News release by Franciscan Health:

CROWN POINT, Indiana – Franciscan Health Crown Point has been awarded the inaugural Peregrine Award for Trauma Innovation by Peregrine Health Services, LLC for its efforts to improve the treatment of patients with substance use disorders.

A panel of independent judges selected Franciscan Health Crown Point’s innovative project from a group of 10 finalists, with the application receiving the highest total score in its category.

Franciscan Health Crown Point sought to improve its screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) process, an approach to identifying and assisting patients with substance use disorders. The hospital subsequently received grant funding to develop a substance use disorder program for the emergency department and inpatient population, educate healthcare providers and develop community prevention plans and education.

The grant allowed for the hiring of a peer recovery coach and a substance use disorder licensed social worker.

“A lot of hospitals are treating and releasing patients with substance use disorder,” said Franciscan Health Crown Point Manager of Trauma and Injury Prevention Jennifer Homan, RN MSN CPSTI. “They provide resources but don’t take the extra steps to arrange treatment, with the thought being that patients have to engage that on their own. We wanted to change that.”

The trauma services team surveyed inpatient nurses to gauge their knowledge of substance use disorders and learned more education was needed.

“It’s considered more in the behavioral health realm,” Homan said. “We needed to get people comfortable with engaging with treatment conversations.”

Homan said Franciscan Health Crown Point now takes a comprehensive approach to treatment that supports the healthcare ministry’s values of respect for life, compassionate concern and Christian stewardship.

“What we’re doing here is a prime example of patient-centered care of body, mind and spirit,” she said. “People in substance use-related car crashes, oftentimes those people have had trauma from a psychological perspective in the past.”

The grant also allows the hospital to lead educational sessions for the substance use community, the majority of which are offered free of charge. Franciscan Health Crown Point works with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and the Lake County Jail on educational programs and issues related to substance use disorder in the Region.

Lake County Jail Mental Health Director Dr. William Mescall, PsyD, HSPP, CCHP, said a 2022 random sample of 370 inmates found 30% had substance use disorder, noting the figure was likely significantly higher.

Mescall said there is a 55% recidivism rate within one year for inmates with substance use disorder.

“What Lake County residents need to understand is that they are going to foot the bill for these struggling citizens one way or another,” Mescall said in his “Lake County Jail Behavioral Health Summary 2022” report. “That is, they can either pay to rehabilitate these individuals and help them live in the society, or they’re going to pay to keep them locked up and out of society (in the county jail). National data suggest that rehabilitating people is a much more cost-efficient approach to working with individuals with these conditions.”

Franciscan Health Crown Point President and CEO Daniel McCormick, MD, praised the hospital’s trauma services team for the award.

“The Franciscan Health Crown Point trauma services team’s work to improve the SBIRT process demonstrates the impact our trauma program has on the entire community,” McCormick said. “Its outreach beyond the emergency room is extensive and something the community should be very proud to call its own. The team’s dedication to our Franciscan mission is truly life-changing. The Peregrine Award is well deserved.”

Homan said she’s proud of the progress made in helping to rehabilitate patients with substance use disorders at Franciscan Health Crown Point.

“It’s the most eye-opening and rewarding work of my life,” she said.