New project to focus on early diagnosis and treatment of substance use disorders in Montana youth and adults
Bozeman, Mont., Oct. 24, 2016 – The Montana Healthcare Foundation (MHCF), in partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), today announced a new project to support earlier diagnosis and treatment of substance misuse in Montana youth and adults. Montana has high rates of substance use disorders, and workforce shortages make it hard for people to access treatment services in many parts of the state. The new project focuses on a practical approach that can be used by primary care practices, mental health centers, and emergency departments. Called “Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment,” or “SBIRT,” the approach helps primary care doctors and other providers identify and begin addressing risky alcohol and drug use early-on. Studies show that SBIRT can be a cost-effective way to prevent more serious complications from substance abuse.
“The Hilton Foundation is pleased to partner with MHCF as part of its national Substance Use Prevention strategic initiative to improve the health and well-being of young people,” said Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Senior Program Officer Alexa Eggleston. “Our hope is that improving access to screening and early intervention services for Montana youth can help providers address substance misuse and other health issues that interfere with adolescent development. MHCF’s participation in this effort will contribute valuable learning at the state and national level to improve the lives of young people.”
“This project has great potential to make a tremendous impact in the lives of Montanans who are battling substance use disorders,” said DPHHS Director Richard Opper. “It really gets to the heart of addressing this important issue by focusing even more on prevention and early detection. We know that reaching people early on can make all the difference. This is an exciting collaboration, and I look forward to this effort moving forward.”
“Substance abuse and addiction are among the most serious and costly health issues in Montana,” said MHCF CEO Dr. Aaron Wernham. “We are committed to improving access to effective prevention and treatment. By helping to ensure earlier diagnosis and treatment, we hope that this project will help reduce more serious problems down the road, and help contain the public costs of substance abuse as well.”
This collaboration will conduct an analysis of the current use of SBIRT in Montana and develop a framework for supporting more widespread deployment of this practical approach.
About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world’s disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance use, helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton’s support for the work of Catholic Sisters. In addition, following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $2 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. In 2016, the Humanitarian Prize was awarded to The Task Force for Global Health, an international, nonprofit organization that works to improve health of people most in need, primarily in developing countries. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.5 billion in grants, distributing $107 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2015. The Foundation’s current assets are approximately $2.5 billion. For more information, please visit www.hiltonfoundation.org.
About the Department of Public Health and Human Services
The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) strives to improve and protect the health, well-being, and self-reliance of all Montanans. Through various public health programs, DPHHS monitors and responds to disease outbreaks, works with businesses to ensure food safety, assures clean indoor air and safe drinking water, and provides community programs to support healthy living. Agency human service programs help children, families, seniors and people with disabilities. These programs ensure families in need have adequate food and health coverage, keep children and adults are safe, and help heat and weatherize homes.
About the Montana Healthcare Foundation
MHCF was created in 2013, and makes strategic investments to improve the health and healthcare of Montanans. MHCF was formed as the result of the sale of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana to a private corporation. In accordance with State law, the assets were transferred to a charitable trust to be managed for public benefit. Currently, MHCF has approximately $120 million in assets. The Foundation is a permanent resource for Montanans; and will spend the income from trust investments (estimated at roughly five percent of the total value of the trust each year) on grant disbursements and related programs and expenses, providing a stable, reliable resource supporting health for Montanans. For more information, please visit www.mthcf.org.