Premier Health Responds to Opioid Crisis

Reminders of the seriousness of the opioid crisis are evident regularly in the media and, more poignantly, in our emergency rooms and other sites of service on an all too often basis.  This national – and local – crisis is one that is taking an increasing number of lives and impacts the entire community.

As you know, our mission is to build healthier communities and we have been a leading provider of service to help our community members who face this devastating disease.  Through the work at each of our hospitals, through Samaritan Behavioral Health, and through significant community collaborations, we have been at the forefront of what is nothing less than a growing battle.  We want to recognize and thank all of you who are involved with patients and their families for your commitment, compassion and respect for each person who comes under your care. 

While we have been very involved in this issue for many years, the escalation of the opioid crisis requires even more focus by us and the entire community.  We have recently formed the Premier Health Overdose Response Committee. I am pleased to be co-chairing this committee with Tom Parker, our patient experience officer. Sue McGatha, president and chief executive officer at Samaritan Behavioral Health, and Shaun Hamilton, director of community health benefits, will help coordinate our efforts.  

The charter of the committee includes the following goals: 

  • Stop/reduce the number of opioid related deaths
  • Comprehensively and compassionately treat affected patients and families
  • Institute internal and external opioid addiction preventive measures that support our patients, employees, physicians, community members and workforce

 The committee structure is designed to be collaborative with our community partners, including the Montgomery County Community Overdose Action Team (COAT), of which I am a member, along with Premier subject matter experts.  We are also actively involved with other collaboratives across our service area, including the Miami County Heroin Coalition, the Warren County Opiate Task Force, the Middletown Heroin Summit, the Preble County Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership, and the Coalition for a Healthy Darke County, all working on this crisis.   

We know that no one individual, agency, or organization can take on this fight alone and we know that there are no easy answers.   We will all need to work together now and into the future to beat this insidious disease to make our community a healthier place to live, work and play.  We do want you to know that we are committed to actively working to make a positive difference and thank you for your support in these efforts.

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