By working with the police department and area addiction treatment centers, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth, MA, (BID-Plymouth) has been able to persuade many more patients who present to the ED with addiction problems to seek needed treatment. The approach involves the creation of an outreach team that visits patients in their homes within a day of discharge from the hospital following an overdose.

  • A behavioral health team embedded in the ED sees all patients who present to the ED with addiction issues. While the vast majority of these patients reject addiction treatment alternatives at this stage, administrators have found patients to be much more amenable to accepting treatment once patients have returned home.
  • In the first nine months of the program, roughly 80% of patients with addiction problems agreed to seek treatment following an outreach visit.
  • A police officer always accompanies clinicians on outreach visits and can help the team work around confidentiality issues.
  • Emergency providers at BID-Plymouth have devised opioid guidelines to ensure prescriptions are used only when appropriate. By sharing information with providers about how their own prescribing practices compare with the prescribing practices of their peers, administrators have produced significant declines in opioid prescribing.