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Adrian Daily Telegram: Bixby gets $1 million grant for opioid abuse programs

August 9, 2020
Tim In The News

ADRIAN — ProMedica Bixby Hospital is one of five health care providers in Michigan selected to each receive a $1 million grant to support efforts to combat the opioid crisis.

The funding is a part of the federal Rural Communities Opioid Response Program to help strengthen and expand prevention, treatment, and recovery services in rural areas, a news release issued by U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg’s office said.

“Rural communities like ours know firsthand the devastating impacts of the opioid crisis,” the Republican from Tipton said in the release. “Tragically, during this pandemic we’ve seen a spike in overdoses and far too many of our loved ones continue to struggle with addiction. This federal grant will enhance response efforts here on the ground by strengthening access to resources and offering hope to those in need.”

Dr. Julie Yaroch, president of Bixby and Herrick hospitals in Adrian and Tecumseh, said in an interview they are “elated” to receive this grant. It will be paid out over three years from the Health Resources and Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It will fund “evidence-based interventions related to opioid strategies to combat the opioid crisis” she said.

ProMedica will work with local agencies, such as the Lenawee Community Mental Health Authority and the Lenawee Health Alliance, to implement projects funded by the grant, Yaroch said. Frank Nagle, manager of population health for Bixby and Herrick, will direct the work.

Two ideas that ProMedica would like to implement are recovery coaches and providing kits with the overdose-reversing drug naloxone so that people can administer the drug to a loved one who has overdosed, Yaroch said.

Recovery coaches would meet with anyone coming to the hospital emergency department with a substance abuse disorder.

“There’s been huge success with these programs elsewhere where we kind of offer a buddy system to help these people change their habits,” Yaroch said.

“Those are some initiatives that we have watched others be able to do across the nation,” Yaroch said. “They’re two that we really want to look into, and if we can get strong agreement with other agencies, those are two of our top priorities.”

This grant also will help ProMedica look at what other communities have done successfully with out-patient mental health care and model those programs in Lenawee County, Yaroch said.

“We truly believe that there is so much that we can do in the out-patient world that can keep people from needing emergency care or in-patient care for crisis,” she said. ”... That’s what’s really exciting about this. The work on preventative health I think will be very rewarding for our community.”

Opioid overdoses continue to be a problem in Michigan, Yaroch said.

“Unfortunately, as many can understand during this pandemic, it has been a really emotional struggle for a lot of people,” Yaroch said. She said there has been an increase in people struggling with depression and anxiety and suicide rates have increased in the state.

“Substance use, which includes opioids, is definitely one of those diagnoses we are seeing rise in this pandemic, more so than others,” she said.

The other grant recipients in Michigan are Ferris State University in Big Rapids, the Luce Mackinac Health Department in Newberry, the Michigan Center for Rural Health in Lansing and the Sanilac County Health Department in Sandusky. The grants are part of more than $101 million awarded Thursday nationwide to 116 organizations in 42 states and the District of Columbia through both the Rural Communities Opioid Response-Implementation Program and the Opioid-Impacted Family Support Program, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This article originally appeared in the August 9 edition of the Adrian Daily Telegram.

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