Healthcare systems collab to reduce WV overdose deaths during ‘epidemic within a pandemic’


WESTON, W.Va. – Two West Virginia healthcare systems specializing in drug addiction solutions are teaming up trying to reduce the overdose death rate.

Valley Healthcare System and Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital have recently collaborated, sharing each other’s addiction services.

The hospital’s Addiction Medicine Specialist provides medication management while Valley provides individual therapy services. Both use group therapy as a treatment. Recent data showed over 100,000 drug overdose deaths across the United States with West Virginia being the number one state with 70 deaths for every 100,000 people.

“The idea came because we definitely knew we had a major problem in the United States,” said Bruce Gorby, Mon Health Stonewall Jackson’s Addiction Medicine Specialist. “It’s an epidemic within a pandemic. So we decided to try to think out of the box and come up with some new ideas and see how other states are treating addiction. So, we want to treat comprehensively, holistic using all the tools available to treat addiction.”

Bruce Gorby and Gerry Schmidt (WBOY image)

“Because there are limited resources around this particular approach to treatment, oftentimes you can have gaps in services,” said Gerry Schmidt, Valley Healthcare Chief Operations Officer. “Well, by collaborating together it gives us that opportunity to share the knowledge and skills that are available to us through these two different organizations.”

“I think when we combine our resources, that we’re going to substantially reduce the deaths due to overdoses,” said Gorby. “I think we’re going to improve the quality of life of a lot of patients that are suffering from the disease of addiction, and I’ve actually been able to see it first hand, people in recovery.”

Gorby and Schmidt have been working together on this collaboration of medication-assisted treatment for several months now.

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