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 Addiction treatment program partners Upstate with St. Camillus

Through a $2.1 million grant, Upstate University Hospital has partnered with The Centers at St. Camillus and others to create a new treatment program for those suffering from illness and addiction that is helping people recover and freeing up hundreds of beds per year.

The Collaborations for Health Program involves Upstate and St. Camillus with support from CNY Services and ACR Health. It has been operating since April. The program was created to help an increasing number of intravenous drug users who are admitted to Upstate with life-threatening infections. They require

IV antibiotics for up to six weeks at a time, says nurse Kelly Mussi, assistant director of transitional care at Upstate. “After about three weeks, they aren‘t critically ill, and they are pretty bored,” she says.

Mussi and others identified that time as an opportunity to help patients address their addiction and begin treatments to aid recovery. If patients agree to participate, once they are stabilized on antibiotics, they transfer to St. Camillus, where five beds are dedicated to the program.

St. Camillus employs full-time addiction treatment staff from CNY Services and social workers from ACR Health who help patients secure safe housing and clothing and help maintain a treatment plan after discharge. Patients receive daily counseling sessions about substance abuse and addiction.

Sixteen patients joined the program during its first six months, and 14 were discharged during that time. Of those, 11 remain engaged with addiction treatment.

Upstate Health magazine cover, winter 2019 issueThis article appears in the winter 2019 issue of Upstate Health magazine.