Mercy Health partners with 14 providers for long-term addiction treatment, care
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Hospitals revive addicts after overdoses, but what happens to those patients next is the target of a new weapon in the battle against addiction. They may have access to short-term detox. Mercy Health says, often in the battle against addiction, that may not enough.
Dr. Navdeep Kang works at Mercy Health. “We formed a collaborative, what we finally call the Mercy Health Addiction Treatment Collaborative in Cincinnati with 14 other agencies,” Kang explained.
The goal is to connect patients with longer-term treatment and standardize care throughout the network. To make sure that patients are less likely to relapse, Mercy also put together a "treatment on demand network".
Kang said, “Given the lethality of specific conditions like opioid use disorder a waiting list is like a death list”
Rajan Gupta is with Crosswave Health. His company put together a website called, www.findlocaltreatment.com which gives real-time information on providers and whether they're taking clients. The initial grant came from the Mercy Health Foundation.
“When individuals and families are searching for addiction treatment in our communities, it often is a broken maze,” said Gupta. “You can search base on where you're searching from, your gender, your age.”
Doctors at Mercy want to include police into their efforts.
Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan is part of the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition. For Synan, Mercy's efforts help take the stigma away from addiction.
“What we were doing as first responders is the only thing that we've been able to do for the past three or four years and that is Narcan somebody and walk away from them,” Synan said. “If we start treating it like a medical condition then we have an opportunity to fix it. We're not fixing anything by sticking the addicted into a jail cell just sitting there.”
Providers say the deadly cost of addiction is worth an investment in long-term recovery.
“When the next generation asks what did you do when the biggest drug epidemic hit this country, we want to be able to say and I think we will be able to say now, that we did something that no one had ever seen before”
The collaborative initially started with 10 addiction treatment providers in January. In the past few months, four more have joined.
The collaborative hopes to include more providers and public health organizations.