The Department of Health and Social Services is calling for proposals to implement a Centers of Excellence model to improve the substance use system of care serving all three counties as a way to engage and treat more than 900 new individuals during the first 12 months of operation.

The request is being sought by DHSS’ Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health using $2 million in 21st Century Cures Act funding through the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Medicaid reimbursements and state general funds. Proposals are due by 11 a.m. March 9. The proposal calls for a Centers of Excellence model to improve the state’s substance use system of care in the wake of the addiction epidemic that continues to claim an increasing number of lives across the country.

The proposal calls for each of three treatment providers serving all three counties to engage and treat 300 new individuals with opioid use disorder in the first year of operation for a total of 900 patients. New patients are defined as individuals addicted to opioids who have not had services in the past 60 days.

In addition to helping patients to access medical and mental health care, the Centers of Excellence model will address the needs of individuals for housing, vocational opportunities, education and other wraparound services.

The substance use system of care ensures 24/7 support through certified peer recovery specialists who will meet with acute care patients and hospital staff to discuss treatment needs and post-discharge services. Each center’s team will have components to its model including a director, a community engagement and management team director and peer recovery coaches. Once individuals are in treatment, peers will help patients to navigate and stay engaged in the health care system and involve family members to discuss treatment questions, issues, needs, options and preferences. Peers also will connect pregnant women to existing programs that provide home visiting and prenatal care.

Among the required services at each center are comprehensive substance use disorder evaluation; development of an individually tailored treatment plan; case management; medication-assisted treatment induction and maintenance, including the use of Food and Drug Administration-approved medications ; group and individual counseling; links to recovery/transitional housing; psychiatric evaluation/treatment to include trauma-informed principles; co-management of behavioral and medical disorders; motivational strategies to encourage individuals with opioid use disorder to stay engaged in their treatment plans; and Prescription Monitoring Program checks and fluid drug screens as required by DSAMH.