TERRE HAUTE, Indiana – Building on its success with the Indiana Rural Opioid Consortium (InROC) programs, the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) will now further explore how to expand and increase access to treatment in 11 Indiana counties. The planning process will be funded by a new grant of $200,000 from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), according to Don Kelso, IRHA executive director.
“Even with increased national attention and the addition of select prevention and
treatment facilities throughout Indiana, opioid use disorders [OUDs] remain a chronic, persistent and very serious public health concern in the state, including rural areas,” Kelso said.
“The planning process also includes a specific focus on workforce development and OUD treatment options,” said Allison Orwig, IRHA project director. “When left untreated or unaddressed, the opioid crisis cripples Hoosier families and individuals.”
Partners with IRHA for the new grant include: AgriInstitute (Danville); Boone County Sheriff’s Department (Lebanon); Fayette Regional Health System (Connersville); Indiana University Bedford Hospital (Bedford); Indiana Health Centers (Logansport); Indiana University (Indianapolis); mdlogix (Owing Mills, Maryland); and Reid Health (Richmond).
IRHA created a task force comprised of experts to develop a comprehensive plan to address four areas: first, to increase awareness of OUD treatment best practices through targeted education efforts; second, to increase access to available treatment options, including new telehealth options; third, to build additional recovery communities in the targeted counties; and fourth, to create initiatives and programs to reduce the stigma associated with addiction resulting from the opioid crisis. The task force will also identify strengths and gaps in existing programs and additional means to the expansion of continuity of OUD care that includes Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and waivers available through the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000, as well as other recovery initiatives.
“IRHA, through the InROC program, has already achieved considerable impact on behavioral health access and opioid use disorder in four rural counties in Indiana, and this new planning initiative will allow us to expand the recovery vision to 11 counties,” Kelso explained.
The 11 counties taking part in the planning process are Boone, Cass, Fayette, Franklin, Jennings, Lawrence, Orange, Scott, Union, Washington and Wayne.
“These counties suffer from significantly higher OUD prevalence rates and in general have higher hospital emergency department visits due to heroin and prescription opioid overdose,” Orwig said.
The task force will identify and collect key data from these counties and other resources and spend the next 12 months developing a plan that can be considered for additional funding and implementation.
The OUD planning initiative is funded by a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant made available to the Indiana Rural Health Association.
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About the Indiana Rural Health Association
The Indiana Rural Health Association was organized in 1997 and is a nonprofit organization working to enhance the health and well-being of rural populations in Indiana through leadership, education, advocacy, collaboration, and resource development. The strength of the organization is through the present diverse membership and the founding organizers who are committed to impacting the health of citizens through the identification of rural health issues and through advocacy roles in both the public and private sectors. IRHA membership is made up of 3,300 diverse individuals and organizations, making it the largest state rural health association in the nation, and a nationally recognized leader in rural health care. For more information, visit www.indianaruralhealth.org.
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