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PACE to Recovery Program in Martinsville and Rocky Mount, VA

The PACE to Recovery

VTIPG researchers Mary Beth Dunkenberger, Associate Director and Principal Investigator, and Lara Nagle, Community-Based Learning Projects Manager, have assisted with program messaging and project management for the development of a continuum of care for people with substance use disorders (SUDs) who are admitted for treatment at Sovah Health – Martinsville and Carilion Franklin Memorial hospitals to longer-term care at the regional community service board, Piedmont Community Services (PCS), in the Martinsville, VA region. The continuum is modeled after a successful initiative called the Bridge to Treatment, operated by Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, in an effort to link emergency department (ED) patients with SUDs more effectively to longer-term treatment and supports. Preliminary evaluation of the Bridge model suggests high treatment retention rates among those with SUD. Peer recovery specialists play a unique role in facilitating coordination of the individual patient’s needs with an array of healthcare providers. Increased medical peer engagement and education among ED professionals concerning medication assisted treatment (MAT) and the biology of addiction has contributed to the program’s initial success.

The program in the West Piedmont service area has been titled PACE (Partnership-Access-Care-Empowerment) to Recovery, and launched in the fall of 2020. Materials developed for the PACE to Recovery program will be used by the federal Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration State Opioid Response (SOR) program and the SOR program evaluator, the Omni Institute, to develop a toolkit for other community service boards to employ to use the model. Items in the guide include a template memorandum of understanding (MOU), a patient brochure and a physician guidebook. PCS has received pilot funding from the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant managed by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (VDBHDS). A grant from the Virginia Higher Education Opioid Consortium (VHEOC) made Virginia Tech’s project support possible.