In total, HRSA awarded more than $200 million to 1,178 health centers and 13 rural health organizations. The expanded funding is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ five-point strategy to fight the opioid epidemic.
“Neighborhood Health is excited to have the opportunity to expand SOS. Provided on a sliding fee scale, we reduce economic barriers,” said Grant Guiley, director of integrated health.
Since its inception in 2016, Neighborhood Health’s outpatient SOS program has served 109 clients. About 87 are currently enrolled in the program, and 20 are on the waiting list. Retention rate is 80 percent.
Sam Parish, chief medical officer and director of addiction services, said the medication-assisted treatment, combined with behavioral health care, was an effective approach to successful recovery.
“We are glad to be part of a community-based solution,” he said.
“Tennessee has the second highest rate in the nation for per capita prescriptions of pain relievers and ranks 10th highest in the number of drug-related deaths,” said Mary Bufwack, CEO of Neighborhood Health. “The number of opioid overdoses continues to increase; 1,451 drug overdose deaths in Tennessee in 2015 and 157 in Nashville/Davidson County. Seventy-two percent of these deaths are opioid related.”
In further support of this and other programs, Neighborhood Health will hold its second-annual breakfast fundraiser Sept. 28. Dr. Stephen Loyd, medical director for the division of substance abuse services of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, will be the guest speaker at Belmont University’s Maddox Grand Atrium. Loyd will address addiction in Tennessee as a disease while reducing stigma associated with treatment and recovery. Event registration will begin at 7 a.m.; those who plan to attend are asked to register by at neighborhoodhealthtn.org. Questions may be directed to Lorene Perkins at 615-227-3000. Attendance is free, and donations will be accepted.
Neighborhood Health, formerly United Neighborhood Health Services, is a private nonprofit network of neighborhood health centers that have served Middle Tennessee for more than 40 years. Through its 10 Nashville neighborhood clinics, the Downtown Homeless Clinic, two mobile health units, and clinics in Hartsville and Lebanon, Neighborhood Health provides medical, prenatal, dental and behavioral health care to 30,000 underserved people of all ages; 17,000 have no health insurance. Visit neighborhoodhealthtn.org or call 615-227-3000 for information or appointments.