Mon Health hospitals providing addiction treatment

Morgantown, W.Va. – Finding treatment for people battling addiction is difficult and hospitals are the last hope for many. Mon Health System has created the Mon Health Recovery Care Program. The programs vary slightly at each location, but the goal is the same: to make a difference in patients’ lives.

Mon Health Medical Center, Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital, and Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital provide support and services at the Emergency Room with a peer recovery program – Reverse the Cycle. All three hospitals have peer recovery coaches available for patients in the ER who screen positive for substance use. Mon Health Medical Center and Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital also provide an Overdose Survivors Outreach Program (OSOP) Coach who helps those patients in the community no matter where they live.

The need for treatment is great considering the sobering statistics in West Virginia. There was a confirmed total of 1,275 drug overdose deaths in 2020 compared to 878 fatalities in 2019 in WV. Unfortunately, overdose deaths appeared to have accelerated during the pandemic. This tragedy has touched most all West Virginians and underscores the need to provide treatment for those seeking it.

“This program has transformed our ER in a positive way,” said Kim Auten, Director of Emergency Observation and Med/Surg Service Line at Mon Health Medical Center. “This has really benefited our patients. We have been very fortunate in that we have been able to expand our services to inpatient treatment, also. This is a win-win for our patients.”

Mon Health Medical Center and Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital’s program involves components that rely heavily on peer recovery coaches. The first step is a screening, a brief intervention, and a treatment referral in the ED setting. The Opioid Overdose Survivors Outreach Program (OSOP) provides intensive community-based recovery support and harm reduction for patients with a history of and those at high risk of opioid overdose. The goal is to prevent subsequent overdoses and link as many patients as possible to substance abuse treatment. Patients who meet guidelines are provided one initial dose of buprenorphine. Peer recovery coaches support patients in being “fast-tracked” to a network of providers that partner with the hospital for the same day or next day continued treatment.

“Over the last few years, we have focused on identification and prevention strategies, and we know it has helped, but now we can focus on the patient with addiction and help them start the recovery process and be right there helping every step of the way,” said Carla Hamner, Nurse Manager, Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital Emergency Department. “This program is vital to our communities in fighting the drug addiction pandemic.”

In addition to a Reverse the Cycle program, Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital has also opened a recovery care clinic which follows the Comprehensive Opioid Addiction Treatment (COAT) model. Patients may be referred through their primary care providers or may enter care in the COAT clinic through the emergency department. Patients seen through the emergency department will have a visit with the peer recovery coach and will be referred to a recovery program that has the right level of care for their needs. This could be the Preston Memorial Hospital recovery clinic, or it could be a higher level of care outside of the community, such as an inpatient facility in the state.

“Ours is a medication-assisted therapy, with group visits with our physician, group therapy visits with our counselor and individual therapy visits with our counselor. The program has a dedicated case manager to help meet patient needs,” said Dr. Lola Burke, Primary Care Physician at Mon Health Preston Memorial Hospital and COAT Clinical Medical Director. “Patients attend group visits at a frequency based on their length of abstinence from opioids and other addictive substances. This is a long-term treatment program so patients may stay enrolled for as long as they desire treatment for their opioid disorder.”

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