Population of Focus: The population of focus is adults aged 18 and older with opioid use disorder (OUD). Geographic Catchment Area: The geographic catchment area is Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean Counties, contiguous counties in central New Jersey with an adult population of 1.6 million. OUD admissions increased in the area by 13% from 2017 to 2019, averaged 20,027 annually, and represent nearly a quarter of statewide OUD admissions. Drug-related deaths in the catchment area totaled 651 in 2020, representing 21% of such deaths statewide, and have only increased during the pandemic.
Strategies/Interventions: Despite being the historic epicenter of the opioid epidemic in New Jersey, the geographic catchment area lacks robust addiction medicine hubs that create a continuum of care for individuals with OUD across emergency departments, inpatient floors, and outpatient clinics. This program proposes establishing such hubs at Jersey Shore University Medical Center (JSUMC) and John F. Kennedy University Medical Center (JFKUMC), both part of Hackensack Meridian Health (the state’s largest and most comprehensive health network), to expand access to all forms of MAT – with an emphasis on diversion-resistant practices – in conjunction with existing psychosocial and recovery support services. The addiction medicine hub at each hospital will consist of a four-member team (including a lead physician, clinical lead, addiction medicine fellow, and peer recovery coach). The addiction medicine team at each hospital will enable to systematic screening, initiation, and maintenance of a key segment of the nearly 18,000 individuals with substance use disorders treated at both hospitals annually. The teams would also provide DATA 2000 waiver training, utilize telehealth, and partner with organizations (including those serving justice-involved individuals) to increase access to MAT and reduce behavioral health disparities.
Three program goals each have underlying specific, measurable, attainable, and relevant objectives with defined time periods to ensure project success. Goal 1: Increase the number of individuals with OUD from the catchment area receiving MAT; Goal 2: Decrease illicit opioid drug use and prescription opioid misuse at six-month follow-up; and Goal 3: Increase the number of patients who are being treated with diversion resistant MAT treatments. Each goal has supporting objectives to measure success.
Abstract: In the most recent year, only 25% of patients treated for OUD in the catchment area received MAT. The aim of this project is to establish two addiction medicine hubs to establish a patient-centered, peer-supported, trauma-informed continuum of care for individuals with OUD across the emergency department, inpatient floor, and outpatient clinic in the high-incidence catchment area. The project prioritizes achieving an increase in the use of MAT and decrease in the use of illicit opioids or non-prescribed use of prescription opioids by reducing barriers to treatment and increasing engagement with patients with OUD. HMH will deliver a program informed by evidenced-based practices.