I encourage local physicians to consider registering their office as a ‘spoke.’ We have the opportunity to make a difference and help the residents of our communities, including the more rural areas where it can be more difficult to receive treatment.”
Reading Hospital has previously formed a collaborative relationship with Berks Treatment Access & Service Center Inc. (TASC) that will support individuals in the “Hub and Spoke”:
- The Warm Handoff program will connect individuals seen for opioid-related issues in the emergency department to TASC.
- Case Management will connect individuals with a Peer Recovery Specialist, an individual that identifies themselves as someone in long term recovery from a substance use disorder who will support the patient in their community.
If you, or someone you know, is interested in learning more about treatment options for OUD, please call (484) 628 5858.