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Hospital, Nonprofit to Expand Addiction Treatment in Lebanon

  • FILE - This May 13, 2015, file photo shows the contents of a drug overdose rescue kit at a training session on how to administer naloxone, which reverses the effects of heroin and prescription painkillers, in Buffalo, N.Y. In addition to checking out and re-shelving books, San Francisco public library staffers may soon be trained to administer medication to reverse heroin overdoses among the growing number of opioid users who are homeless. (AP Photo/Carolyn Thompson, File)



Valley News Staff Writer
Monday, March 12, 2018

Lebanon — A Lebanon-based nonprofit that has long provided a crisis hotline and services for people struggling with addiction is teaming up with Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital to expand addiction treatment services.

The two organizations are collaborating this spring to expand outpatient medication-assisted treatment available through APD primary care, which is located in the hospital’s new multi-specialty clinic, according to a press release provided by APD on Friday.

Patients receiving medication-assisted treatment, such as Suboxone, for an opioid-use disorder through APD primary care will also be assigned an alcohol and drug addiction counselor through Headrest, according to the release. Individual and group counseling sessions will be held at the multi-specialty clinic.

In an interview on Friday, Dr. Dale Vidal, the clinic’s director, said the details for the plan to add these services are still being developed.

“We are now just undertaking an evaluation of the services that we might be able to provide our patients,” Vidal said.

Separately, Headrest, which started in 1971, plans to add four beds for inpatient drug and alcohol treatment at its Church Street location in downtown Lebanon, bringing the organization’s total bed count to 14, said Cameron Ford, Headrest’s executive director.

To make room for the new beds, Headrest has relocated outpatient counseling and administrative offices to a leased space in the former Women's Care Center on the APD campus. The move will allow Headrest clinicians to see more patients, said Ford.

“Headrest has always kind of been adaptable to the needs of the community,” Ford said, noting that these changes are in response to the opioid epidemic.

At the moment, Dr. Peter Mason, a retired family practitioner, provides a small panel of patients with Suboxone at APD, Vidal said. This treatment, which Mason provides in less than half a day once per month, has been the only medication-assisted addiction treatment occurring at APD, she said.

“He’s really the only provider we have who has done anything substantial in this area,” she said.

To help support the expansion of services and evaluate what shape they might take, APD received a $100,000 grant from the Concord-based Foundation for Healthy Communities last October. The evaluation is likely to consider “multi-modal” treatment of opioid use disorders, such as collaborations with other social service providers and looking at ways to address chronic pain, Vidal said.

APD is “looking at the opportunity to address some of the underlying issues,” she said.

APD is one of ten hospitals around the state that the foundation is working with to develop these programs, said Rebecca Sky, project director for the foundation’s opioid-use disorder project.

The goal of the effort, which is supported by state and federal funds, is to increase access to addiction treatment and to help overcome stigma by normalizing this form of treatment, Sky said.

It “takes some real planning to make it happen right,” Sky said. “This money is really seed money.”

Headrest is also looking to add services to support people struggling with addiction. With some of the additional revenue from the four new inpatient beds, Ford said Headrest hopes to hire a new vocational support specialist to help people who are going through drug treatment prepare for job interviews and support them as they continue in their recovery. In the event that a problem at work comes up, Ford said a vocational specialist could help the employer and employee work it out to “try to keep the person on the job.”

Suellen Griffin, who is CEO of the Lebanon-based West Central Behavioral Health, said the partnership between Headrest and APD is a good example of area organizations coming together to meet patients’ needs.

“I think this integrated care — this whole concept of integrated care, we have to move in that direction,” Griffin said. “You have to treat the whole person.”

Valley News Staff Writer Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.