Maine Quality Counts Receives Grant from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

Published on May 18, 2017 by

Deepening Behavioral Health Integration to Address Opioid Use Disorder in Primary Care

Maine Quality Counts (MQC), is a member-driven nonprofit organization working to transform health and healthcare. MQC is pleased to announce that it recently received a grant from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s Quality Grants Program to support primary care practices with integrated behavioral health providers to support compassionate tapering of opioids.

In Maine and nationally, the heroin and opioid use epidemic has created a public health challenge. Maine has the nation’s highest rate of prescribing for long-acting and high-dose opioid medications – almost twice the national average.

In 2016, opioid overdose deaths soared nearly 40 percent, with a record high of 376 deaths, and more than 1,000 babies born affected by substance use during pregnancy. Healthcare providers are working with community partners to urgently address this crisis and provide compassionate care to patients, families, and the community. This work builds on several projects at MQC; including the Caring for ME initiative, launched with Maine Medical Association in 2016, to support healthcare providers working to respond to the crisis, and two years of learning collaboratives with primary care providers to improve chronic pain management and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in Primary Care.

Harvard Pilgrim has partnered with MQC during the last two years to pilot Project ECHO Buprenorphine in Maine, a virtual educational and case conferencing program run by the Weitzman Institute, in Connecticut, which provides expert consultation to rural health care practices who provide treatment to patients with substance use disorder.

“This proposal, with critical resources from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, will provide support for providers in Patient Centered Medical Homes in two communities to work with their integrated behavioral health clinicians to compassionately taper patients on high doses of opioids  We are grateful to have the ongoing support of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation as we continue to support our providers who are committed to deliver high quality and compassionate care to patients and families in the context of this public health crisis,” says Amy Belisle, MD, Medical Director, Maine Quality Counts.

“MQC’s proposal is a good demonstration of the value the organization brings. We are pleased we are funding this excellent work; we are delighted to have Maine Quality Counts as partners with us in Maine,” explains Ed Kane, Vice President, Maine, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.




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