SRMC picked for pilot program to fight opioid crisis

By: By Marni Schribman - North Carolina Healthcare Association

WINSTON-SALEM — Southeastern Regional Medical Center is one of six North Carolina hospitals that will receive funding to help battle the opioid crisis.

The North Carolina Healthcare Association and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced grant awards to six North Carolina hospitals and health systems as part of a pilot program to combat the opioid crisis. The awards are part of a $1.37 million grant, funded through DHHS, that will enable participating hospitals to embed certified peer support specialists in their emergency departments to connect patients presenting with opioid overdose to treatment, recovery, and harm reduction supports.

Steve Lawler, president of the North Carolina Healthcare Association, announced the grant awards at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, home to the model for the pilot project.

“North Carolina’s hospitals and health systems are committed to modeling innovative ways to improve the health of all our citizens,” Lawler said. “Wake Forest Baptist has been a leader in demonstrating the success that can be achieved by expanding our traditional ideas of what a care team looks like. We are excited about this new opportunity to spread a promising practice statewide.”

Other recipients were Carolinas Healthcare System Northeast, Cone Health, Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, UNC Hospital and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Each participating facility will receive up to $180,000 in reimbursement for the one-year pilot. Hospitals commit to hire a minimum of two certified peer support specialists, each of whom has been in recovery for at least three years, to act as liaisons between the emergency department and the community.

“Certified peer support specialists are a key resource in turning the tide on the opioid crisis in our state,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. “Peer support specialists are instrumental in connecting individuals battling the chronic disease of addiction to support services, including treatment and harm reduction.”

Wake Forest Baptist will work with NCHA to provide technical assistance and training for pilot sites. Grant recipients have been notified and will begin implementation immediately.

By Marni Schribman

North Carolina Healthcare Association