Rural Communities Opioid Response Program has made our region a national leader in substance-abuse prevention

I am writing in support of Memorial Regional Health’s Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Behavioral Health Support grant application, also known as RCORP-BHS.

The Steadman Group works closely with MRH on its current RCORP-Implementation FY19 grant. During this grant, MRH has grown their consortium from eight to 16 agencies. The Consortium, which refers to itself as the Rural Alliance Addressing Substance Use Disorder-Colorado (RAS-Col) is collectively committed to reducing the occurrence and impact of substance-use disorders in the region, and working to improve people’s behavioral and physical health.

As the principal and director of behavioral health consulting for The Steadman Group, I have seen MRH grow the region’s capacity for prevention, treatment and recovery in nearly equal parts. This is all underpinned by the strong regional approach of their four counties — they all work together in tandem toward a common goal.

This is a testament to both the people in the region as well as MRH’s deft consortium management, on which we have presented two years in a row at the HRSA Reverse Site Visit. Workgroup participants freely exchange ideas to determine how best to complete the defined grant activities; tasks are delegated and dispersed among workgroup participants to prevent individual burnout; agencies are called upon based on their respective expertise to ensure participation and buy-in; and accountability and oversight are maintained through regular reporting to the full RAS-Col consortium.

TSG has worked hand-in-hand with MRH in the execution of their current RCORP-Implementation grant activities, and can attest to their commitment to the work and to their achievements. For example, RAS-Col and The Steadman Group were able to establish a payer-of-last-resort program to address gaps in transportation by contracting with regional, licensed private transportation companies. RAS-Col and The Steadman Group were also able to revamp much needed recovery housing in the area by engaging Oxford House to establish homes in rural towns with no such resource. RAS-Col also initiated an substance-use disorder stigma reduction campaign, utilizing social media and the website to educate community members and serve as a central education and resource hub for people curious about prevention, treatment, and recovery resources. All of this was made possible through RCORP-Implementation funding.

We believe MRH and RAS-Col have done a commendable job strengthening relationships with the community and other agencies. This region, by virtue of their current grant, is recognized nationally as a leading frontier area for substance-use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery. We strongly advocate for their receipt of the RCORP-BHS grant to expand the work for underserved populations including women with children and the Hispanic community.

JK Costello

Director of Behavioral Health Consulting at The Steadman Group

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