Two Nashville-area companies announced a new partnership last week to provide clinical and wraparound services for expecting mothers struggling with opioid use disorders.
ReVIDA Recovery Centers and Franklin-based 180 Health Partners are joining forces to coordinate care for pregnant women at ReVIDA’s seven locations in east Tennessee and southwest Virginia.
The partnership’s goal is to lessen the number of infants born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS, a condition that newborns experience when they withdraw from a substance they were exposed to in utero.
The most common substances causing NAS are opioids, which include morphine and heroin, as well as opioid pain medications and medication-assisted treatment such as buprenorphine and methadone, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
NAS can occur when a pregnant woman takes prescription medications prescribed to her, an illicit drug or a prescription medication written for someone else but diverted to her.
In 2017, there were 1,090 recorded cases of NAS in Tennessee, according to the state department of health. That number decreased for the first time in five years in 2018, with 927 reported cases.
How the partnership will work
ReVIDA launched less than a year ago, operating seven outpatient treatment centers. Patients visit the centers one to four times a month, receiving clinical and behavioral health care and sometimes medication-assisted treatment.
“Evidence shows the more you help people that have opioid use disorders with their overall life needs, the more likely they are to succeed in their recovery,” ReVIDA founder and CEO Lee Dilworth said.
That’s where 180 Health Partners comes in.
180 Health Partners is a new company that will work with managed care organizations that administer TennCare to identify and work with women who are addicted to opioids and pregnant.
Where ReVIDA patients may visit its centers once or twice a month, professionals with 180 Health Partners follows up with them several times a week to ensure their other needs are being met so patients can focus on their recovery.
“We’re engaging eight (to) 11 times per week through texts, phone calls, meeting them at home, helping with transportation, making sure they get to doctor’s appointments,” said 180 Health Partners CEO Justin Lanning.
Roughly 60% of the staff at 180 Health Partners are recovering from substance use disorders themselves, Lanning said.
Expecting mothers who receive 180 Health’s services can participate in its StrongWell program which provides structured prenatal care to mothers with substance use disorders, with the goal of decreasing the likelihood or severity of infants born with NAS.
ReVIDA also provides wraparound services that can take the form of referrals to other medical specialists, navigating the foster care system and court system and connecting patients with employers willing to hire people in recovery.
“Every now and then, we have patients who need help with food and clothing,” Dilworth said.
Out of roughly 2,400 patients served across its centers, “some of them are in the early stages of recovery, but then become pregnant,” Dilworth said.
“We’re happy for 180 (Health Partners) to provide their services, because it’s more likely that patient will be successful at our program and hopefully deliver a baby that doesn’t suffer from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.”
While all of ReVIDA’s Tennessee centers are clustered in the eastern part of the state where opioid misuse has been the most prevalent, Dilworth said they would like to open facilities in Middle Tennessee, as well.