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Northwinds awarded grant to bolster opioid crisis response

MALONE — Northwinds Integrated Health Network has received a $250,000 grant award to better equip providers in northern New York combating the opioid addiction crisis.

The funding is part of the federal State Opioid Response Grant funding and is being distributed through the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

The grant funding will help transform multiple and fragmented approaches to care by implementing unified strategy and training for health professionals — not only for immediate and consistent treatment, but to coordinate the vast array of services available on a regional basis.

The first step is the creation of a regional, 24/7 crisis line staffed by people with specialized training in opioid use disorder, versus the current patchwork system of answering services and overburdened Mobile Response Teams. The intent of the regional crisis line is to facilitate better access with same-day appointments by connecting patients at the right time to the right provider in the appropriate setting.

The grant will also support implementation of a unified electronic medical record for patients whose path of recovery takes them to multiple providers throughout the region. The electronic medical record will eventually yield the added benefit of data to track patient outcomes, and the ability to analyze services for increased efficiencies while maintaining high-quality, cost-effective care.

Northwinds Integrated Health Network IPA Inc., based in Malone, is an independent practice organization supporting mental health, substance abuse and social determinants of health providers.

Network providers include Behavioral Health Services North, Champlain Valley Family Center, Citizen Advocates, Clinton County Mental Health and Addictions Services, Conifer Park, Essex County Mental Health, Families First in Essex County, Liberty House Foundation, Mental Health Association in Essex County, North Country Freedom Homes, St. Joseph’s Addiction & Treatment Centers, United Helpers, St. Lawrence County Mental Health, Warren/Washington Association for Mental Health.

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