Harrison Memorial Hospital to join ED Bridge Program

The Kentucky Statewide Opioid Stewardship (KYSOS) Emergency Department (ED) Bridge team is excited to announce that Harrison Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana has committed to implementing a Bridge Program that will begin in May 2024. KYSOS is working with Kentucky hospitals to fight the opioid epidemic by providing services to inpatient hospital settings, outpatient primary care clinics, and emergency departments (ED) throughout the state.

“The implementation of the Bridge Program will enhance our ability to provide timely and effective care to patients with opioid use disorder, says Dr. Wesley Barnett, HMH Medical Director of Emergency Services. “By bridging them to ongoing care and incorporating harm reduction strategies, we are taking proactive steps to address this critical public health issue.”

The main objective of the ED Bridge Program is to ensure patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) receive 24/7 access to care. This program helps patients receive low-barrier treatment, bridge them to ongoing care in their community, and nurture a culture of harm reduction in EDs. One of the core elements of the program is to connect OUD patients with a Peer Support Specialist (PSS). Peer Support Specialists, persons in long term recovery, offer a unique opportunity to share their lived experiences to help mentor, guide, and encourage patients with OUD. Their connection to OUD patients is a key component to the program’s success.

Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE) is supporting the program and generously providing funding for participating hospitals to hire Peer Support Specialists for an entire year.

“We are proud to commit to implementing the Bridge Program at Harrison Memorial Hospital. This initiative aligns with our mission to provide comprehensive care to our community, especially those affected by opioid use disorder,” says Kathy Tussey, HMH Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer. “By offering 24/7 access to care and connecting patients with Peer Support Specialists, we aim to make a meaningful impact in combating the opioid epidemic.”