Penn State Health and Geisinger each received $1 million to combat opioid addiction Tuesday.
Gov. Tom Wolf made the announcements at the grant-recipient Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, a collaboration between Penn State Health and PinnacleHealth.
The money was part of a $26.5 million federal grant Pennsylvania received in April. Allegheny Health Network, and WellSpan Health also each received $1 million.
“Medication-assisted treatment helps someone suffering from the disease of addiction to recover from their illness,” Wolf said. “Through these grants, we can expand access to this treatment to all Pennsylvanians in their own communities through a ‘hub-and-spoke’ network of health care providers.”
Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute in Harrisburg is the hub, while direct providers, including primary care physicians addressing rural care and underserved areas, are the spokes. According to the state, those doctors “will provide the direct-patient care, including the medication-assisted treatment prescription. Patients also will be connected to drug and alcohol counseling in their communities.”
“Our aim is to create a framework that allows anyone from any health care setting or socioeconomic background to quickly access the treatment they need in a way that restores their dignity, helping them to become productive members of society,” said Sarah Kawasaki, an internist and addiction specialist who works with both the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and PPI.
Penn State Health said the system addresses addiction in a similar way to other chronic or serious illnesses, such as diabetes or cancer.
“This is what will move the needle on lowering overdose deaths in the region,” Kawasaki said.
There were 23 organizations vying for the grants.