NVRH Emergency Department to Offer Opioid Treatment
ST. JOHNSBURY, VT (August 7, 2020) – The Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) Emergency Department joins other Vermont hospitals in offering medication assisted treatment to people coming to the ED with opioid use disorder.
Providers in the NVRH ED will start the addiction treatment process with a three day prescription for buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid addiction, and a referral to BAART Programs in St. Johnsbury.
Emergency departments are well positioned to screen and assess people with opioid addiction disease.
“We often provide stabilizing medicines for people with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease and then ask them to follow up with their outpatient medical provider,” said Dr. Ryan Sexton, Medical Director of the NVRH ED. “Opioid addiction is another chronic condition that can be successfully treated with medications.”
While the intervention will begin in the NVRH ED, it is part of a comprehensive approach to opioid addiction. The NVRH ED will screen and assess patients for their willingness to begin addiction treatment. Recovery coaches from the St. Johnsbury Kingdom Recovery Center are already embedded in the ED to provide addiction recovery support services. The NVRH Care Managers will assist the recovery coaches in coordinating the social needs for patients, including making sure they have insurance, transportation and a primary care provider.
With the referral to BAART, each person will receive counseling and other support services to assist them in their addiction recovery.
“The providers, nurses, counselors and staff at BAART Programs in St. Johnsbury are dedicated to the rehabilitation of our fellow community members who have opiate use disorder and are looking forward to furthering that mission by partnering with NVRH ER’s Rapid Access Medication Program, “ said Susan Taney, Nurse Practitioner at BAART Programs. “The importance of continuity of care in an expeditious manner is most important for successful recovery for these individuals.”
The Emergency Department physicians and nurse practitioners were required to complete specialized training to qualify for a waiver to prescribe and dispense buprenorphine. Once the training was complete, qualified providers received a waiver to their Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) license to prescribe buprenorphine.
“BAART staff provided our nurses with additional training,” said Darrell Bormann, RN, NVRH Director of ED Operations. “We look forward in bridging our patients over to BAART so they may receive the treatment that they need.”
“We are excited to be able to initiate this treatment in the emergency department,” added Dr. Sexton. “We hope that by increasing access to treatment and bridging patients to outpatient services, we will improve the health and wellbeing of those seeking care for opioid addiction, save lives, and significantly reduce the impact of this disease on our community.”