West Virginia Clinical & Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI) Director of Community Programs/Project ECHO Jay Mason was awarded a $100,000 sub-award for a project with Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE) entitled: “Enhancing and Expanding MAT in Southern Appalachian Communities.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that one in 10 West Virginia residents struggle with addiction. West Virginia had 1,377 deaths in 2020 related to drug overdoses – a 49.3% increase from 2019 – in which 1,179 deaths involved opioids and 1,095 deaths involved synthetic opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics.
According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Research shows that a combination of medication and therapy can successfully treat these disorders, and for some people struggling with addiction, MAT can help sustain recovery. MAT is also used to prevent or reduce opioid overdose.
“Addiction is a big problem in the state and getting more access to MAT and the additional services Cabin Creek will provide through this grant is really needed,” Mason said.
The grant funds went to Cabin Creek Health Systems Inc. (CCHS), the lead organization, with WVCTSI and Mason being the liaison of the grant. WVCTSI will work with CCHS to develop a set of measures to evaluate the effectiveness of the MAT program at CCHS. The WVCTSI in partnership with the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics will use the Drug Abuse Treatment Cost Analysis Program (DATCAP) to perform an economic analysis of the CCHS MAT program and at New River Health Association as a comparison.
“The purpose of this project is twofold: First, to create the capacity to efficiently manage and track the individual needs and the services received in a comprehensive ambulatory substance use disorder treatment program,” said Craig Robinson, Executive Director at Cabin Creek Health Systems. “And second, to better understand the effectiveness of the program, and its various components, in supporting people’s recovery.”
Currently, CCHS is offering weekly group and individual medical visits as needed, weekly group behavioral health visits and individual therapy; care management services including after-hours assistance as needed, discount pharmacy services, transportation assistance (paid bus passes and UberHealth), and oral health assessments and treatments. The new services they are adding will include economic/job placement, nutrition, social services for families, and dentistry.The MAT programs are clinically driven and tailored to meet each patient’s needs.
WVCTSI will show how these services are beneficial for patients by developing a Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap), a research database, and inputting information about the patients and the services they’re utilizing. Mason will be training, administering, managing, and assisting in the building of the REDCap for this project.
“This project and these services are important to the state because West Virginia is a small state with a small population and there are so many barriers to access care, whether the barrier is geography or transportation. Hopefully we can show success and other places can replicate what Cabin Creek is doing,” Mason said.
“The project can have an impact on addiction in the southern counties of West Virginia because it can keep people in recovery longer. Adding these services will help keep patients in longer and it can give them hope.”
WVCTSI and CCHS have been working on this project for almost a year. The grant will end at the end of 2022; however, the services will already be in place and will continue even when the grant concludes.
The sub-award for the Enhancing and Expanding MAT in Southern Appalachian Communities grant is sponsored by the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts, award number 1001079W.
WVCTSI is funded by an IDeA Clinical and Translational grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (U54GM104942) to support the mission of building clinical and translational research infrastructure and capacity to impact health disparities in West Virginia.