PITTSBURGH — Gateway Health, a leading managed care organization dedicated to caring for the “total health” of its members, recently partnered with Giant Eagle Pharmacy to introduce Pennsylvania Medicaid members to a novel clinical service dedicated to fighting the ongoing opioid epidemic throughout Allegheny County.
The new service, called Project Lifeline, was championed by the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy’s Program Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) in conjunction with the National Association of Chain Drug stores. It focuses on improving public health through substance abuse screening and referral of at-risk individuals.
Research shows that when more individuals are screened for addiction upfront, the process becomes a more normalized part of the healthcare visit. This removes the stigma associated with addiction and results in more people engaging in treatment.
The Gateway Health program sponsorship allows specially trained Giant Eagle pharmacists to offer screenings, brief interventions, and referrals to treatment (also known as SBIRT) to its Pennsylvania Medicaid members participating in the pilot. During these brief interventions, pharmacists will be able to identify Gateway Health members at high risk for opioid abuse or overdose and offer confidential counseling or referral to a substance abuse treatment center. The collaborative goal of Project Lifeline is to provide more comprehensive opioid care to Gateway Health’s members and to improve their health through sustainable results.
“Gateway Health is proud to partner with Giant Eagle Pharmacy and PERU to deliver this advanced, evidence-based tool to use in the ongoing battle against opioid addiction,” said Cain Hayes, president and CEO, Gateway Health. “At Gateway Health, we care for the whole person in all communities where the need is greatest. We see a future where everyone has equal opportunity to achieve their best health. We will continue to carry out our mission by creating innovative programming to support and treat those facing addiction.”
“The health and safety of our patients and community is our top priority,” said Jim Tsipakis, executive vice president, Giant Eagle Pharmacy. “At Giant Eagle Pharmacy, we are dedicated to finding new, innovative ways to bring programs and services to help in the fight against opioid addiction. We are proud to partner with such forward-thinking organizations as Gateway Health and PERU to provide access, education and an enhanced level of care for patients facing addiction.”