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June 21, 2018 (Cleveland)

Opioid Consortium Shares Strategic Agenda with Sen. Rob Portman, Opioid Roundtable



Opioid Consortium Shares Strategic Agenda with Sen. Rob Portman, Opioid RoundtableThe Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium shared its strategic agenda with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and other key members of the community at a roundtable earlier this month hosted by MetroHealth Medical Center. The purpose of the meeting was to highlight a four-year, $1.9-million-dollar first-responders grant that was made possible through the federal Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA). The bipartisan legislation, which passed both the U.S. Senate and House by wide margins, was co-authored by Sen. Rob Portman and signed by then-Pres. Barak Obama in 2016. To date, MetroHealth has received the first year of grant funding totaling $493,080.

The meeting was an opportunity for participating panelists to provide an overview of the work each of their organizations is doing to combat the opioid problem in Northeast Ohio. The panel included the following:

  • Lisa Anderson, senior vice president, The Center for Health Affairs, representing the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium
  • Vince Carrafi, supervisor, Cuyahoga County Board of Health, representing the Cuyahoga County Opiate Task Force
  • Justin Herdman, United States Attorney for the Northern District, U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Erin Helms, executive director, Woodrow Project
  • Megan Liber, social work coordinator, Office of Opioid Safety, MetroHealth Medical Center
  • Joan Papp M.D., director, Office of Opioid Safety, MetroHealth Medical Center
  • Tom Siedlecki, administrative lieutenant, Parma Police Department
  • Kevin Smith, Ph.D., director, Veterans Addiction Recover Center, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center
  • Bob Walling, special enforcement agent, Westshore Enforcement Bureau

Lisa Anderson informed panelists and attendees about the structure and membership of the Opioid Consortium and discussed its focus on the following seven strategic areas:

  • Establishing provider education at all levels and in all healthcare settings associated with member hospitals.
  • Increasing the patient education and clinical provider distribution of nasal Narcan.
  • Increasing the number of prescribers able to prescribe medication-assisted treatment, peer support programs and other treatment options.
  • Improving prescriber practices.
  • Improving pain management practices across all levels of providers.
  • Creating a comprehensive data warehouse of primary data to demonstrate program effectiveness as well as secondary data sources to underpin the Opioid Consortium’s work.
  • Supporting and executing a comprehensive public policy platform that will address the most pressing changes that need to occur legislatively at local, state and national levels.

Currently, the Opioid Consortium is in the final stages of completing a comprehensive three-year plan to address each of these seven strategic areas. 

Sen. Rob Portman has been vocal on this issue and is a sponsor of two bills currently pending in Congress aimed at combatting the opioid crisis. S.2456, the CARA 2.0 Act of 2018, was introduced in February and builds on the original CARA by increasing the funding authorization levels to better coincide with the recent Congressional budget, which allocated substantially more funding and calls for policy changes to strengthen the response to the crisis.

The other is S.372, the STOP Act of 2017, which was introduced in February of last year and is designed to close a loophole that allows dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl to be shipped into the country through the postal service to drug traffickers in the U.S. Both bills are pending in Senate committees, and both have companion bills pending in the House.

For more on the work of the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium, contact us.