SHEBOYGAN — St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan recently announced it has expanded its emergency services to include an opioid recovery program.
The project is funded by a $134,499 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) administered by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
“In Sheboygan County, deaths from opioid overdose have doubled since 2015, and we are now considered a high-risk county averaging 9.6 deaths per 100,000 residents,” said Jeff Stumbras, Executive Director of Behavioral Health at HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital and Prevea Health. “In order to increase access to effective treatment for those affected by opioid addiction, we are now offering walk-in treatment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital Emergency Department.”
In order to enhance local emergency services and better meet the needs of Sheboygan and its surrounding communities, HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital has developed additional processes and protocols so patients can be assessed anytime, day or night. This is for those who may be overdosing, withdrawing or just ready to start recovery from heroin or pain pills. Those seeking help may be started on a lifesaving medication to aid them on their path to recovery and are connected with recovery coaches from Wisconsin Recovery Community Organization.
Previously, patients who came to the hospital on Sheboygan’s northwest side for opioid withdrawal or overdose were provided life-saving measures, connected with a recovery coach onsite and then discharged back into the community.
“Without medication and treatment, these patients have an 85 percent rate of relapsing within one year,” said Stumbras. “This new option inside our emergency department creates a continuity of care that can save the lives of those struggling with opioid addiction.”
National experts in addiction medicine, as well as local experts in emergency care, addiction medicine, psychiatry, mental health, primary care, and those working in the recovery community, collaborated to develop this improved offering at HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital.
“The opioid crisis has impacted many communities across the United States, including Sheboygan,” said Sheboygan Mayor Ryan Sorenson. “It is great to have HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital be a key player in providing care to those impacted by this. This will make a positive impact on our community as we ensure that we become a safer and healthier community for all. I would like to thank the staff at St. Nicholas Hospital for the work that they do, and for their commitment to improving our public health.”
St. Nicholas Hospital, located at North Taylor Drive and Superior Avenue, is one of three hospitals in Wisconsin to receive funding from SAMHSA to implement this new program in its emergency department.