Recently the Board of Supervisors approved a plan to significantly expand the work that we have been doing over the past 2 years in our pilot project working with people that have intractable issues with chronic alcohol use. The project, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) has been using a medication, Vivitrol along with case management. The results of the pilot have shown significant reductions in emergency room visits, craving and drinking. Based on these results, we have been working with the Health Plan of San Mateo on the plan to expand these efforts that was approved by the Board.
The key components of the plan are outreach and engagement, access to care, medication intervention and management, case management, and peer support.
Palm Avenue detox will devote 3 of their beds for extended stays in order for staff to work with clients on motivation to engage in treatment. Substance Use counselors will be assigned to the San Mateo County Medical Center (SMMC) Emergency Department, SMMC primary care clinics (as part of our Interface team) , and Adult Probation. These counselors will work closely with staff from these services to identify potential clients, engage/support and refer to MAT.
The MAT component will be delivered by HealthRite 360 including medication assessment and management provided by a psychiatrist and nurse practioner, case management, individual and group counseling and education, and peer support provided via a subcontract with Voices of Recovery. On an annual basis we project serving up to 400 people in the MAT and far more through the access components listed above.
We will also be continuing our evaluation to determine the effectiveness of this project. Key components of the evaluation will include emergency room utilization, incarceration, craving to drink, alcohol and drug consumption, employment, housing, and life satisfaction.
We know from the experiences in the pilot that this intervention strategy has not only saved lives but it has helped people recapture their dignity, reunite with family, return to work and generally become part of their community again. With the opportunity supported by the Health Plan of San Mateo and our Board of Supervisors we hundreds more will realize these same amazing results in their lives.