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Gina Pferdehirt
Director, Public Relations & Community Relations
UPMC Health Plan

UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care Partners with Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs on SAMHSA Grant

Funds will focus on curtailing opioid epidemic

PITTSBURGH (December 20, 2017) – The UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care announced that it will serve as the primary partner and subcontractor to oversee program and financial administration of a $5,700,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The grant will expand, enhance, and evaluate access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services for persons with an opioid use disorder in four counties: Blair, Clinton, Erie, and Lycoming.

Pennsylvania is one of six states funded, all of which have high per capita rates of opioid use disorders and overdose deaths due to heroin and other opioids.

The UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and DDAP, will support and evaluate a hub-and-spoke model centered in each county’s Single County Authority (SCA). SCAs around Pennsylvania organize and coordinate community-based drug and alcohol programs in the county (or counties) they serve. Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, part of the UPMC Insurance Services Division, partners with each of these counties to manage services for individuals whose services are funded by the Pennsylvania Medical Assistance (Medicaid) program.

Hubs will conduct training, outreach, and coordination with providers (spokes) in their communities to increase access to MAT. Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC will serve as a “super-hub,” overseeing hub training and collaborating with the Center for High-Value Health Care on the evaluation.

The desired outcomes include an increase in the number of admissions for medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder; an increase in the number of clients receiving integrated treatment; a decrease in illicit opioid drug use by the individuals in treatment at the six-month follow up; and a decrease in the use of prescription opioids in a non-prescribed manner at the six-month follow up.

“This grant offers an important opportunity to develop a model for further MAT expansion in these and other communities across the Commonwealth,” said Dr. James Schuster, chief medical officer for Medicaid and behavioral services at UPMC Insurance Services Division. “Through this grant, we hope to see a reduction in opioid use disorder in these communities and improved care for those in need of these services.”

SAMHSA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is responsible for improving the quality and availability of treatment and rehabilitative services related to substance abuse and mental illnesses.

DDAP is the Single State Authority for substance abuse services in Pennsylvania. The Department is responsible for the control, prevention, intervention, treatment, rehabilitation, research, education, and training aspects of drug and alcohol abuse and dependence problems.

“As we battle the opioid and heroin epidemic that have touched Pennsylvania and the rest of the country, it is imperative that people impacted by substance use disorder understand that recovery is possible,” said DDAP Acting Secretary Jennifer Smith. “By expanding access to evidence-based substance use disorder treatment, we are helping Pennsylvanians around the commonwealth access treatment that makes recovery a reality and could save their lives. On behalf of the Wolf Administration, I am thankful for UPMC’s commitment to the communities they serve.”

Medication assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies for the treatment of substance use disorders.


About UPMC Insurance Services Division

The UPMC Insurance Services Division is owned by UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) a world-renowned health care provider and insurer based in Pittsburgh, Pa. As a provider-led organization that is part of an integrated health care delivery system, the UPMC Insurance Services Division is committed to providing its members better health, more financial security and the peace of mind they deserve. The UPMC Insurance Services Division partners with UPMC and community network providers to produce a combination of knowledge and expertise that provides the highest quality care at the most affordable price. The UPMC Insurance Services Division – which includes UPMC Health Plan, WorkPartners, UPMC for Life, UPMC for You, UPMC for Kids, and Community Care Behavioral Health — offers a full range of group health insurance, Medicare, Special Needs, CHIP, Medical Assistance, behavioral health, employee assistance and workers' compensation products and services to more than 3.2 million members. For more information, visit www.upmchealthplan.com.

About the UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care

The UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care, housed within the UPMC Insurance Services Division, translates the work of the UPMC Health Plan, Community Care Behavioral Health, and the organization’s additional integrated partner organizations into evidence-based practice and policy change for improving health care quality and efficiency and the overall health of the population. Many activities are conducted in UPMC’s unique payer-provider laboratory and supported through grants and contracts carried out in partnership with community organizations and government agencies. UPMC is a global health enterprise and one of the nation’s largest integrated health care delivery and financing systems. UPMC and its Insurance Services Division recognize and embrace the value of collaboration in achieving an equitable, high-quality, and efficient health care system that meets the needs of diverse populations. For more information, visit www.upmchighvaluehealthcare.com.