Colorado adds Western Slope route to opioid use disorder mobile health services program
DENVER (Oct. 29, 2020) — The Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) added a new Western Slope route to our mobile health services program that provides opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment to rural and frontier communities.
OBH’s mobile health services program dispatches mobile health units — six Winnebago recreational vehicles transformed into health clinics and one SUV — to areas with high opioid overdose rates and scarce treatment options. The Western Slope mobile unit, an RV, is based in Grand Junction and began service on Oct. 26. The unit will visit the towns of Delta, Montrose and Rifle and Eagle County.
“We are seeing great success with the mobile health unit program and are thrilled to grow our footprint on the Western Slope,” said Robert Werthwein, director of OBH. “In less than a year of service, the units have already helped more than 400 Coloradans start their recovery journey.”
The units are staffed by a licensed practical nurse, a licensed or certified addictions counselor and a peer recovery coach. The teams specialize in medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which pairs anti-craving medications and therapy to treat OUD.
When aboard the unit, patients receive a brief screening, a prescription for MAT if needed and referrals to additional services. Patients may also safely dispose of needles and syringes on some units.
OBH launched the project with $6.7 million in federal funds and will dedicate $3.2 million from a new State Opioid Response grant that began Sept. 30 to expand and maintain the program over the next two years. The project is overseen by Managed Service Organizations AspenPointe, Signal Behavioral Health Network and West Slope Casa. Front Range Clinic operates the Western Slope unit, as well as units in Northeast, Northwest and Southeast Colorado and the Central Mountains. San Luis Behavioral Health Group and Jefferson Center for Mental Health operate the additional units. Route information is available at mobiletreatmentco.org.
Including the new route, the mobile health units serve the following 31 counties. Routes may change depending on community needs.
- Clear Creek
- Kit Carson
- Las Animas
- Rio Grande
Lindsay Sandoval, Media Manager