Health Organizations join Tri-County opioid treatment network, expanding access to medication assisted treatment

In late 2016, Health Share of Oregon announced an investment to support the development of a new network of care to support recovery options for individuals living with substance use disorders. Led by Central City Concern and CODA, Inc., the network—called Wheelhouse—now includes Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, De Paul Treatment Centers, LifeWorks Northwest and Sequoia Mental Health Services, Inc.

“Wheelhouse is a timely and effective means of taking on Oregon’s opioid epidemic,” said Tim Hartnett, Executive Director of CODA, Inc. “Oregon has the second-highest rate of prescription opioid misuse in the country, and we’re losing lives because we’re not delivering a proven, affordable treatment to enough of the people in need. Helping the state’s existing provider networks deliver evidence-based Medication Assisted Treatment is sound public health policy, good stewardship of health care dollars, and a compassionate approach to this devastating problem.”

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a comprehensive approach to treat opioid use disorder. Combining behavioral therapies and medications, MAT is proven to increase treatment engagement and decrease overall opioid use. Although it is the most effective intervention for opioid use disorder, there exists a significant gap in access to this treatment.

“We’re all very excited to join this effort,” said Jeffery Eisen, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare. “By including MAT to our array of services, each of the partner organizations can better treat even more people who live with substance use disorders. This partnership provides the technical and clinical support needed as we all develop our own capacity for this treatment.”

The newly launched Wheelhouse website is the first step in sharing information about the network and MAT, with the ultimate goal of including an array of substance use disorder service providers, primary care clinics, recovery housing, and peer-driven supports.

“Wheelhouse is an amazing community-based effort,” said Rachel Solotaroff, President and CEO of Central City Concern. “When we see partnerships like this come together, we’re all optimistic about their potential to expand treatment options in behavioral health care settings, and hopefully, other parts of our health care system as well.”