Even before COVID-19 arrived on America’s doorstep we were battling another health crisis — opioid use disorder. Nearly 90 percent of Community Health Centers offered behavioral health services onsite, including opioid treatment services before the massive pivot to address the pandemic began. And the grim news is that COVID may have worsened the problem of addiction by forcing people into isolation. A recent article in the American Journal of Managed Care observed that “social distancing is potentially concealing a surge of opioid abuse, and resulting morbidity and mortality, larger than any we saw before.”
For the black community, already hard hit by the virus, a holistic approach to answering this double threat was in order. In St. Louis, MO, Kanika Turner, MD, Associate Medical Director at Family Care Health Centers, swung into action with an approach that demonstrates exactly how health centers reach beyond the typical medical chart to address the factors that can worsen health outcomes.
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