FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2013
Kings County Hospital Drug Treatment Program Receives Federal Government Award for Helping Opioid Users Stay in Treatment Longer and Increase Their Chance of Recovery from Addiction
Fewer Substance Abuse Patients Abandon Treatment; Retention Rates Exceed State Standards
Kings County Hospital Center, part of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, today announced that its substance abuse treatment program for opioid users helped drug addicted individuals remain in treatment longer, increasing their chances of recovery. After adopting a series of interventions, including reducing wait times for admission, assigning patient navigators and offering peer support for opioid users, the hospital achieved a 95 percent retention rate for its 30-day treatment program and exceeded the New York State standard of 90 percent in calendar year 2012.
The high patient retention rates earned Kings County Hospital this year’s Science and Service Award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation.
"Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical and it requires a strong commitment by the patient. When patients abandon treatment early it becomes almost impossible to recover from their addiction," said Susan Whitley, MD, Director of the Chemical Dependency Services at Kings County Hospital Center.
"We are pleased to be recognized as a national leader in treating opioid-related disorders and for our ability to engage and motivate patients through their road to recovery and a drug-free lifestyle,” said Joseph Merlino, MD, Director of Behavioral Health at Kings County.
The Kings County Hospital opioid dependency treatment program has capacity to treat up to 750 patients at a time who are addicted to opioids like morphine, heroin, codeine, and oxycodone. In 2012, approximately 240 new patients entered the program.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of New York City residents reporting misuse of these drugs. Between 2002-2003 and 2008-2009, self-reported non-prescription opioid use increased by 40 percent, with 263,000 New Yorkers aged 12 and older reporting misuse in 2008-2009. In 2011, opioid analgesics were involved in 220 unintentional deaths in New York City, a 65 percent increase from 2005.
To achieve the higher patient retention rates, the hospital adopted the following operational and clinical strategies:
- Created a same-day admission process that reduced admission wait times by over 50 percent and reduced paperwork and administrative tasks, giving staff more time to focus on patients;
- Established a new welcome committee of staff who explain to every patient the roles of each individual in their care team;
- Assigned each patient a “patient navigator” to identify and resolve barriers to the patient remaining in care, such as housing, transportation, or childcare needs;
- Designated an outreach worker to initiate reengagement efforts following a single missed program visit by any patient;
- Introduced a peer-led orientation on the day of admission for each patient.
The KCHC Opioid Treatment Program offers treatment for heroin and prescription opioid addiction at 648 Albany Avenue, 718-245-2630. The program is part of Kings County Hospital Center’s Chemical Dependency Services, which provides a broad range of services to residents of central Brooklyn regardless of ability to pay. The Central Intake for KCHC chemical dependency programs is located at 410 Winthrop Street, 718-245-2660. KCHC also maintains a Bedford-Stuyvesant Addiction Treatment Center at 722 Myrtle Avenue, 718-636-4200.