CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – Penn Highlands DuBois announced a partnership with the Clearfield Jefferson Drug & Alcohol Commission, aimed to lower the number of patients that deal with substance abuse related trauma.
With this partnership, screenings, brief interventions, and referral to treatments (SBIRT) will be initiated by the trauma service’s advanced practice providers. If the patient requests assistance with substance abuse, a case manager from CJDAC will screen the patient further and refer the patient to treatment as necessary.
“When we started talking to the Clearfield-Jefferson Drug and Alcohol Commission about partnering, both of our organizations were excited for this opportunity,” said Vicki Feldman, Outreach and Injury Prevention Coordinator at Penn Highlands Healthcare. “This partnership is going to allow us to help patients who struggle with substance abuse.”
Susan Ford, the executive director of the Clearfield Jefferson Drug & Alcohol Commission said they have treated more than 700 individuals in the past year, adding this union will make further treatment available for individuals dealing with substance abuse easily accessible. The hospital’s medical director of trauma William Hoff said they have been trying to add this next step to their previous screening processes.
“We have a screening process for adults, we have a screening process for adolescents. Both designed to pick up substance abuse issues,” Hoff said.
Under this partnership, once an individual is identified, the CJDAC will then be contacted by the hospital to offer interventions.
“Once we are contacted we will have a certain window of time that we will get somebody into the unit,” Ford said. “We will do what we call the level of care assessment at that time. Determine what level of care, and then we will immediately kick into gear getting the individual hooked up with the appropriate level of service.”
Hoff said that approximately half of the trauma patients with severe injuries are drug and alcohol-related, with many being DUI crashes. Some of the services that will be available include residential treatments and outpatient services. The ultimate hope of this partnership, Hoff says, is to lower the chances of continued abuse
“Many times injured patients are involved in motor vehicle crashes because of alcohol intoxication. This union between the CJDAC and Penn Highlands Healthcare will bring drug and alcohol treatment services to not just the injured patient but to all patients who visit the emergency department at Penn Highlands DuBois,” says William Hoff, MD, Trauma Medical Director.
“If we can identify those patients who have substance abuse history, and begin to intervene, we can reduce subsequent behaviors that would cause more injuries,” Hoff added.
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