Wolf Administration Visits Valley Health Partners Community Health Center, Highlights Expansion of Drug Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Rural Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Today, the Wolf administration visited the Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Valley Health Partners (VHP) Community Health Center to discuss their participation in the administration’s expansion of the Rural Access to Treatment Assisted Project. drugs in Pennsylvania (RAMP project). The RAMP Project is expanding access to drug treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD) among primary care providers in rural Pennsylvania.

“Expanding drug treatment for opioid use disorder into primary care practices will help address stigma by treating the disease of addiction like any other chronic disease like heart disease or diabetes” said Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Secretary Jen Smith. “The success of the RAMP project shows that we have a golden opportunity to increase access to vital resources, especially in rural Pennsylvania, and ultimately save more lives. I applaud the tremendous work done by Lehigh Valley Health Network and the University of Pittsburgh and hope that this project will serve as a model to further increase access to treatment for substance use disorders across the Commonwealth.

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), VHP and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and Program Evaluation and Research Unit (Pitt PERU) implemented the RAMP project to integrate screening universal of substance use disorders in outpatient clinics and medications for OUD in primary. care practices.

“This collaboration between Lehigh Valley Health Network, Valley Health Partners, the University of Pittsburgh and their other partners has established a strong continuum of care that can help people not only when seeking recovery from their substance use disorder , but through other health care. and the personal challenges they may face,” said Acting Department of Social Services Secretary Meg Snead. “Through this work, people who may have previously experienced discrimination or difficulty navigating the healthcare system have the advocates and support they deserve as they seek to improve their health and well-being. – to be general.

As of 2018, LVHN established emergency services, inpatient, and primary care-based resources to support patients with OUD and provide MAT. After the initial acute care treatment was implemented, the team began training primary care physicians to continue care in the outpatient setting. The initiative started with just four primary care physicians and, as of spring 2021, had 25 participating primary care providers in urban, suburban, and rural areas of Pennsylvania.

“Valley Health Partners intended to create space for the primary care of the whole person, including patients with substance use disorders,” said Dr. Mary Stock Keister. “Building on the work of the RAMP and PacMAT project, VHP supported the training of family medicine clinicians to provide drug therapy, while providing patients with a welcoming medical home with links to behavioral and social support to better manage their disease and improve their functioning in the community Since its inception, VHP has provided MAT services to 184 patients, some of whom have been in recovery for more than 18 months.

The RAMP project was funded through the $79 million in State Opioid Response II funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) received by DDAP.

People looking for substance use disorder treatment or recovery resources for themselves or a loved one can call the free PA Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP ( 4357). This helpline is confidential, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and staffed by trained professionals with interpretation services available in over 200 languages. Callers can also be linked to funding if they need help paying for treatment. A live chat option is also available online or via text at 717-216-0905 for those seeking assistance who may not be comfortable talking to a helpline operator. .

MEDIA CONTACT: – Stephany Dugan, DDAP, ra-dapressoffice@pa.gov

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