Public Release: 

Emergency department achieves level 3 certification

Part of statewide effort to address opioid epidemic

Care New England

In response to Governor Gina Raimondo's Executive Order to establish a statewide task force to address the opioid epidemic, Women & Infants' Emergency Department partnered with other Care New England facilities and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) to ensure the needs of this specialized patient population are met.

At the Governor's Task Force Meeting this morning, RIDOH and the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH) presented Women & Infants with its Level 3 Certification as part of the Levels of Care for Rhode Island Emergency Departments and Hospitals for Treating Overdose and Opioid Use Disorder.

"Many have patients, friends, family, and even colleagues who have been personally affected by addiction and opioid use disorder. While accidental drug overdose has been a growing problem across the nation, Rhode Island has been one of the most severely impacted states in recent years," said Roxanne Vrees, MD, medical director of emergency obstetrics and gynecology at Women & Infants Hospital and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. "With this designation, our team hopes to continue to do our part in ending the opioid epidemic and working to make a positive impact on the lives of so many who would otherwise be lost."

Women & Infants' plan has four fundamental areas focusing on treatment, overdose rescue, prevention, and recovery. The team developed organizational policies, clinical protocols, and institutional infrastructure to ensure that patients are managed appropriately.

This designation formalizes the hospital's commitment to this health care problem and requires that the hospital maintain standard protocols, capacity, and commitment to the following:

  • Follow the discharge planning standards as stated in current law.

  • Administer standardized substance use disorder screening for all patients.

  • Educate all patients who are prescribed opioids on safe storage and disposal.

  • Dispense naloxone for patients who are at risk, according to a clear protocol.

  • Offer peer recovery support services in the Emergency Department.

  • Provide active referral to appropriate community provider(s).

  • Comply with requirement to report overdoses within 48 hours to RIDOH.

  • Perform laboratory drug screening that includes fentanyl on patients who overdose.

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