Sunday, May 13, 2018

UK gets contract that will let it expand to rural Kentucky a program to get or keep pregnant women off opioids

Women with opioid-dependence problems during and after pregnancy will get more help from the University of Kentucky through a $4.9 million contract from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

The contract will boost the Perinatal Assistance and Treatment Home (PATHways) program, now based in Lexington, which helps pregnant women with medication, peer support and health services to reduce the number of babies born with an opioid addiction. After delivery, they get peer counseling and health services.

The program has been successful. "Between 2014 and spring 2017, more than 150 women received treatment through PATHways. Of those, 77 percent were admitted to labor and delivery without any illicit drugs in their systems," Linda Blackford reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. "Women who participate in the pilot will be required to find a local physician to prescribe medication assisted therapy, and the program will help them find this support if they don't already have it."

Blackford notes, "Kentucky has one of the highest rates in the nation of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, a rate that has climbed from 46 babies in 2001 to 1,115 in 2016, according to hospital discharge data collected annually by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services."

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The contract will fund a study in which one group of rural women will attend pregnancy and parenting support and education groups led by a trained nurse and a peer support specialist every other week. The other group will have meetings via telemedicine with specialists in high-risk pregnancy, addiction care, pediatrics or substance counseling. "The goal is for women to receive enhanced substance abuse care in their home communities, which is especially important to patients living in rural areas," a UK press release said.

The program was developed by the UK medical college's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Department of Psychiatry, and the College of Nursing.

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