The District of Columbia Hospital Association (DCHA) has been awarded a grant to establish and implement an Emergency Department (ED) Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Induction program at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Howard University Hospital and United Medial Center to identify and provide access to immediate substance use treatment for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD). In 2017, DC experienced 279 deaths related to opioid overdose.
This induction program will ensure that persons with OUD have the opportunity to make the decision to accept treatment during their visit to the emergency room. Following the initial treatment received at the hospital, patients will be rapidly connected through a warm hand-off to community-based provider(s) for sustained treatment. The program will train all hospital ED staff in the screening, brief intervention, referral to treatment (SBIRT) approach and connect patients to peer recovery coaches while still at the hospital to provide support as they begin their treatment and recovery journey. Peer recovery coaches will also follow-up with patients after they leave the ED to verify if they were successfully connected to recovery support services.
“DCHA and our members are proud to be part of the solution to help individuals get the treatment they need at the right time and the right place. Evidence has shown that initiating early interventions, such as MAT to treat OUD, at the first point of care saves more lives. We are excited to work in collaboration with our member hospitals and the DC government to launch this most important program as a critical step in battling this terrible epidemic,” said Jacqueline D. Bowens, President and CEO of DCHA.
DCHA will partner with the Mosaic Group, which has more than six years of experience working with hospitals on this approach, and the McClendon Center, which has expertise in recruiting and screening applicants for peer recovery coaching positions, to successfully implement the ED MAT Induction program. Hospitals are currently in the planning stages, including setting timelines and engaging key stakeholders. Beginning this month, hospitals will be reviewing and adjusting clinical processes and workforce needs to prepare for safe MAT implementation.
“We are committed to improving the health of our community and turning the tide on the District’s burgeoning opioid epidemic,” said Jeffrey Dubin, MD, chief medical officer at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “With the DCHA grant funding, these peer recovery coaches, based in our emergency department, will be instrumental in connecting patients with serious opioid issues to treatment and recovery.”
The ED MAT Induction program will be established through $668K of funding from the State Targeted Response grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It will continue to be supported through $700k of funding from SAMHSA’s State Opioid Response grant provided to the DC Department of Behavioral Health.
“Partnering with DCHA on this effort strengthens our ability to reach residents with OUD to give them another opportunity to get connected to treatment,” said Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Interim Director of the DC Department of Behavioral Health. “This is another example of our commitment to putting multiple measures in place to stem the tide of the opioid epidemic and save the lives of Washingtonians.”