In response to opioid crisis, substance-use disorder services expanded

MONTPELIER — Ten Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in Vermont — including one in Bristol — were recently awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) to further expand access to substance use disorder and mental health services in response to the national opioid crisis. The $2.8 million in new funding, announced in late September, will expand access to integrated services by increasing personnel and enhancing infrastructure.
HRSA recognizes that primary care settings, like the community health centers supported by HRSA’s Health Center Program, have increasingly become a gateway to integrated care for individuals with substance use disorder and primary care needs.
The Vermont FQHCs receiving HRSA’s 2018 Expanding Access to Quality Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services awards include Mountain Health Center in Bristol.
“HRSA is committed to fighting this crisis by supporting our grantees with resources, technical assistance, and training,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas. “These funds enable HRSA grantees to continue to implement or expand substance use disorder and mental health services across the Nation.”
“The health centers are committed to hiring at least one new full-time equivalent substance use disorder or mental health services professional,” said Tess Stack Kuenning, president and CEO of Bi-State Primary Care Association, which manages 29 FQHCs in Vermont and New Hampshire.
In 2017, more than 1,500 Vermonters received medication-assisted treatment at a Vermont FQHC.

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