Press Release

Press Release Governor Baker Highlights Role of Recovery Coaches During Visit to Beverly Hospital

Recently announced reforms invest in new recovery coaches, call for a commission to review standards
For immediate release:
1/11/2018
  • Governor Charlie Baker | Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
  • Marylou Sudders, HHS Secretary
  • Governor's Press Office

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Brendan Moss, Deputy Communications Director

Governor Baker speaking about recovery coaches at Beverly Hospital

BEVERLY — Governor Charlie Baker and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders highlighted the vital role recovery coaches can play in long-term treatment efforts for people struggling with addiction during an event at Beverly Hospital today showcasing the hospital’s emergency department recovery coach program. Governor Baker recently filed legislation to create a commission to review and make recommendations regarding the standards that should govern recovery coaches, including whether recovery coaches should be credentialed and required to register with a board.

“Recovery coaches are critically important to our efforts to strengthen the significant reforms we implemented over the last two years to fight the opioid epidemic and have proven to significantly help guide an individual’s path to treatment and recovery,” said Governor Baker. “They not only link patients to treatment, but also serve as trusted confidants through shared experiences and are an invaluable resource for helping individuals achieve long-term recovery.”

From 2011 to 2015, opioid-related emergency department visits in Massachusetts increased by 87%.  Data also shows one in 10 individuals die within two years of an opioid or heroin-related overdose after an initial, non-fatal overdose.  In November, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the second significant package to fight the opioid and heroin epidemic, including legislation titled An act relative to Combatting addiction, Accessing treatment, Reducing prescriptions and Enhancing prevention (CARE Act). Through administrative actions, the Baker-Polito Administration will invest up to $30 million annually from the state’s 1115 Medicaid waiver, starting in fiscal year 2018, to meet the needs of individuals with addictions and/or co-occurring disorders.  These funds will expand residential recovery services, increase access to medication-assisted treatment, add new recovery coaches, and implement a consistent clinical assessment tool throughout the treatment system.

“Hospital emergency departments are often the first line of defense for individuals experiencing a medical crisis related to substance use,” said Secretary Sudders.  “Our goal is for recovery coaches to be available to individuals wherever they receive care, wherever they are in the community, and wherever they are in their recovery.”

Lahey Health Behavioral Services operates the recovery coach program at Beverly Hospital, which is one of 11 recovery coach programs in emergency departments across Massachusetts and one of three funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Since September 2016,  Beverly Hospital recovery coaches have served more than 500 individuals. Among those served, opioids were the primary substance used by individuals between the ages of 18 and 34.

"Thousands of families rely on Lahey’s strong network of critically needed mental health and addiction services,” said Howard Grant, JD, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lahey Health. “We are grateful to the administration and the Department of Public Health for the funding which has allowed us to ensure that recovery coaches can help individuals who may be struggling with addiction access the services they need .” 

Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has added more than 1,100 treatment beds, including 680 adult substance use treatment beds, at different treatment levels and certified more than 162 Sober Homes accounting for an additional 2,168 beds. 

The CARE Act builds upon and expand the Commonwealth’s prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery strategies unveiled in June 2015 and the STEP Act, legislation authored by the Baker-Polito Administration in October 2015 and enacted in March 2016, which expanded treatment, created new education programs and instituted the nation’s first seven day limit on opioid prescriptions for adults.

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