The Warm Handoff Program is Expanding
Reading, PA (December 20, 2017) – Individuals suffering from opioid withdrawal and overdoses are arriving daily to our emergency rooms. As the number of drug overdose fatalities continue to soar, local hospital emergency rooms have been identified as a critical point of intervention. In response to this, COCA began a Warm Handoff initiative through a contract with Treatment Access and Service Center (TASC) and in partnership with the local hospitals.
This initiative was designed to reach out to opioid overdose survivors and engage them in the process of treatment and recovery. Only individual surviving an overdose or showing signs of an opioid withdrawal were visited, now any individual showing signs of a substance use disorder are included in the program. Once the patient is medically stable, they are met by a Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS) to discuss accepting and accessing treatment for a substance use disorder. Certified Recovery Specialists are employees of TASC and credentialed by the Pennsylvania Certification Board.
Since the inception of the Berks County Warm Handoff Program in 2015, over 500 individuals with substance use disorders have received services from the Warm Handoff. Due to the program’s success, the program now runs 24/7 at the Reading Hospital, and an “on-call” system will begin at St. Joseph Penn State Hospital in early 2018.
This initiative has been made possible through funding from the Council on Chemical Abuse, Community Care Behavioral Health Organization (CCBH) and Reading Hospital’s Centers of Excellence.
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