Opiod Grant

Grant Provides Hope with New
Opioid Use Disorder Program in New Kensington

Pittsburgh, PA, January 9, 2017 – St. Margaret Foundation is pleased to announce it has received a $240,000 grant from Staunton Farm Foundation for a pivotal new program - Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorder at the New Kensington Family Health Center. This program is unique in that it utilizes an integrated multi-disciplinary team approach, combining medication to reduce urges and withdrawal symptoms with onsite behavioral therapeutic interventions that include recovery-based counseling, care management, and group support directly in the primary care setting. The Family Health Center's collaborative treatment team includes physicians working with clinical social workers, pharmacists and case managers on-site to select and engage patients to provide comprehensive onsite care.

"Successfully engaging patients with opioid use disorders to remain in treatment and become functional again is a tremendous challenge, and requires a team of motivated clinicians working together to provide medical and behavioral health support, said Dr. Jonathan Han, medical director at UPMC St. Margaret Family Health Center. "Thanks to Staunton Farm Foundation, who has provided the financial foundation to our integrated behavioral health program for many years, we are confident that we can meet that challenge. Our team of social workers, psychiatrist and pharmacists, working in close collaboration with family physicians and nursing staff, have the experience and dedication to improve the care of patients with OUD's, and to train future family doctors to provide this care in the communities they serve."

The epidemic of overdose deaths continues to rise nationwide, and patients in our communities experience the tragic morbidity and mortality on a daily basis. Their families suffer tremendously as well. The Centers for Disease Control advocates a three-pronged approach to this epidemic. Until now, UPMC St. Margaret New Kensington Family Health Center had implemented the first two approaches -- reducing opioid prescribing practices and expanding the distribution of naloxone in clinical and educational efforts. However, they had not implemented the third recommended approach, improving access to MAT. Receiving this grant enables the Family Health Center to hire additional essential behavioral health staff to initiate office-based treatment of opioid dependence utilizing buprenorphine with naloxone (Suboxone) or naltrexone (Vivitrol/Revia).

"St. Margaret Foundation is committed to working with foundation partners in the community to fill in the gaps with hope for the under-resourced individuals in our communities," said Mary Lee Gannon, president of St. Margaret Foundation. "This continued partnership with Staunton Farm Foundation gives hope to many who are struggling with opioid addiction."