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Horizon, Memorial announce integrated care program

by jmaloni
Thu, Nov 10th 2011 04:00 pm

Horizon Health Services has applied to the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services for permission to establish an addiction service satellite center at the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

If approved, the integrated center for primary care and addiction would be the first of its kind in Niagara County and one of the first in the state.

"This is a groundbreaking approach that will meet a very pressing community need. The integrated center takes a one-stop approach to serving patients, making it more convenient for patients to access a broader range of services at a single location," said Memorial Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Sheila K. Kee.

The center will operate in the recently renovated Niagara Falls Memorial Primary Care Center at 620 10th St., Suite 704. That office, which opened in February, will continue to provide primary care to patients at all stages of life with Horizon Health Services providing addiction treatment services there on an as-needed basis.

"The need for Horizon's services came about when an influx of patients were coming through the doors severely opiate addicted and not knowing where to go for the appropriate treatment. With services located under one roof, access to care will improve and the risk of patients falling through the cracks will be diminished," Kee said.

Primary care patients at the center who are judged to be at risk or who are experiencing addiction problems will undergo an initial evaluation called an SBIRT, which stands for Screening Brief Intervention and Referral for Treatment. Horizon will be on site to provide additional evaluation if necessary, with Memorial making the referral.

In addition to providing patient evaluations, Horizon Health Services will offer direct addiction counseling services within the Niagara Falls Memorial Primary Care Center. Addiction and primary care services will be coordinated, permitting patients to benefit from a comprehensive plan of care that serves a wide range of needs.

"We will also provide Suboxone treatment for opiate addiction, so the care continuum will begin with Niagara Falls Memorial offering medical services and Horizon providing a second level of care when needed," Horizon President and CEO Anne Constantino said. "We will be the provider for continuing care and determine the level of care for patients after a thorough assessment."

"This innovative partnership embraces many of the themes proposed by the state's Medicaid Redesign Team to prevent hospitalization by better integrating care for ongoing health problems, including addictions," Memorial President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo said. "The Horizon/Memorial partnership will reduce service fragmentation, improve outcomes and decrease health care costs due to the efficiencies that will be achieved through service integration."

"This model of care is truly the wave of the future," Ruffolo added.

Horizon Health Services is a not-for-profit organization that provides an array of comprehensive services to assist individuals with mental health problems and/or addictions.

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