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In 2019 the Richmond City Health District (RCHD) launched a new partnership and program with Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) called "First Responders for Recovery" to combat opioid abuse and help patients connect to recovery resources. The RCHD's Peer Recovery Specialist trains RAA's trains RAA Paramedics and EMTs on different methods they can use to encourage patients to sign a "First Responders for Recovery" release form. Within 48 hours RCHD’s Peer Recovery Specialist contacts the patient to try and get them into a recovery center.
The mission of the Richmond City Health District is to promote healthy living, protect the environment, prevent disease and prepare the city for disasters.
Date of Implementation: May 2019
Number and Demographics of Patients
Since launching RAA has obtained 228 signatures from patients interested in being contacted by RCHD's Peer Recovery Specialist as part of the program. The average age of the patients is 44.2. The minimum age is 23 with the maximum age being 86.
Outcomes / Utilization
While the goal of the program has been to provide better options for patients with opioid addiction and get those patients connected to recovery resources, the amount of man hours saved by potentially preventing repeat calls for the same patient suffering an overdose is an extremely valuable asset for RAA's EMS system. By potentially lowering the number of repeat calls for an overdose, RAA's first responders are available for other emergent calls.