Dr. Persily is the CEO of Highland Hospital in Charleston, WV
Everyone is talking about addiction these days. From the President, to our US Senators, to our state legislators and local government, everyone has a plan. At the Highland companies in Charleston, we’ve been talking about addiction for 60 years, and providing services to help those who are addicted and their families to live healthy lives. This year, the Governor of West Virginia made it a priority to make sure that the citizens of our state knew where to get help if they were experiencing addiction or other mental health issues. The Help4WV hotline was launched a mere three months ago, and according to an article today in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, they have taken over 1100 calls in those short months.
HELP4WV is a collaborative effort between First Choice Health Systems, a West Virginia-based company that runs programs like the 1-800-GAMBLER help line and the health insurance assistance line 1-844-WVCARES, and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. Highland Hospital Association is proud to be an investor in First Choice Health Systems. Members of our staff serve on their boards and provide advice regarding new programs. This program is one that is essential—connecting folks in need to care that is already available.
The help line is funded by a $550,000 annual grant from the West Virginia Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities. It offers substance abuse and mental health treatment referrals, appointment reminders, directions to treatment facilities and transportation assistance. It also provides follow-up calls after the first treatment appointment, the first month and the first three months of treatment. This is a small price to pay for the potential of an enormous payoff in terms of better health outcomes for those battling addiction.
We are proud of the fact that we’ve been supportive to First Choice Health Systems in their development of this program and others. We are even more proud though to be on the other end of those calls that the help line puts through directly to providers who can offer needed care. Our Highland Health Center, Inc. staff members talk directly with callers who need detox services connected with us by the hotline, and we get those who are ready in for treatment. We take crisis calls to our hospital, and for those who outpatient care is appropriate, a handoff of those callers is accomplished by the hotline staff, and we make them appointments on the spot for care.
The Help4WV hotline is a perfect example of the power of partnerships between government, health care providers, and private industry in solving complex health problems–an elegantly simple solution to matching those in need to health care services that are already available at over 900 sites in our state.
Call the Help4WV hotline at 1-844-HELP4WV or 1-844-435-7498.
Call Your Detox Place – The Highland Health Center at 304-926-1669.