The Grey Bruce Health Unit will host an addiction treatment rapid access clinic in Owen Sound as part of a new integrated approach to addiction services in Grey Bruce.
Opening this fall, the clinic will see patients within seven days of discharge from an Emergency Department. The clinic physician will provide ongoing support including counselling, withdrawal medication and connecting the patient with community support programs.
The health unit’s role is part of a wider and more comprehensive patient first approach to addiction treatment. Called META:PHI – Mentoring, Education, and clinical Tools for Addiction: Primary Community Care-Hospital Integration; the program integrates Grey Bruce Health Services Emergency Departments, withdrawal treatments under an addiction physician, community care (such as effective psychosocial supports) and long-term care through the patient’s primary care provider. In the past, many clients were simply treated and released from hospital and these programs were provided in a fragmented fashion, putting patients at high risk of returning to their addiction. Funded by Health Quality Ontario through the provincial Adopting Research to Improve Care (ARTIC) program, implementing the META:PHI pathway does not require additional health care or public health resources. The pilot in Grey Bruce is an excellent example of leveraging existing partnerships between acute care, primary care, public health and community resources.
Addictions are the leading cause of death, hospital visits and health care spending in Ontario. Each year, upwards of 150 people come into the Grey Bruce Health Services Emergency Departments due to alcohol or drug addiction. Untreated, an opiate addict costs the healthcare system about $50,000 a year. Opioid replacement therapy costs about $5,000 a year.