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Lowell General awarded $600,000 to expand access to treatment for opioid use

Massachusetts Health Policy Commission

Lowell General Hospital has been awarded a $606,609 grant by the state’s Health Policy Commission (HPC) to expand access to treatment for people suffering from opioid-use disorder (OUD). The grant is one of 15 selected from a competitive pool of applicants to the HPC’s SHIFT-Care Challenge. The program is a $10 million investment by the state that aims to decrease the use of costly and avoidable hospital care through innovative, evidence-based care delivery models.

Lowell General Hospital’s proposal is focused on expanding access to opioid-use disorder treatment by developing a bridge program that will be based at the Saints campus’ behavioral health clinic. The hospital will also expand partnerships with the Lowell Community Opiate Outreach Program (COOP) and Middlesex Recovery to increase the engagement of patients in treatment for opioid use. UMass Lowell will evaluate the program’s impact.

This work is part of a wider effort to proactively connect care for vulnerable patient populations in partnership with the HPC. In 2016, Circle Care was created to identify and provide support for high utilizers of the Emergency Department and inpatient units as part of a two-year HPC grant. Under the leadership of Dr. Wendy Mitchell, the Circle Care team has transitioned to supporting the MassHealth ACO, which is doing similar work with MassHealth patients, and will also oversee the execution of this latest grant.


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