GNYHA participated in a recent policy forum on substance use disorders and the opioid epidemic. The forum, which was hosted by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and the Rockefeller Institute of Government, addressed prevention, treatment, and recovery strategies, and coordination among government, law enforcement, health care providers, peers and recovery supports, and education sectors.

In opening remarks, New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul described the State’s commitment to providing the necessary resources to end the epidemic. She also shared her family’s personal experience with the opioid epidemic, in which her nephew died from a fatal overdose.

Member hospitals, with GNYHA support, have many initiatives underway that address New York State’s overall strategy to end the opioid epidemic, including the New York State Department of Health’s (DOH) certified Opioid Overdose Prevention programs, which provide prevention education, harm reduction information and strategies, and training on administering live-saving naloxone overdose reversal medication; inpatient and outpatient medically managed and medically supervised withdrawal services; inpatient substance use disorder rehabilitation services; and initiation of evidence-based medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and MAT maintenance, including methadone maintenance treatment and the full continuum of outpatient services. GNYHA and its members have long coordinated with law enforcement, the judicial system, and public health agencies to reduce addiction’s adverse consequences.

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) General Counsel Robert Kent, Chair of the Senate Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee Senator Peter Harckham, Suffolk County Drug and Mental Health Court District Court Judge Derrick Robinson, Suffolk County Department of Health Services’ Gregson Pigott, and Suffolk County Police Department Chief of Department Stuart Cameron also spoke.

GNYHA worked with the Executive Chamber, DOH, and OASAS to convene Long Island hospitals in January for a project to increase and standardize access and initiation of MAT in emergency departments. GNYHA’s ED MAT Quality Collaborative will initially focus on Long Island and its prevalence of fatal opioid overdoses, with the goal of reducing them to zero. GNYHA’s rapid-cycle quality improvement Collaborative will share lessons and practices learned and will support expansion and implementation across the membership.