February 14, 2017

Sen. Brown visits St. Vincent Charity Medical Center to learn about work to combat opioid epidemic

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown visited St. Vincent Charity Medical Center February 6 to learn more about the hospital`s approach to treating opioid addiction. He hosted a roundtable with addiction treatment medical professionals and met with patients from Rosary Hall. Brown’s office issued the following press release on February 6 about his visit:

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today visited the St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland to learn more about the medical center’s approach to treating patients struggling with opioid addiction. Brown hosted a roundtable with St. Vincent doctors and medical professionals who specialize in addiction treatment and met with individuals benefitting from the hospital’s recovery services.

“As Ohio communities continue their efforts to combat the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic our state faces, I am encouraged by the work of organizations like St. Vincent,” said Brown. “The doctors and medical professionals I met with are willing to go beyond the call of duty to get their patients the help they need. My colleagues in Congress and I have a responsibility to make sure treatment providers have the resources to continue to deliver the highest quality of care.”

St. Vincent Charity is the only medical facility in northeast Ohio with an emergency department open 24 hours a day and seven days a week specifically for individuals struggling with addiction or psychiatric emergencies. The hospital hopes to open residential treatment centers on campus so that patients are able to transition directly to a residential treatment environment immediately after they are discharged from the emergency department. St. Vincent Charity is also partnering with Cleveland State University to create a multi-institutional Center for Behavioral Health Sciences for the development of new treatments, technologies and strategies to effectively address the longer term challenges of addiction and mental health.

Brown has worked to combat the scourge of opioid use in Ohio. Last Congress, Brown introduced legislation that would help address the opioid epidemic from prevention to recovery, filling in gaps that would help: boost prevention, improve tools for crisis response for those who fall through the cracks, expand access to treatment, and provide support for lifelong recovery. Brown supported the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), signed into law last year, which included his provision to combat drug abuse within Medicare by locking those with a history of addiction into one prescriber and one pharmacy to help mitigate the risk of prescribing opioids to at-risk patients. He has also worked to expand use of MAT, which was expanded under CARA, and cosponsored The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment (TREAT) Act to further expand access to this form of treatment.

Brown has warned that repealing the Affordable Care Act would kick thousands of Ohioans off of addiction treatment and cut billions of dollars from communities working to combat the opioid epidemic nationwide. In January, Brown cosponsored several amendments to the budget reconciliation package - the vehicle Congress will use to repeal the Affordable Care Act - aimed at protecting the mental health and addiction services made possible through the law. He cosponsored an amendment to prevent the Senate from considering legislation that would hinder efforts to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic by reducing access to substance use treatment covered under the Affordable Care Act. He also cosponsored an amendment to prevent legislation that would reduce access to substance use disorder treatment and worsen the opioid epidemic. Last week, Brown led 22 of his Senate colleagues in a letter to President Trump urging the president to uphold his pledge to end the opioid epidemic and explaining how repeal of the Affordable Care Act would cut off access to important resources for treatment providers throughout the country.

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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