Health group gets $ 4.7M to fight abuse
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.