Avera Health expands remote addiction services through $746k HRSA grant: 4 things to know

Officials at Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Avera Health are developing a telemedicine program to expand patients' access to substance abuse treatment services, The Daily Republic reports.

Here are four things to know about the program.

1. The program will focus on remote substance abuse disorder screening, intervention and referral services. Avera Health officials are also planning to leverage telemedicine equipment to offer local primary care providers remote educational opportunities to learn best practices for behavioral health.

2. Funding for the program is provided through a three-year $746,000 grant the health system received from the Health Resources and Services Administration's Office of Rural Health Policy in September. The grant is earmarked for improving rural access to substance abuse treatment services with telemedicine.

3. Avera Health officials' goal for the program is to address physician shortages in rural areas, particularly in regards to behavioral and addiction health providers.

"Telemedicine has to be the answer because I do not know how we will continue to address these needs in our rural areas," Matthew Stanley, DO, a psychiatrist at Avera Medical Group University Psychiatry Associates Sioux Falls, told The Daily Republic.

4. In another move to address addiction in surrounding communities, Avera Health rolled out services related to opioids in its mobile app, AveraNow. With the app, users are able to access educational resources and request an electronic prescription for naloxone, which is used to treat opioid overdoses.

More articles on telehealth:
FCC votes to waive $400M funding cap on rural telehealth program for FY17
Study: 'Door-to-needle' time drops 20 minutes with telestroke
SSM Health rolls out telepharmacy to expand services in Wisconsin

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