SWACH Awarded Nearly $204,000 for Opioid Crisis Response Projects in Southwest Washington
Funding Supports a Peer Provider for Hep C Patients and County-Specific Opioid Collaboratives in Clark, Klickitat and Skamania Counties
Southwest Washington Accountable Community of Health (SWACH) will receive nearly $204,000 of CDC funding through the Washington Department of Health to enhance the regional opioid crisis response in Southwest Washington. SWACH is engaged in the Southwest Washington opioid crisis response as part of a regional Medicaid Transformation project.
The new grant funds will support two new programs. $70,398 will support Hep C Cures, a partnership between SWACH, Community Voices are Born (CVAB) and Sea Mar Community Health Centers. $133,557 will support the creation of county-level opioid collaboratives in Clark, Klickitat and Skamania Counties.
Hep C Cures will provide peer-support for treatment and prevention of opioid-related illness and death among individuals with hepatitis C. Funding will support recruitment of a CVAB peer provider with lived hepatitis C treatment experience. The peer will work directly with Sea Mar patients and help them overcome barriers to successful hepatitis C treatment.
Curing people of hepatitis C reduces opioid epidemic-related death and illness. According to Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, “hepatitis C is a deadly, common and often invisible result of America’s opioid crisis.” Hepatitis C and Opioid Use Disorder are syndemic: diseases that feed off one another. Individuals with hepatitis C often face a variety of barriers to successful treatment.
In fact, of the 233 patients who initiated treatment since Sea Mar opened its hepatitis C clinic in 2014, 25.3 percent did not return for a test of cure or were lost to care. That figure continues to grow, according to Sea Mar. Pairing patients with peers is an evidence-based strategy for helping people adhere to treatment.
“Peers with lived experience are an invaluable resource for those receiving treatment for hep C,” said Eric McNair-Scott, VP of prevention and program alignment at SWACH. “We’re pleased to have DOH’s support as we partner with CVAB and Sea Mar to make this peer resource available in Southwest Washington.”
A grant of $133,557 will support the creation of county-specific opioid collaboratives in Clark, Klickitat and Skamania Counties. Collaboratives will convene stakeholders from healthcare, social services and community settings to develop strategies that improve access to care for community members experiencing Opioid Use Disorder. SWACH will oversee the effort through a full-time staff member dedicated to the regional opioid crisis response.
“People with Opioid Use Disorder can neither access nor receive the greatest benefit in connecting to a range of treatment and wrap-around services unless their local service providers themselves are connected, engaged and collaborating to address county specific circumstances,” added McNair-Scott. “Community stakeholders must work together to identify and develop local opportunities for policies and system change approaches to connect people to care.”
For more information contact:
Jack Coleman, 360-584-5501
About SWACH: SWACH is a local nonprofit working to improve health in Southwest Washington. We bring together community members and other experts to address our region’s most significant health challenges. Through innovative partnerships and local resources, we’re working to create lasting changes and a healthier future – for everyone. SWACH is the state-designated ACH for the counties of Clark, Klickitat and Skamania. We partner to support members of the Cowlitz Tribe and Yakama Nation. We also work in Wahkiakum and Cowlitz counties through the Healthy Living Collaborative, a SWACH program. Learn more at https://southwestach.org
About CVAB: Community Voices Are Born (CVAB) encourages self-determination and self-sufficiency for people in mental health and addictions recovery. The heart of our agency is peer-to-peer support, people with lived experience and in recovery. CVAB supports people who are vulnerable or in crisis, or wanting to experience healing, recovery and wellness. Learn more at http://www.cvabonline.com/
About Sea Mar Community Health Centers: Founded in 1978, Sea Mar is a community-based organization committed to providing quality, comprehensive health, human, housing, educational and cultural services to diverse communities, specializing in service to Latinos in Washington state. Sea Mar proudly serves all persons without regard to race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, or sexual orientation, and regardless of ability to pay for services. Sea Mar’s network of services includes more than 90 medical, dental, and behavioral health clinics and a wide variety of nutritional, social, and educational services. Learn more at http://www.seamar.org/
Acknowledgment of Federal Support: 100 percent of the total costs of the program or project will be financed with Federal money. The total dollar amount of federal funds for the project or program is $203,955.