The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has awarded $1 million to health providers and others that are part of the Hope Partnership Project (HPP). The partnership and its members are dedicated to mitigating the effects of the opioid crisis on individuals and families in Southern Ohio.
The Ross Community Opioid Response Program (Ross CORP) is a consortium of HPP members that include: Adena Health System; Friel and Associates; Hope Partnership Project; Ohio University – Chillicothe; and the Ross County Health District. The $1 million award was issued by HRSA to Adena Health System, which will be the fiscal agent and coordinator of the grant funds, and will oversee its execution.
“Past and current efforts to reduce opioid deaths in Ross County are making a positive impact. However, there are still areas of deep need. Especially when it comes to prevention and developing nearby treatment and recovery services to support those who need them,” said Adena Physician Dr. John Gabis, a founding and current member of the Hope Partnership Project. “This award is an asset that will help the consortium create solutions that will make a positive impact on people’s lives and on our communities.”
The funds will enable the consortium to focus existing, collaborative efforts to make a broader and deeper impact in Ross County, which ranks in the top 75th risk percentile in Ohio for overdose indicators. The funds will cover expenses needed for programming and services over a three-year period of performance.
This HRSA award was among nearly $400 million recently given to various communities and entities across the U.S. to combat the nation’s opioid crisis. The funding supports the HHS Five-Point Opioid Strategy, which was introduced in 2017. Five Ohio groups were each awarded $1 million from the HRSA for use in battling the opioid crisis. Additionally, Ross CORP was among just 80 rural awards given in the U.S.
“Health centers and behavioral health providers are on the front lines of the fight against the opioid crisis and substance abuse, especially in rural communities,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “With our evidence-based strategy, HHS is working to support local communities in fighting back against substance abuse, and our united efforts are yielding results.”
In 2018, Ross County’s overdose death rate was 44.84 per 100,000 people, higher than each of Ohio’s largest urban counties. The goal of Ross CORP is to strengthen the rural community’s capacity to change the skyrocketing trend in years of potential life lost by targeting more integrated and comprehensive substance use disorder/opioid use disorder (SUD/OUD) prevention, treatment and recovery support.
To meet this goal, Ross CORP identified the following steps in its grant request:
· Victim assessment/treatment referral tracking for rapid response;
· Service navigation outside the traditional health care settings;
· Harm reduction efforts;
· Strategic plan for recovery support;
· Training outside the school setting;
· Primary care physician training;
· Family-centered recovery services;
· Enlisting mental health professionals for integrated substance abuse treatment;
· Increasing workforce capacity with peer recovery supporters and community health workers;
· Identify, implement, and strengthen evidence-based and promising practice models;
· Advocate policy to remove barriers and reduce harm;
· Increase community engagement for active support of those impacted;
· Collect, analyze, and communicate data for informed implementation and measurable outcomes; and
· Launch the Ross County Peer Center.
Submitted by Jason Gilham, communications manager, Adena Health System.