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RENTON, Wash. – Genoa Healthcare is partnering with Rhode Island Hospital and other collaborators to study the effectiveness of providing medication and care at pharmacies to people with opioid use disorder, compared to usual care pathways at specialty clinics and doctors’ offices. The three-year study is funded by a $1.6 million grant awarded to the hospital by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The novel partnership between care provider and pharmacists could mean a major expansion of treatment at a time when the opioid crisis is claiming the lives of 120 Americans every day.

“As pharmacists working in community mental health centers, we consider ourselves part of the care team — supporting providers in improving care for consumers,” said Genoa Healthcare CEO Mark Peterson. “Participating in this study with our center partners was a natural extension of the trusting relationship already in place. It gives us the opportunity to help improve medication adherence and make it easier for both providers and consumers when it comes to treatment for opioid use disorder.”

The study examines whether using pharmacists as an extension of the care team in treating opioid use disorder is as effective as traditional protocols. Today, most experts consider the combination of Food and Drug Administration-approved medications and psychosocial therapy to be the gold standard for treatment of opioid use disorder.

Genoa Healthcare pharmacists at six Rhode Island sites will dispense medications for addiction treatment such as buprenorphine and naltrexone, make dose adjustments, observe toxicology swab tests, and provide patient education. Counseling and care management will be delivered by a provider also participating in the study.

The trial will allow pharmacists trained in the foundations of substance use disorder treatment to be the one, convenient and community-located place patients go for their care and to get their medication. At the “one-stop” community pharmacy visit patients will fill their prescriptions, obtain medication management and receive follow-up care. The goal is to increase patient engagement and make maintenance therapy more convenient and accessible.

“In partnership with care providers, with this model, our pharmacists are able to provide specialized care within the neighborhoods our patients live and work at times that are convenient to them. Our expectation is that this model will improve patient access to care and lessen the stigma that clients experience in treating substance use disorder, which in turn will help them stay in therapy longer and relapse less often,” said Genoa Healthcare CEO Mark Peterson.

Genoa Healthcare is the country’s leading provider of pharmacy services for people with behavioral health issues, including medication assisted treatment for substance use disorder.

Genoa Healthcare pharmacists must complete a thorough, 13-hour training in provision of addiction care including the same one buprenorphine prescribers complete; follow the protocols and guidance of the prescriber; and provide timely updates to their prescribers on patient experiences.

The three-year study is being undertaken in collaboration with Rhode Island Hospital, the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy, the Rhode Island Department of Health, CODAC Behavioral Healthcare and other partners.

About Genoa Healthcare

Genoa Healthcare has been serving the behavioral health community for nearly 20 years, providing pharmacy services, telepsychiatry and medication management solutions. Today, Genoa Healthcare serves more than 800,000 individuals annually in 47 states and the District of Columbia, and fills more than 15 million prescriptions per year. Genoa Healthcare is the fifth largest drug chain in the U.S., with more than 450 pharmacies located within behavioral health centers. Visit www.genoahealthcare.com.

For further information, contact: Genoa Healthcare, 707 S. Grady Way, Suite 700, Renton, WA 98057; Phone: (253) 218-0830; Website: www.genoahealthcare.com.

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