November 20, 2019 - Adults that have experienced an opioid overdose have a new way to connect with treatment and recovery services with the launch of the Hope and Recovery Team (HART), an interdisciplinary approach that has been funded by a $1.35 million grant from the Indiana Department of Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA).

The HART team approach is simple. Parkview’s peer recovery coaches have teamed up with two Fort Wayne police officers to locate people in Fort Wayne and Allen County within 72 hours of a non-fatal overdose to help them connect with clinical services, including medication assisted treatment, and holistic recovery programs. They then work with the clients to guide them through treatment and connect them to other needed services. Coaches are also available at the Allen County Health Department’s Syringe Services Program and at The Rescue Mission.

The HART team launched in October with the cooperation of Parkview Health, The Fort Wayne Police Department, Lutheran Social Services of Indiana and the Purdue Fort Wayne Community Research Institute, with The Lutheran Foundation acting as fiscal agent. In its first month, HART members have reached 39 people, five of whom have entered treatment.

“Effective and lifesaving treatment and recovery services are available in Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana, however not enough people know how to access them,” said Marcia Haaff, CEO of The Lutheran Foundation. “HART is a new way for our community to reach these at-risk individuals using trauma-informed practices.”

HART clients can use the clinical treatment provider of their choosing. The grant does not fund clinical services.

Parkview already has peer recovery coaches who work in its hospital emergency departments and with expectant mothers with a substance use disorder. Through those two programs they have helped more than 500 patients enter treatment services.

For HART, two recovery coaches are already working with the Fort Wayne Police, with a third to be hired. Parkview has also hired a peer recovery coach to work with the Fulton County jail starting later this month and is in the process of hiring a coach to work with the Huntington Superior Court.

“Individuals with substance use disorder may not know where to turn for help. Peer recovery coaches not only help guide individuals through treatment, but they also remind them they are not alone. That connection is invaluable in the recovery process,” said Connie Kerrigan, director of community outreach, Parkview Behavioral Health. “We are proud to partner with The Lutheran Foundation and others in the community to help more people get the treatment they need.”

Parkview’s Mirro Center for Research and Innovation is acting as the program evaluator, collecting outcomes data and conducting the analysis.

Lutheran Social Services has hired two recovery care coordinators and a master’s-level supervisor experienced in working with people with substance use disorder. This team will offer wraparound services and case management to those who have successfully engaged with clinical treatment services. Clients will also be eligible to participate in LSSI Works, Lutheran Social Services job training program to assist in finding sustainable, long-term employment.

Additionally, Lutheran Social Services has clinical therapeutic services for families who have someone experiencing substance use disorder tied to opioids or other illicit substances. Individual clinical services, billed to insurance, are available now. Group family therapeutic cohorts begin in January, with grant funds providing these services to qualifying families. 

“The comprehensive approach of HART is truly innovative for our community, and LSSI is honored to be a part of this work to support people in their holistic recovery and find healing for families affected by substance use,” said Angela Moellering, LSSI president and CEO. “We believe collaboration is essential to create significant community impact.”

CRI is providing project management and grant administration services for the grant period, which runs through September 2020.

With a strategic commitment to mental health in a 10-county region, TLF convened an interdisciplinary team of leaders – the Fort Wayne Allen County Task Force for Opioid Strategic Planning (FATOS) – to address the opioid crisis since 2017. It released a community assessment report in May 2018 about the misuse of opioids in Allen County that provided the framework for this grant application.

“Opioids continue to present a real risk to the health and wellbeing of our community,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “The work of Fort Wayne Police Department officers, The Lutheran Foundation, Parkview, Lutheran Social Services, and our clinical treatment providers truly offers hope and recovery to individuals and families. Thank you to the state of Indiana for funding this innovative program, which I know will save lives and transform the future of our great city.”