Opioid Use Reduction Initiative

Addiction is a disease and innovative responses are needed, right now. Our community and the country at large are in the throes of an opioid epidemic—and so we created an innovative solution that brings results: The Medicaid Accelerated eXchange (MAX) Series Program.

Through our MAX Series Program, we have reduced the need for opioids and pain medications by using new ideas and strategies. We developed and implemented a new Emergency Department (ED) program that focuses on managing chronic pain, specifically for a group of patients identified as Super Utilizers. Our goal is to reduce their need for pain medications and reduce avoidable hospital admissions and ED visits.

How Our Program Works

Our focus is on narrowing the wide variation in treatment for patients with chronic pain and to establish practice patterns with a consistent message that emphasizes alternative treatment options and resources to manage chronic pain. When someone with chronic pain visits the Emergency Department, care management services provide a warm hand-off to a Care Navigator at the Family Health Center of Ellenville, a Federally Qualified Health Center on our campus. The Care Navigator effectively links these patients suffering with chronic pain to a primary care provider or a pain management specialist, as well as to ancillary services to address underlying substance abuse/mental health issues and quality of life issues.

In just one year, the MAX Series Program has produced impactful results. We followed 64 patients (Super Utilizers) and tracked their results. As a result of our Opioid Use Reduction Initiative, there has been a dramatic reduction in ED visits (-72.8%) by this cohort of Super Utilizers as well as a significant decrease in the administration of opioids (-84.4%) to these patients in the ED

Beyond the benefits to our patients and our community, we’re pleased to report that our initiative has received both statewide and national recognition! In 2018, president and CEO of ERH, Steven L. Kelley conducted a statewide webinar through Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) to present our work on MAX to all New York State hospitals. Thanks to our leadership role, other hospitals across our state are now replicating our programs.

Providing Effective, Supportive Services: One Woman’s Story

One of our great success stories involves a 68-year-old female, “Jane.” During the six months prior to the beginning of our MAX Series Program, Jane had logged 37 visits to the Emergency Department with complaints of chronic pain, and she was frequently treated with opioids. This patient lacked family support and transportation, so it was convenient and comforting for her to use our Emergency Department. The Care Navigator met with Jane on 3/16/16, and then put her in touch with a care team who identified mental health, housing, transportation and food service needs. Our care team facilitated Jane’s enrollment in Health Home services and also connected her with mental and primary care, transportation, respite stay, and local food pantry services. Jane’s Emergency Department visits dropped to seven visits in the six months of post-intervention and four of those visits were medically justified.

You Can Help Support Our Innovative Opioid Use Reduction Initiative

Our Opioid Use Reduction Initiative is just one example of an innovative program created and developed by our leadership team. At Ellenville Regional Hospital, we’re changing the face of healthcare by creating innovative solutions to address the healthcare needs of those living here in our community.

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