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Clinic to aid uninsured women with substance use disorders

Feb. 14, 2019, 9:46 AM


by Kelsey Herbers

Vanderbilt’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-GYN) was recently awarded a $200,000 grant by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) to provide increased access to medication-assisted treatment for uninsured women with substance use disorders.

Between now and June 30, Vanderbilt will have the capacity to care for new uninsured patients through its Drug Dependency Clinic, which provides antepartum and postpartum care, well-woman care, psychiatry services, social work and group therapy for women with substance use disorders.

The clinic currently has two locations — One Hundred Oaks in Nashville, which opened in 2011, and at NorthCrest Medical Center in Springfield, Tennessee, which opened in 2016.

Jessica Young, MD, MPH

Funds from the grant will cover the cost of visits, medications, group counseling and lab testing, among other services. The clinic hopes to assist women who are pregnant, postpartum, parenting or who may plan to become pregnant soon.

According to Jessica Young, MD, MPH, associate professor of OB-GYN, women in this population are often uninsured until they become pregnant, leaving them without care leading up to or in between pregnancies. For women who present to the clinic and are already pregnant, the goal is to help them have the healthiest pregnancy possible.

“The opioid epidemic in Tennessee continues to grow and impact the health of all people, but particularly women of reproductive age,” said Young, who has led the Drug Dependency Clinic since it opened at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks. “Increasing access to care for opioid use disorder has an effect on a woman’s overall health. By getting these patients into medication treatment, we’ll be able to decrease the complications associated with opioid use disorder, such as infections.”

“Women’s Health is grateful to have Dr. Young and others on our team who provide excellent care for this vulnerable population,” added Ronald Alvarez, MD, chair of the Department of OB-GYN.

Patients can be referred to the program through the TDMHSAS or by other referring physicians, including through the Emergency Department.

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