Per Board of Health instruction, any recruitment for vacant staff positions must be approved by the Board during the 2019 budget year.
In December 2018, the Board authorized the Administrator to sign grant application materials for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Planning funding opportunity from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The Snohomish Health District was notified on May 13 that it was being awarded the full $200,000 for June 1, 2019, through May 31, 2020.
The body of work under this grant are extensive, and current staff do not have the capacity to take on this work. Staff request that the Board authorize filling a term-limited 1.0 FTE Healthy Communities Specialist position to complete activities and deliverables required under this grant. It’s anticipated that a new hire will result in an initial annual cost of $62,628-83,916, plus benefits, based on experience. Recruitment will begin once final Board approval is given.
The position would be funded through May 31, 2020. It is anticipated that HRSA will offer subsequent funding that the Health District can apply for to continue the work started under this Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Planning grant. Staff will bring future grant opportunities forward for Board consideration, and if approved and authorized by both the Board and HRSA, this position could be extended as long as funding is available.
All planned activities supported by this program must exclusively target populations residing in HRSA-designated rural counties or rural census tracts in urban counties and the consortium overall must be representative of rural entities. Within Snohomish County, the only two eligible census tracts are in the Darrington area, and in southeast Monroe, Sultan, Gold Bar, and Index.
The purpose of this grant is to support treatment for and prevention of substance use disorder, including opioid use disorder, in rural counties at the highest risk for substance use disorder. The overall goal is to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with opioid overdoses in high-risk rural communities by multi-sector consortiums planning to strengthen their organizational and infrastructural capacity to address one or more of the following focus areas at the community, county, state, and/or regional levels:
Prevention: reducing the occurrence of opioid use disorder among new and at-risk users, as well as fatal opioid-related overdoses, through activities such as community and provider education, and harm-reduction measures including the strategic placement and use of overdose reversing devices, such as naloxone.
Treatment: implementing or expanding access to evidence-based practices for opioid use disorder treatment, such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT) including developing strategies to eliminate or reduce treatment costs to uninsured and underinsured patients.
Recovery: expanding peer recovery and treatment options that help people start and stay in recovery. The grant will support one year of planning funding. The program is part of a multi-year opioid-focused effort by HRSA that will include: improving access to and recruitment of new substance use disorder providers; building sustainable treatment resources; increasing the use of telehealth; establishing cross-sector community partnerships; implementing new models of care, including integrated behavioral health; and providing technical assistance.