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A West Virginia clinic will receive $1 million in federal funding to support its medication-assisted treatment access program.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services aims to improve health care in rural areas with the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program in Lewisburg, West Virginia by establishing new Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) access points.
By awarding this funding to the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine’s Clinic, federal officials aim to reduce the prevalence of substance use disorder including opioid use disorder.
Vice President for Community Engagement and Development Drema Hill said the funds will assist in transportation barriers to their rural clinic.
“And you know, Greenbrier, by land area, is the second largest county in the state, so we have a lot of transportation issues,” Hill said. “So these dollars are dollars that will expand medication-assisted treatment programs into rural areas through the use of a mobile clinic.”
According to Hill, in Greenbrier County, the mortality rate for overdose is 49.2 percent per 100,000 people. The U.S. average is 28.7 percent per 100,000 people, while West Virginia’s state average is 75.9 percent per 100,000 people.
“We have currently close to 200 patients who receive medication-assisted treatment, and when you receive MAT, there’s a component of behavioral health,” Hill said. “So you have to be able to access counseling services as you’re going through the program.”
In separate releases, Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced the funding.
“The addiction crisis continues to impact far too many through a multitude of factors,” Capito said. “As a result, our response must be direct and individualized based on the needs and challenges that specific communities face. I am glad to see HHS invest in this program that aims to help those struggling with substance abuse disorder through services available at our West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. This funding will strengthen treatment available at WVSOM and help put West Virginians on a path to recovery and ultimately reach their full potential.”
Manchin agreed and said the funds will help improve the health and well-being of West Virginians across the state.
“The funding will strengthen statewide efforts to prevent, control and respond to infectious disease outbreaks, as well as expand access to substance use disorder treatment services through Marshall University and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg,” Manchin said. “As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue advocating for resources to ensure every West Virginian has the quality, affordable health services they need.”
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.