HCN News & Notes

New Partnership Offers Help for People Battling Opioid-use Disorders

NORTHAMPTON, GREENFIELD, WESTFIELD — People needing evaluation of and treatment for opioid-use disorders now have additional resources in the Pioneer Valley thanks to a new partnership between Health Care Resource Centers and Cooley Dickinson Health Care.

The arrangement between the two agencies provides medication-assisted treatment — including Suboxone and methadone — to people living with opioid-use disorders as well as case-management services and counseling. The collaboration is one outcome of Cooley Dickinson’s Opioid Task Force as well as a clinical program focus for 2018.

“The availability of additional treatment options is essential,” said Dr. Peter Halperin, medical director, Integrated Behavioral Health Services, Cooley Dickinson Medical Group, given the “devastating consequences” of untreated opioid dependence in the community. “We are addressing this need in many other ways, but perhaps the single most important service available is medication-assisted treatment along with counseling.”

Dr. Peter Kassis, assistant regional medical director, Health Care Resource Centers (HCRC), announced the partnership.

“Our treatment teams in Northampton and Westfield are physicians who are board-certified in addiction medicine, as well as nurse practitioners and counselors. The HCRC practice model individualizes care based on each patient’s needs,” he noted. “Patients may receive medication-assisted treatment as well as case management and individual, group, and/or family counseling at the same location. HCRC will work closely with Cooley Dickinson providers who will continue to manage the patient’s other medical illnesses and/or psychiatric needs.”

The partnership developed out of the work of Cooley Dickinson’s Opioid Use Task Force. In 2016, the task force outlined actionable steps it would take to improve prompt assessment and treatment for those suffering from opioid dependence.

In the terms of the partnership, anyone who is identified as having an opioid-use disorder or who is at risk of overdosing will be referred from Cooley Dickinson and evaluated by HCRC. A treatment plan based on the patient’s needs and goals will be developed, and treatment will often begin within 48 hours.

Opiate overdose is a life-threatening emergency requiring immediate medical attention. People who are at risk for overdose should have access to naloxone (Narcan) — the medication used to block the effects of opioids — at all times.

Those needing assistance with opioid-use disorders are encouraged to contact HCRC at any of the following locations: 441 Pleasant St., Northampton, (413) 584-2404; 177 Shelburne Road, Greenfield, (413) 774-3321; or 125 North St., Westfield, (413) 568-6600. In the event of a life-threatening emergency, call 911.