Health Recovery Services Awarded $600K Grant

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Health Recovery Services in Athens has received a $600,000 grant to expand its efforts to improve services for opiate addicted mothers and their newborn babies.

The goal is to reduce long hospital stays for babies born to mothers with opiate abuse issues. Babies born to these mothers often have to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit to be treated for withdrawal symptoms.

The grant is one of four awarded as part of the state's Maternal Opiate Medical Support (MOMS) iniative.

The pilot program connects expecting mothers with counseling and treatment. It also helps provide services like housing and transportation in an effort to give comprehensive support to mothers and their babies.

As part of the program Health Recovery Services has partnered with OhioHealth O'Bleness Hospital, Athens Medical Associates Obsterics and Gynecology, University Medical Associate, Intergrated Services of Appalachian Ohio and Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Office of Community Health Program's Family Navigator/Pathways Program. 

O'Bleness officials say 15 to 20 percent of their newborns are affected by opiates.

Officials hope the pilot program leads to best practices that can be shared.

"We have feelings about what works but we want to be able to quantitate that," Mark Hurst, the medical director of Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services said. "We can proceed with this and help the rest of the state learn what kind of things are helpful, what kind of things mihgt not be as helpful so we can assist pregnant opiate addicted expectant women and their babies throughout Ohio."

The program aims to serve at least 90 women over the next three years.