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Road to recovery

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A local addiction recovery program recently received a sizable boost — to the tune of $550,000 total in grant funding — to help in its efforts to reach those seeking the road to recovery. 

According to a pair of news releases from Citizens Memorial Hospital, the CMH Addiction Recovery Program, led by Dr. Kurt Bravata and Kelly Watson, FNP-BC, was recently awarded two grants.

The program’s director Christina Bravata said leaders will use one $500,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to help reduce the occurence of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in the community over the next three years. 

“This offers treatment and services to pregnant women, women of child-bearing age and mothers who are struggling with substance use disorder or at risk for relapse,” she said. 

She said funds will also support family members who are raising children impacted by substance abuse, such as grandparents raising grandchildren. 

“The consortium for this grant program includes House of Hope, Alpha House and the 30th Children's Circuit,” Bravata said. “Essentially, women will have access to treatment, support and resources despite which consortium member is their ‘point of entry.’”

The second grant — a one-year $50,000 reentry grant from the Missouri Department of Corrections — will offer Medication Assisted Treatment to individuals in probation and parole who may be struggling with substance use disorder, she said. 

Bravata said addiction, including substance use disorder, is a nationwide epidemic seen in every community. 

“I don't believe there is a family out there who has not been impacted by addiction in one form or another,” she said. “One of the greatest deterrents to receiving help is the stigma that surrounds addiction. If we can't talk about it, we can't solve the problem.” 

CMH’s Addiction Recovery Program, Bravata said, aims to reduce that stigma by meeting patients where they're at and starting a non-judgmental conversation about how the program can help them overcome addiction and lead a healthy life. 

Simply put, “a healthy person leads to a healthy family which leads to a healthy community,” she said.

To help them get healthy, the program provides patients with a combination of medical treatment and psycho/social support, helping them to live completely free of substance dependence or addiction, Bravata said. 

The program began in Bolivar in January 2018 with 15 patients. Today, it serves 160 to 175 people throughout Polk County and the surrounding region each month, she said.

While there’s a clinic at CMH in Bolivar, Bravata said Watson also travels outside the Polk County area to serve patients where they are located. This includes time at the Ozarks Community Health Center clinic in Hermitage and at CMH clinics in El Dorado Springs and Greenfield. 

CMH’s addiction recovery program has also collaborated with and received support from the Bolivar Police Department, Department of Corrections, Polk County Cares, Bolivar Public Schools and First Baptist Church of Bolivar, she said.

“Individuals that may be struggling with a dependence or addiction to alcohol, opioids or other substances are welcome to call and make an appointment to see one of our providers,” Bravata said.  

In fact, she said it’s not necessary for people to be completely sober to be seen or start treatment. 

“The first step is talking to our team,” she said. “From there, we work with individuals to create a game plan and offer the support needed to see it through.”

Patients can schedule an appointment for themselves or be referred by another provider.

Bravata said the program can only base its success upon program retention. 

“The longer patients stay in the program, the greater their chance for long term sobriety with a lesser chance of relapse,” she said. 

The program’s current retention rate, Bravata said, is around 75% with patients staying in the program over six months. 

More about the grants and program

CMH’s addiction recovery program was one of 30 recipients in the U.S. and the only Missouri organization to be awarded the $500,000 HRSA grant, a news release said.   

“Created in 1982, HRSA is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is focused on improving health care to people that are geographically isolated and economically or medically vulnerable,” the release said. 

The HSRA grant is part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program that will be used to reduce neonatal abstinence syndrome rates with prenatal addiction treatment services, the release said. Additional support services including peer support and counseling are also available.  

The $50,000 Missouri Department of Corrections reentry grant, running from July 2020 to June 30, 2021, covers all substance use disorders treatment costs for those in probation and parole across southwest and central Missouri and includes office visits, lab costs, medication costs and counseling for uninsured individuals in probation and parole, a release said. 

“The CMH Addiction Recovery Program assists in opiate and alcohol recovery by offering a highly specialized substance abuse outpatient treatment program, which is designed to lead patients to physical and psychosocial wellness,” the releases said. “Services include medicated-assisted treatment, individual counseling, behavioral therapies and community or church-based spiritual support.”

Dr. Kurt Bravata is a family medicine and addiction specialist with CMH and is board certified by the American Board of Preventative Medicine in the subspecialty of addiction medicine and is a fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the releases said. He is also board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.

Watson is a board certified family nurse practitioner with more than 30 years of experience, according to the releases. She has a background in traditional and alternative pain management protocols and is trained in intervention, treatment and management of substance use disorders.

The CMH Addiction Recovery Program is located at CMH Southside Medical Center — Behavioral Health at 1120 S. Springfield Ave., Bolivar. Outreach services are at El Dorado Springs Medical Center, 322 E. Hospital Road, El Dorado Springs.

For more information about the program, visit citizensmemorial.com/services/addiction-recovery. To make an appointment, call 326-7840.

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