MiraVista Expands Outpatient Access to Substance-use Treatment

HOLYOKE — MiraVista Behavioral Health Center will use a recently awarded $600,000, two-year grant from the Massachusetts Public Health Department’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services to provide outpatient mental-health services and case management to marginalized communities in its Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) and Medication for Opioid Use Disorder program. Case management will be provided through a newly hired recovery-support navigator who will focus on addressing social determinants of health, such as food insecurity and housing.

The two-year State Opioid Response grant funded with money awarded to the DPH by the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will be used to hire a full-time licensed clinical social worker to deliver these mental-health services. The expanded case management will be supported by a recovery support navigator (RSN), who will collaborate directly with clients to address and remove barriers to their successful, sustained recovery. These expanded services are in addition to the organization’s recent launch of same-day admissions to the OTP clinic, which also now includes transportation to eliminate additional barriers to treatment.

“We plan to provide these mental-health services to our existing patients as well as an additional 60 patients we propose to serve each year,” said Cristina Rivera, director of Outpatient Treatment and Substance Use Services at MiraVista. “The RSN will help individuals struggling with opioid-use disorder to transition to other continuum-of-care programs within the MiraVista system or to external, community-based providers. The new position will also help to identify and connect individuals with services that they may need to support better health outcomes and long-term recovery.”

Rivera added that the 60 additional patients to be served will be from populations in Holyoke and surrounding areas and designated by DPH as priority for access to mental-health counseling in conjunction with substance-use treatment. The grant will be utilized as well to better address the needs of what is becoming a trend in the country: patients co-using opioids and stimulants.

According to Dr. Katherine Krauskopf, MiraVista’s medical director, Substance Use Disorder Services, “medication is offered at MiraVista to treat opioid-use disorder, but there are no medications currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat stimulant-use disorder. Interventions, especially contingency management, can be extremely effective. Through this grant, staff will be trained on this model in order to further improve our patients’ health while retaining them in treatment for substance-use disorders.”

Funds from the grant will also help clients with ease of access to MiraVista’s Opioid Treatment Program through the provision of transportation and same-day admissions.