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Daily News

PALMER — Baystate Wing Hospital (BWH) received a $50,000 FY 2023 legislative earmark to focus on the prevention and treatment of opioid-related substance-use disorders in the Baystate Health Eastern Region. The earmark in the FY 2023 state budget was made by state Rep. Todd Smola to support public-health-related programs and initiatives that reduce health disparities, promote community wellness, and increase access to prevention, treatment, recovery, and referrals for people with opioid and substance-use disorders in the hospital’s service area.

Opioid and substance-use disorders were identified as significant health needs in BWH’s 2022 community health needs assessment.

The BWH Opioid Task Force is focused on addressing the many individual, environmental, and societal factors facing individuals with substance-use disorders. The task force, made up of hospital team members, aims to meet the needs of the local community who seek care in the Emergency Department and other outpatient departments throughout the hospital. The team will work to increase access to prevention, treatment, recovery, and referrals for people with opioid and substance-use disorders who live in the BWH service area, which includes Belchertown, Brimfield, Brookfield, East Brookfield, Hampden, Hardwick, Holland, Ludlow, Monson, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Palmer, Wales, Ware, Warren, West Brookfield, and Wilbraham.

“I am pleased to have advocated for state resources to be used in my district to continue combating the serious issues related to opioid and substance-use abuse,” Smola said. “It is critical we have well-trained healthcare professionals and community partners to serve our region and to work with families impacted by this deadly scourge. I look forward to seeing these good works continue.”

Lauren Mansfield, Behavioral Health practice manager of Baystate Griswold Center, added that, “as the patients facing opioid-related substance-use disorders needs have grown more complex, focusing on coordination and communication across all the patient’s healthcare providers has become increasingly crucial. Our hospital Opioid Task Force and our care teams will collaborate to continue to increase access to care and resources for people with substance-use disorders; reduce or eliminate the projection of stigma focusing on the care of the person, not his or her condition; and distribute harm-reduction kits to those in need. Patients and their families will benefit from increased access to care as we work to build trust in our healthcare environment.”

Daily News

PALMER — Baystate Wing Hospital and Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp. (QVCDC) announced the funding of a new Quaboag Connector van dedicated to providing transportation to convenient-care and primary-care services for residents living in the towns currently served by the Quaboag Connector. The curb-to-curb service will provide non-emergency medical transportation, allowing patients to request rides to and from medical appointments at Baystate Wing Hospital facilities.

“We are proud to continue to partner with the QVCDC and transportation experts in our region to create solutions that address transportation barriers to healthcare for our community members served by Baystate Wing Hospital,” said Molly Gray, president and chief administrative officer of Baystate Wing Hospital. “Transportation issues are not unique to our region, but our collaborative work to find solutions to help meet these needs has led to creative and successful local solutions.”

Transportation challenges affect both rural and urban communities. According to the American Hospital Assoc., each year, 3.6 million people in the U.S. do not obtain medical care due to transportation issues.

Since 2017, Baystate Wing Hospital and medical staff have invested $210,000 in the Quaboag Connector in response to regional needs for safe and reliable transportation services in the Quaboag Hills region. This service provides community members transportation to employment, education, healthcare, workforce training, shopping, and benefit services within and outside the region. This newest addition to the connector fleet reflects Baystate Wing Hospital’s investment of $65,000 for the purchase of the Convenient Care van, and an additional $155,000 annually to cover operational costs of the new van service, all with a focus on access to healthcare in the region.

Convenient Care, an extension of Baystate Primary Care in Palmer, is dedicated to meeting the same-day urgent-care needs of community members through a collaboration with primary-care, specialty-care, and ancillary providers.

The Quaboag Connector Convenient Care van will serve the communities of Ware and Warren; additionally, services will be made available to patients living in the communities of the Quaboag region, which include Belchertown, Hardwick, Palmer, Monson, West Brookfield, Brookfield, and East Brookfield. The Quaboag Connector Convenient Care van will operate Monday through Saturday. All ride requests must to be made by calling (413) 544-3401. For more information, visit www.rideconnector.org.