Baystate Franklin earns $1M for mobile opioid addiction treatment clinic

  • Baystate Franklin Medical Center has garnered $1 million to launch a Bridge Team that will offer mobile services to people struggling with opioid use disorder. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The number of fatal opioid-related overdoses in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region from 2012 to 2018, according to statistics from the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office and the state Department of Public Health. CONTRIBUTED IMAGE/OPIOID TASK FORCE OF FRANKLIN COUNTY AND THE NORTH QUABBIN REGION

  • The number of fatal opioid-related overdoses across Western Massachusetts in 2017 and 2018, according to statistics from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. CONTRIBUTED IMAGE/OPIOID TASK FORCE OF FRANKLIN COUNTY AND THE NORTH QUABBIN REGION

Staff Writer
Published: 10/3/2019 10:22:34 PM
Modified: 10/3/2019 10:22:22 PM

GREENFIELD — Baystate Franklin Medical Center has garnered $1 million to launch a Bridge Team that will offer mobile services to people struggling with opioid use disorder.

Baystate Franklin spokesperson Molly MacMunn said that in August, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, awarded nearly $400 million to combat the nation’s opioid crisis, including the $1 million that will support the Bridge program.

“With transportation and access being barriers to care, Bridge Team members will be mobile and available at multiple different access points in the region to work with people suffering from or at risk of opioid use disorder,” she explained. “The goal is to meet people where they are, including Baystate Franklin Medical Center, and a host of community-based settings such as peer recovery centers, libraries, high-density housing areas, the Franklin County Justice Center’s Court Service Center and the Salvation Army among many others.”

Based on each person’s needs, MacMunn said, recovery coaches, harm reductionists, community health workers and nurse practitioners will be involved, traveling to the individuals’ residences. She expects the program to roll out later this fall.

The mobile Bridge Team will be operated by Baystate Franklin staff members under the direction of Cheryl Pascucci, a Baystate Franklin nurse practitioner on the hospital’s Community Hospital Acceleration, Revitalization and Transformation (CHART) team, and will partner with existing service providers. Pascucci, in collaboration with Baystate Health grant writer Marian Kent, crowdsourced the design of the program during an event she organized in the winter — a working meeting of stakeholders focused on providing care for individuals with opioid use disorders.

The Bridge Team — a consortium of service providers, public servants and recovery communities — will assume a trauma history with participants and use strength-based assessments to instill hope for their recovery. Pascucci said the team will remain open and flexible when there is relapse and reinforce harm reduction strategies for people to remain as safe as possible.

Consortium members include the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region, Clinical and Support Options, Tapestry Health Systems, The RECOVER Project, Greenfield Police Department, Baystate Franklin, and the hospital’s CHART and EMPOWER programs.

Pascucci said that in rural communities, the aim is to decrease the use of hospitals while increasing the use of peer advocates and community-based support systems.

“It’s about that connection and engaging with people who at risk,” Pascucci said.

The Bridge Team will help create and maintain those connections, she said.

“This will help us connect with folks and create a plan about the best level of care, knowing what’s worked in the past,” Pascucci said. “We’ll also help them connect with members of the team to work beside them along the way.”

Greenfield Deputy Police Chief Mark Williams said the department is happy to be partners with the various groups and entities.

“We recognize that this will not only help individuals, but also public health and safety overall,” Williams said.

Liz Whynott, of Tapestry Health Systems, said the organization will provide a harm reduction angle for the work.

“We’re going to work to increase our capacity for those who are not quite ready to enter recovery to be able to access needed care and options,” Whynott said. “These will help us better bridge Baystate with us and any other service needed.”

The RECOVER Project Director Peggy Vezina said the project will help her recovery coaches, too.

“This program will provide support for 10 recovery coaches,” Vezina said. “We’re going to provide support for the wellness of the coaches as well, so they can take care of themselves as well as cultural work to be able to connect with people across cultures.”

Jean Ahn, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Baystate Health, said the organization is thrilled to receive the $1 million award and put it to use.

“This important mobile clinic will offer a range of key prevention, treatment and recovery services throughout our rural community,” she said, “furthering the work of an impressive consortium to address the opioid epidemic, which will advance care and enhance lives.”

Self-referrals or referrals from family or friends to participate are encouraged. For more information or resources, visit look4help.org.




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