Health group gets $ 4.7M to fight abuse

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - Newsbites - By Rob Ryser

DAN­BURY — It would be hard to find a doc­tor’s of­fice where wait­ing room pa­tients aren’t asked to in­di­cate on med­i­cal his­tory forms whether they smoke.

Soon, it may be hard to find a doc­tor’s of­fice where pa­tients aren’t asked sim­i­lar ques­tions about their drink­ing and drug­ging habits.

In the mean­time, the health net­work that runs Dan­bury and Nor­walk hos­pi­tals is putting a plan in place to not only make al­co­hol and il­licit drug ques­tions stan­dard on med­i­cal his­tory forms, but to have more sub­stance abuse ex­perts on hand to fol­low up with pa­tients whose an­swers in­di­cate they may need help.

The West­ern Con­necti­cut Health Net­work will use a re­cently an­nounced $ 4.7 mil­lion fed­eral grant to ex­pand its screen­ing- and­in­ter­ven­tion pro­ce­dure for al­co­hol and drugs at 10 of the net­work’s busiest med­i­cal group lo­ca­tions.

“This is an in­no­va­tive ap­proach in Con­necti­cut to in­te­grate be­hav­ioral health and pri­mary care,” said Dr. Kather­ine Michael, med­i­cal di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity health for the West­ern Con­necti­cut Health Net­work.

The health net­work’s 10- site plan may be in­no­va­tive, but the screeningand- in­ter­ven­tion pro­ce­dure it’s us­ing is not. The pro­ce­dure is high­lighted as a key in­ter­ven­tion strat­egy for schools in the 2017 re­port of the Pres­i­dent’s Com­mis­sion on Com­bat­ing Drug Ad­dic­tion and the Opi­oid Cri­sis.

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