St. Luke's Miners Awarded $200,000 Grant to Fight Rural Opioid Crisis

St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Miners Campus has been awarded $200,000 by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to create a Rural Communities Opioid Response Plan.

St. Luke’s Department of Community Health & Preventive Medicine will lead a consortium of school districts and other community organizations in the development of the plan, which will address gaps in prevention, treatment and training for opioid abuse in the Coaldale area, a federally designated medically underserved rural area, and in the surrounding region, which has been severely affected by the opioid crisis.

“Stigma, transportation and cost of treatment prevent many people from accessing treatment and working toward recovery,” said Gregory Dobash, MD, of St. Luke's Ashland Family Practice, who is the site director of the Rural Training Track of St. Luke’s Family Medicine Residency Program. “Proper planning can help our community overcome these obstacles and curb the swelling rate of opioid use disorder.”

St. Luke’s involvement in this project is part of its Community Health & Preventive Medicine program’s broader mission to increase health awareness, encourage appropriate access to health services and improve the health status of the community.

Among St. Luke’s Miners Campus’s partners on the project are the Panther Valley and Tamaqua Area school districts; Child Development, Inc. (Tamaqua Head Start program); PathStone Corporation (Coaldale Head Start program), and Schuylkill County’s VISION.

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About St. Luke’s

Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 14,000 employees providing services at 10 hospitals and more than 300 outpatient sites.  With annual net revenue greater than $2 billion, the Network’s service area includes 10 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey.  Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania.  In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first and only regional medical school campus.  It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 28 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 226 residents and fellows.  St. Luke’s is the only health care system in central-eastern Pennsylvania to earn Medicare’s five-star rating (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction.  St. Luke’s has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health (formerly Truven Health Analytics) repeatedly – six times total and four years in a row including 2018.  It has also been cited by IBM Watson Health as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Program.  Utilizing the EPIC electronic medical record (EMR) system for both inpatient and outpatient services, the Network is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of the SLUHN’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information.  St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers.