New clinic to help bridge drug abuse patients to recovery

Posted at 4:42 PM, May 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-15 22:36:25-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Vanderbilt University Medical Center is launching a new clinic that hopes to bridge patients admitted for drug abuse to outpatient care services.

The Bridge Clinic will be located at the Village at Vanderbilt, and is scheduled to start on Friday.

The transitional outpatient clinic is meant to help people with significant substance abuse disorder in the hospital for up to three months.

"We really want to cast a wide net for patients who traditionally would have left the hospital without an outpatient care plan or have been stuck at the hospital longer than they really need to because of complications from their addiction issues," Bridge Clinic Medical Director Dr. David Marcovitz said. "We'll be targeting patients who have either come in seeking opioid detoxification or who just had an overdose and is open to treatment."

There is a dedicated social worker that will work with physicians to assess patients and determine who can be eligible. The option is made known to patients but it is encouraged, not required.

"Health care providers can influence by creating open access and having a less stigmatized attitude and less judgmental attitude," Marcovitz added.

To help transition from inpatient to outpatient care, patients will be prescribed a three-day prescription for a medically-assisted treatment. The clinic will combine medical and behavioral treatment services including recovery coaching and nurse case management.

Once everything is completely underway, the clinic could have 50 to 100 patients at any given time or three new patients every hour.

Jason Ferrell, a licensed clinical social worker for the hospital, is excited to be a part of the team. About 30 to 40 percent of the patients he sees have substance abuse disorders, in many cases with infections from using an IV.

He will help with screening patients.

"We determine what type of substance use disorder, the level of motivation to engage in that level of care," Ferrell told NewsChannel 5. "Motivation is a big factor."

The hospital made a commitment for the three-month period to supporting the cost of medications and visits for uninsured patients who have opioid addiction.