Jackson Care Connect supports peer recovery services
ARC’s certified recovery mentors meet clients where they are
Ben Spence recently received a text message from a colleague at Providence Medford Medical Center’s emergency department. The hospital had a patient in the lobby who had experienced several recent overdoses. This person was ready to get help but didn’t know where to go.
“The patient wasn’t sure what they needed, but they did know they were super sick and didn’t want to feel that way anymore,” Ben said. Ben is the Community Response Supervisor at Addictions Recovery Center (ARC), and he leads a team of certified recovery mentors (CRM).
One of the CRMs met the patient at the hospital and brought them to ARC’s community engagement center. After talking with the mentor and getting rest and food, the patient agreed to an assessment and started outpatient treatment that same day.
Eric Guyer, Chief Clinical Officer at Addictions Recovery Center, said “This is an example of treatment on demand, and it shows what is possible when a community that cares removes barriers to wrap around those in need.”
Certified recovery mentors are peer specialists, a type of traditional health worker certified through the Oregon Health Authority. CRMs have lived experience with substance use or mental illness, and they receive training to provide support and guidance as patients go through recovery. Jackson Care Connect now covers services members receive from peer specialists.
“The investment in peer specialists has been wildly successful and has the potential to drastically improve recovery outcomes for our community,” says Julia Jackson, Behavioral Health Director at Jackson Care Connect. “We’re proud to support the expansion of the peer specialist network and help increase access to care.”
Kim Oveson, Peer Support Supervisor at ARC, says from 2020 to spring 2023, ARC served more than 750 people and many of them had at least one interaction with a peer specialist. “Those interactions might happen inside our doors or on the (Bear Creek) Greenway or out in the community. Our recovery mentors are passionate about connecting people to care and meeting people where they are,” she says.
“We do want to be really responsive,” Ben said of the CRM team. If a patient comes to the engagement center, but isn’t quite ready for treatment, the team keeps them engaged by building a relationship and removing barriers like finding access to transportation or shelter. The long-term goal is to get patients into treatment.
“We approach it as ‘hey, let’s get to know each other until you’re ready for this,’” Ben says.