Grant to help pregnant women suffering from opioid addiction


Lansing, Mich. (WLNS)– Nearly $75,000 in funding from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation was awarded to the Ingham County Health Department this morning, to help expand Sparrow Health System’s mobile health clinic.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation are collaborating on an initiative called “Addressing Perinatal Opioid Use Disorder” to begin new projects, enhance or expand existing projects to prevent and treat opioid use disorder among women, their children and infants during prenatal, pregnancy and postpartum periods.

“We’re excited to receive this grant to provide prenatal care to women with opioid use disorder at methadone clinics,” Jennifer Hoffman, MD., an Ob/Gyn at Sparrow Hospital said.

The mobile clinic has been operated by Sparrow for two years to provide basic health services by going directly to underserved populations in the Lansing area.

Hoffman said Sparrow plans to use the grant money to hire a nurse navigator to help coordinate and schedule patients for the mobile health unit and also for prenatal care at local prenatal clinics.

According to MDHHS’ Division for Vital Records, between 2010 and 2017, the rate of infants discharged from hospitals for drug withdrawals has increased by more than 50 percent.

“It is important to address the babies because they are our next generation and so we need to take care of our women before they have the babies,” Dr. Hoffman said.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation gave out a total of $300 thousand dollars to five different county health departments in the state.

“Our state is really suffering with the opioid crisis and those individuals that have substance use disorder are having not only an impact on their lives but the lives of their children as well,” Executive Director and CEO of BCBSM Foundation Audrey Harvey said.

Harvey added that each county does something different with the money, but that Sparrow’s Program is special because it takes care to the mothers where they are.

“As pregnant mom and you’re in a situation where you’re dealing with substance use disorder, it’s really hard to have one more place to go for treatment,” Harvey said.

Instead, this particular unit will be parked in three different spots on a rotating basis where the mother will be already be going to seek treatment.

“This client-centered care. It’s about the patient and I think it’s hope. It provides people hope for another life, it gives them hope for their friends and I think it’s about helping the state of Michigan turn around the crisis that we’re seeing with opioid use disorder,” Harvey said.

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