Six Additional Kentucky Emergency Departments Join Program to Fight Opioid Use Disorder


During the annual statewide Recovery Rally, held at the state Capitol on Friday, Dr. Katherine Marks, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, announced the expansion of the Kentucky Statewide Opioid Stewardship Emergency Department (ED) Bridge Program. Six hospitals pledged to join the 11 facilities currently participating in this important initiative to fight opioid use disorder (OUD) across the Commonwealth.

The ED Bridge Program is part of the Kentucky Hospital Association’s (KHA) Kentucky Statewide Opioid Stewardship (KY SOS) program. The KY SOS Program is working with Kentucky hospitals to fight the opioid epidemic by providing services to inpatient hospital settings, outpatient primary care clinics, and emergency departments (ED) throughout the state.

The main objective of the ED Bridge Program is to ensure patients with OUD receive 24/7 access to care. This program will help patients receive low barrier treatment, bridge them to ongoing care in their community, and nurture a culture of harm reduction in emergency departments. One of the core elements of the program is to connect OUD patients with a Peer Support Specialist (PSS). Peer Support Specialists, persons in long term recovery, offer a unique opportunity to share their lived experiences to help mentor, guide, and encourage patients with OUD. Their connection to OUD patients is a key component to the program’s success.

Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE) is supporting the program and generously providing funding for participating hospitals to hire Peer Support Specialists for an entire year.

KHA and KY SOS are pleased to welcome the following hospitals to the program:

  • Baptist Health La Grange
  • Carroll County Memorial Hospital
  • Med Center Health Bowling Green
  • Mercy Health – Lourdes
  • CHI Saint Joseph London
  • CHI Saint Joseph Mount Sterling               

The eleven existing ED Bridge Programs in Kentucky are:

  • AdventHealth Manchester
  • Baptist Health Corbin
  • Baptist Health Lexington
  • Baptist Health Richmond
  • Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center
  • Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center
  • King’s Daughters Medical Center
  • Norton Healthcare
  • St. Elizabeth Healthcare
  • UofL Health
  • UK HealthCare

The KY SOS team continues to reach out to additional hospitals interested in joining this groundbreaking effort.With the addition of these six ED Bridge Programs, hospitals will help patients find treatment and recovery, thus saving lives in Kentucky communities. This is important work, and KY SOS is thankful these hospitals committed to fighting the state’s opioid epidemic.

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