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McLaren Greater Lansing and Sparrow Health System to add Peer Recovery Coaches

Wednesday, November 15, 2017  
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Funding through a grant from the State of Michigan and the Mid State Health Network will bring Project ASSERT to the emergency departments of Lansing area hospitals. 

The Ingham Health Plan Corporation (IHPC), in collaboration with Sparrow and McLaren Hospitals will pilot a Peer Recovery Coach approach to assist with local efforts to address addiction.

On November 7, 2017, Peer Recovery Coaches employed by Wellness, Inx. (a local S.A. provider) will begin working in the McLaren, Sparrow, and St. Lawrence Emergency Departments.  The Wellness Advocates will engage with individuals in the emergency department who present with a substance use disorders related diagnosis.  A special focus will be placed on individuals admitted for opiate overdose reversal.    

Michelle Milam, RN, BSN, CHC., Clinical Director at IHPC, has worked along-side the Ingham Community Plan of Care Committee to find a method to address the substance abuse disorders in the community.  Project ASSERT was chosen as the evidence based model to implement in Ingham County.  “No one chooses addiction”, Milam says, “with the implementation of Project ASSERT, we hope to be able to help individuals who suffer from a Substance Use Disorders seek help for their medical condition and give them hope that recovery is possible.” 

The Peer Wellness Advocates have lived experience with addiction.  Like the patients they will be engaging with, Peer Advocates suffer from addiction disorders, but are in long term recovery.  They hope to be able to establish a relationship with the patients that is based on emotional support.  The Peer Advocates will conduct a patient intervention and facilitate a referral to substance use disorder treatment and recovery supports.  An IHPC CareHub Community Health Worker (CHW) will follow up with the patient after their emergency department visit, to assist the patient with support and navigation to additional needed services.

Tom Mee, MBA BSN RN, President and CEO of McLaren Greater Lansing, is anxious for the projects launch. An ex-emergency room nurse himself, he has firsthand knowledge of this crisis. “Ingham County has seen an increase in opioid overdose deaths from 14 in 2013 to 77 in 2016.  We have a genuine epidemic of opiate abuse, and it is of critical importance that this problem be addressed.  The hospital emergency department has been identified as the best location to offer this assistance.”

Project ASSERT was first implemented at Boston Medical Center and has proven successful in several Central Michigan area hospitals.

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