CHART Team Mobile Clinic Providing Substance Use Disorder Services Through HEALing Communities Study

Local CHART Team Members from AIDS Supporting Group

Bourne and Sandwich – The AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod (ASGCC), Community Health Center of Cape Cod (CHC of Cape Cod) and Duffy Health Center are partnering together on a mobile clinic to increase access to substance use disorder services in the towns of Bourne and Sandwich. The CHART (Community Harm Reduction and Treatment) Team provides telehealth appointments for prescribing medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), including same-day access to buprenorphine (Suboxone) prescriptions, along with transportation to a pharmacy to pick up the medication if needed. The team on the mobile clinic can also provide harm reduction services, including access to overdose prevention education and naloxone (NARCAN®) distribution.

The CHART Team offers referrals and connections to primary care providers, a recovery coach, medication to prevent HIV (PrEP and PEP), sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, behavioral health services and housing and insurance assistance. The van will be staffed by one Harm Reduction Specialist and two Recovery Support Navigators. To find out the schedule and location of the CHART Team van, please visit www.facebook.com/CHARTteam.  

The goal of the CHART Team is to reduce opioid overdoses and deaths in the community by increasing access to important health care resources. This includes providing recovery support services to help high-risk individuals engage and stay in substance use disorder treatment, increasing access to NARCAN®, and reducing barriers to care for people who use drugs and have a substance use disorder within the towns of Bourne and Sandwich. The Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics reports 10 fatal opioid-related overdoses among Bourne and/or Sandwich residents in 2019.

Additionally, the mobile program will enhance linkage services between the three partner agencies (ASGCC, CHC of Cape Cod and Duffy Health Center) for MOUD and other vital health care services where transportation is a barrier among high-risk populations. This program is available to anyone in need of assistance, without judgement or expectations. Services can be covered by insurance, and Insurance Enrollment Specialists at CHC of Cape Cod and Duffy Health Center can help individuals enroll for health insurance coverage.

“As the opioid epidemic continues to have a devastating impact on the Cape, especially with the additional barriers to accessing treatment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing substance use services directly to individuals at high risk in the community is urgently needed,” said Dan Gates, CEO at AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod.  “MOUD can be a vital, life-saving part of an individual’s recovery, and this program will increase access to this type of treatment.”

The CHART Team will also work to reduce the stigma involved with MOUD use, which can keep people who are struggling with addiction from getting help and staying in treatment for as long as they need it. Medications can help people be successful in their recovery by lowering the risk of relapse, lowering the risk of overdose death, increasing the time they stay in treatment and improving their lives and relationships with others.

This program is part of the Bourne and Sandwich HEALing Communities Study-Massachusetts Coalition, convened by Boston Medical Center and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The coalition is attended by a multi-disciplinary group of community stakeholders, including: local and state government, public health and healthcare agencies, harm reduction agencies, criminal justice and law enforcement, recovery centers and individuals with lived experience.

The HEALing Communities Study is testing the integration of prevention, overdose treatment and medication-based treatment in select communities hard hit by the opioid crisis. This comprehensive treatment model will take place in a coordinated array of settings, including primary care, emergency departments and other community settings. Findings will establish best practices for integrating prevention and treatment strategies that can be replicated by communities nationwide.

For more information on the mobile MOUD clinic’s location and hours, please visit the HEALing Communities Study website for Bourne and Sandwich at www.HEALTogetherMA.org/Barnstable, or contact Dana DiSenso at ddisenso@duffyhealthcenter.org, (774) 487-8449.   

Other local interventions as part of this study include increased access to NARCAN® through the Bourne Fire Department, Bourne Police Department and Cape Cod Healthcare, expanded MOUD offerings from Community Health Center of Cape Cod through a new office in Sandwich and Project LINKS, which is a partnership among these three agencies and the Barnstable Probate and Family Court to provide expedited referrals to high-quality OUD services.

Massachusetts is ranked among the top 10 states with the highest rates of opioid overdose deaths, and this program is part of larger effort to help reduce this statistic. This study aims to decrease opioid overdose deaths in Bourne and Sandwich and 15 other Massachusetts communities by 40 percent. To learn more about this study, and other programs to help individuals with substance use disorders, please visit www.healingcommunitiesstudy.org.

The Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative, is an aggressive, trans-NIH effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. Launched in April 2018, the initiative is focused on improving prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction and enhancing pain management. For more information, visit www.heal.nih.gov.

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The AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod saves lives through prevention, education, and life-sustaining services that address public health crises to build healthy communities across the Cape and Islands.  They have offices in Hyannis, Falmouth, Martha’s Vineyard and Provincetown.  Learn more at www.asgcc.org.

Community Health Center of Cape Cod improves the health of our community through the provision of comprehensive, high quality, compassionate health care to all, regardless of ability to pay.  They have offices in Bourne, Centerville, Falmouth, Mashpee and Sandwich.  Learn more at www.chcofcapecod.org.

Duffy Health Center’s mission is to provide equitable, integrated primary health care and support services to persons who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness on Cape Cod, and to improve the quality of life for vulnerable and marginalized populations through community collaborations, leadership, and advocacy.   They are located in Hyannis.  Learn more at www.duffyhealthcenter.org.

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