Funding will support Free2BMom program in Luzerne, Montour and Northumberland counties
Gov. Tom Wolf announced in November a total of $3.4 million in federal grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for health systems across the state. The grants are part of the $55.9 million SAMHSA grant secured by the Wolf Administration and administered through the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to bolster the state’s response to the opioid crisis.
The use of opioids during pregnancy can result in neonatal abstinence syndrome or neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. Newborns with these syndromes are more likely to have low birth weight and respiratory complications. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that an infant struggling with the symptoms of opioid dependency enters the world every 15 minutes. Across Pennsylvania, substance use was present in 1 of every 25 maternal hospital stays during 2016 and 2017, with half of these involving opioid use, according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.
Free2BMom, spearheaded by the Geisinger Steele Institute for Health Innovation, launched in February 2019 in Luzerne County and has since grown to serve women in Montour and Northumberland counties. Free2BMom provides counseling, community-wide social support and medication-assisted treatment, empowering mother and baby to thrive physically, psychologically and socially. The Free2BMom care team includes peer recovery specialists, obstetrician/gynecologists, pediatricians, social workers, addiction medicine specialists, and behavioral health specialists.
“Mothers who are struggling with substance use disorder often fear the stigma that exists around this disease, which keeps them from seeking proper medical care and support services. At Geisinger, our only concern is to help a mother and her baby,” said Karen Murphy, RN, PhD, executive vice president, chief innovation officer and founding director of the Steele Institute for Healthcare Innovation at Geisinger. “Our hope is that through intensive intervention, we can enhance the health of moms and babies we serve.”
Geisinger also works with a wide range of community organizations to help program participants with health and social needs such as transportation, job training, legal service, nutrition and exercise. The program is open to all pregnant women or those who have recently given birth and are enrolled in medication-assisted treatment, regardless of ability to pay. Mothers and community agencies interested in participating may call 570-214-2159.
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1.5 million consumers it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 13 hospital campuses, a 600,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With 32,000 employees and 1,800 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey by billions of dollars annually. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
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