Bath Community Hospital, along with three other hospitals in the state of Virginia, will be participating in a grant focused on increasing preventative intervention regarding prescription opioids throughout rural communities in Virginia. This federal grant was awarded to the Virginia Rural Health Association who will oversee the programs.
“No corner of our country, from rural areas to urban centers, has escaped the scourge of the opioid crisis,” said HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D. “The Trump Administration is taking strong, decisive action to respond to the crisis caused by the opioid epidemic. These grants from HRSA go directly to local organizations, which are best situated to address substance abuse and mental health issues in their own communities.”
The expanded funding is part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ five-point strategy to fight the opioid epidemic by:
•Improving access to treatment and recovery services.
•Targeting use of overdose-reversing drugs.
•Strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance.
•Providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction.
•Advancing better practices for pain management.
Goals of the program include –
• By October 1, 2018, develop the “High-Risk Patient Education Program” (HRPEP), a curriculum and training protocol for one-on-one interaction with high-risk patients in a clinical setting.
• By October 1, 2019, implement HRPEP at 75% of the Virginia communities designated as “rural.”
• By October 1, 2020, implement processes which would assure project sustainability after federal funding has been expended.
• By October 1, 2020, conduct a thorough evaluation of the project and disseminate results.
Bath Community Hospital also started their Behavioral Health program in 2016 to help address the mental health and substance abuse needs identified in their community health needs assessments. Through 3rd quarter 2017 reporting, Bath Community Hospital has seen 14 Temporary Detention Orders in the emergency room versus 2016 (41) and 2015 (26) cases. Since its inception, the behavioral health team has had over 1,170 visits in primary care clinic setting.
Kathy Landreth, Bath Community Hospital CEO, said “Just like many healthcare organizations throughout the country, Bath Community Hospital has also seen an increase in these patients at our facility over the past year. We have adopted a new pain management policy to help our rural area address this nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse.” The hospital is also adding 24/7 security officers to ensure patients, visitors and staff are safe at the facility.