© 2024 WYSO
Our Community. Our Nation. Our World.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Premier Health launches new program for comprehensive substance use disorder treatment

Outside view of Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio.
Premier Health
SUNs will assist with assessments and referrals to treatment facilities. The Ohio Department of Health is funding the program, which is currently available in six branches of the hospital with plans for further expansion.

Premier Health is establishing a new program to help patients with substance use disorders, which they say will help provide comprehensive treatment.

The hospital says the Substance Use Navigators — called SUNs — will work with patients in the emergency department to complete chemical dependency assessments, and provide referrals to care, including placement in treatment facilities and other comprehensive treatment services.

Dr Kimberley Wascak, from the hospital's emergency services, said this program will help patients get long-term positive results.

“A lot of patients presenting to the emergency room have substance use disorders and the emergency room is obviously a very busy place where we have multiple priorities,” Wascak explained.

Currently, there are six navigators around the hospital’s branches, including Miami Valley Hospital, Atrium Medical Center and Upper Valley Medical Center. Premier Health is looking to hire additional SUNs for Upper Valley Medical Center and Atrium Medical Center.

Money for the program comes from the Ohio Department of Health through the Comprehensive Care for Substance Use in Ohio Emergency Departments (CCOED) program.

“But we do want to help everyone that presents with an issue,” Wascak said. “That’s ultimately the goal.”

Ngozi Cole is the Business and Economics Reporter for WYSO. She graduated with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York and is a 2022 Pulitzer Center Post-Graduate Reporting Fellow. Ngozi is from Freetown, Sierra Leone.