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Six Essential Hospitals to Collaborate on Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Project

November 16, 2022


WASHINGTON — Six essential hospitals will collaborate in a 12-month, grant-funded project to improve access to opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment in a primary care setting, with a focus on reaching marginalized populations that often face disparate access to OUD care.

The project will support a learning collaborative of essential hospitals seeking to increase access to office-based addiction treatment (OBAT). Essential Hospitals Institute, the research and education arm of America’s Essential Hospitals, will provide funding and training through a grant from CVS Health Foundation.

OUD claims more than 130 lives every day nationwide and continues to devastate families and communities. Due to their safety net mission, over half of essential hospitals provide addiction and psychiatric care compared with less than a quarter of other hospitals nationwide.

“The national death rate from opioid use disorder has increased in recent years, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it continues to rise for non-Hispanic Black people, who are almost 20 percent less likely than other groups to receive OUD treatment,” said Institute Director Kalpana Ramiah, DrPH, MSc. “That is an unacceptable disparity and a symptom of structural barriers to care we can mitigate with office-based treatment.”

OBAT is an evidence-based addiction treatment in which patients receive specialized treatment for their OUD integrated within a primary care setting. The OBAT model of care centers on a care coordinator, who serves as the main point of contact for OUD patients. The care coordinator serves as a liaison and advocate for the patient, providing education about the process and program expectations, as well as collecting screening information from the patient to better inform their care plan.

Members of America’s Essential Hospitals participating in the project include:

  • Baystate Health (Springfield, Mass.)
  • Ben Taub Hospital (Houston)
  • Broward Health (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
  • Harris County Health System (Houston)
  • Lifespan Rhode Island Hospital (Providence, R.I.)
  • St. Joseph’s Medical Center (Paterson, N.J.)

Each of the hospitals will receive a $50,000 grant to implement or expand their OBAT program and participate in training by Boston Medical Center, an essential hospital in Boston that pioneered OBAT.

On October 11, the Institute released a request for proposals for essential hospitals to participate in a second learning collaborative funded by the CVS Health Foundation. This new grant will fund OUD treatment programs that focus on linking treatment to social medicine programs or providing community-informed care navigation.

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About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading association and champion for hospitals dedicated to equitable, high-quality care for all, including those who face social and financial barriers to care. Since 1981, America’s Essential Hospitals has advanced policies and programs that promote health, health care access, and equity. We support our more than 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, education, and leadership development. Communities depend on essential hospitals for care across the continuum, health care workforce training, research, public health and health equity, and other services. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead all of health care toward better outcomes and value.

About Essential Hospitals Institute
Essential Hospitals Institute is the research, education, dissemination, and leadership development arm of America’s Essential Hospitals. The Institute supports the nation’s essential hospitals as they provide high-quality, equitable, and affordable care to their communities. Working with members of America’s Essential Hospitals, we identify promising practices from the field, conduct research, disseminate innovative strategies, and help our members improve their organizational performance. We do all of this with an eye toward improving individual and population health, especially for vulnerable people.

About CVS Health
CVS Health is the leading health solutions company, delivering care like no one else can. We reach more people and improve the health of communities across America through our local presence, digital channels and over 300,000 dedicated colleagues—including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and nurse practitioners. Wherever and whenever people need us, we help them with their health—whether that’s managing chronic diseases, staying compliant with their medications, or accessing affordable health and wellness services in the most convenient ways. We help people navigate the health care system—and their personal health care—by improving access, lowering costs and being a trusted partner for every meaningful moment of health. And we do it all with heart, each and every day. Learn more at

Carl Graziano

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