The United Way of the Wabash Valley’s Substance Use Disorders Impact Council while working collaboratively with partners in the community has helped to bring a new tool to support Substance Use Disorder treatment with the help of two grants totaling $152,000. These include an $87,000 Integrated Service Project grant from the Indiana State Department of Health and $65,000 from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) planning grant which the United Way has been executing for the last 2 years.

These funds will provide e-Intervention from CHESS Health, an online referral and patient tracking platform, that will create a healthier substance use disorder treatment and recovery eco-system by providing a closed-loop referral system linking the Wabash Valley together into one singular resource network with an emphasis on substance use disorder. An individual’s own resistance to treatment is a major impediment. This platform will send referrals to services such as therapy, healthcare providers, and more, to those in need of aid across the Wabash Valley, while providing real-time tracking and analytics.

The platform will provide real-time tracking of those referrals allowing for increased referral completion. Many people seeking treatment are resistant due to fear, shame and the unknown of what getting help will be like. This system will “push” a smartphone notification directly to the patient’s phone application that will provide the referral information (updated in real-time), resource locations, and instant three-way messaging between the referral sender, referral receiver, and the client or patient, making for a warm hand-off and making each client feel comfortable and informed entering treatment.

This program was made possible because of community collaboration. Next Step Foundation will be implementing the application across the Wabash Valley. The grants that United Way secured through state and federal funding sources will provide the licensing fee and a devoted full-time employee to implement this program over the next two years.

Dana Simons, Executive Director of Next Step Foundation explained that “According to SAMHSA, only 10% of people with Substance Use Disorder receive treatment. When the need for treatment is identified, too few people know where to find services for themselves or their loved ones. In the Wabash Valley, we do have a lot of options to assist those seeking recovery, but we do not have an easy and simple way to connect service providers with those seeking their services. Using this unique technology from CHESS Health, the e-Intervention platform will transform the referral process and make it easier for people to get connected to the appropriate level of treatment. Providers can communicate with each other to assure an effective handoff and also follow-through with the patient or their loved ones. When we reduce the time from a person wanting to get help and the delivery of that help, we will reduce relapse and increase recovery in our community.”

The President of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, Kristin Craig, described the project’s impact by saying, “Since the launch of the See You In Terre Haute Community Plan, we have seen countless collaborative opportunities unfold that directly improve the plan’s key goals of halting population decline and increasing per capita personal income. Under the Health and Wellness pillar, Community Based Recovery programs have been a primary focus and this grant goes a long way in making significant progress in this area. We look forward to continuing to work with the United Way and Next Step, along with the great volunteers working under the Health and Wellness pillar, to make this project successful and truly impactful for everyone in our community.”

Richard Payonk, Executive Director of the United Way of the Wabash Valley explained the project as, “a game-changer for our rural community. As we have found out through our substance use disorder work in the rural counties, services are harder to reach and creates roadblocks for those wanting help. This platform will provide an online support system by creating accountability for referrals and including the patient’s support system in the process. It is great to get so many partners working together to address these important issues in our community by developing real solutions. At the United Way we are happy to be able to work together to secure the funding and offer a place for productive collaboration.”