City Hospitals Tackle Opioid Addiction In Hard Hit Nabes


NYC Health + Hospitals today announced plans to launch a new program at four of its hospitals this fall to help patients with substance abuse disorders.

Dubbed the Consult for Addiction Treatment and Care in Hospitals (or CATCH) program, the intitiative will expand to six public hospitals in 2019.

In New York City, more than half of all emergency department visits of patients with substance abuse disorders take place in the city’s public hospitals, positioning NYC Health + Hospitals uniquely to play a key role in tackling the opioid epidemic.

The four participating hospitals to launch in 2018 are NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue and NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, in Manhattan, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, in the Bronx, and NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island, in Brooklyn.

The two added with new Healing NYC funding announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio last week are NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, in Queens, and NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull, in Brooklyn.

NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray

“This horrific epidemic has reached every corner of our City, which underscores just how critical it is that treatment and services be available where and when people need them most,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, who leads the City’s mental health and substance misuse efforts. “This new program will help get thousands more New Yorkers on the road to recovery, and free of judgment or punishment.”

The program will focus initially on inpatients, admitted to hospital medical and surgical floors, with plans to expand over time to the emergency department and outpatient clinics. While the program will address the full range of misused substances, it will place special focus on opioids. The program’s target is to reach and deliver treatment to more than 8,000 patients with opioid use disorder per year across the six hospitals.

Sen. Diane Savino

“I am thrilled that the CATCH program will soon be implemented in NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island,” said State Sen. Diane J. Savino (D-Coney Island, Sunset Park, Staten Island). “Throughout the City and State, we see individuals suffering from the opioid epidemic stemming from many root causes. Not only will this program help with vital research in regards to patient long-term care, but it will most importantly deliver treatment to countless lives who are suffering.”

Through the clinical program, CATCH teams at each hospital will engage inpatients who have substance use disorders and initiate medication for addiction treatment with those who are interested. Those patients will also be connected to ongoing care to ensure the continuation of treatment after discharge.

City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr

“As an elected representative of Central Brooklyn, I am aware of the public policy importance of finding creative ways to address the opioid abuse epidemic facing our communities,” said City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights). “As a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC), I understand how critical proactively offering help to those struggling with addiction is. The impactful approach to addressing opioid abuse through proactive intervention offered through Healing NYC is one I am glad is being introduced this year at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull. I look forward to seeing the positive impact it has in empowering more Brooklynites suffering from addiction to receive the treatment they need.”

Staff are currently being recruited to work in CATCH teams. Each team will include three members. A doctor or nurse practitioner will diagnose the substance use disorder and prescribe medication for addiction treatment as needed. An addiction counselor or social worker will help determine the appropriate setting for treatment and work with the patient on addiction-related issues. A peer advocate will connect with patients on a “lived experience” level and help them navigate their ongoing care.

An important innovation of CATCH is that the team’s work will continue post-discharge, to tightly link patients who are ready for treatment to a long-term provider. For some patients, ongoing care will be provided at NYC Health + Hospitals, while others will receive care provided by partnering clinics and community-based organizations.

City Councilman Stephen Levin
City Councilman Antonio Reynoso

“Make no mistake about it, this program will save lives,” said City Council Member Stephen Levin. “I applaud NYC Health + Hospitals on their plan to launch a Consult for Addiction Treatment and Care in Hospitals (CATCH) program. This a huge step forward in combating the opioid epidemic in New York City. Not only is the CATCH program critical in engaging patients who may be at risk for opioid addiction, it’s also critical in maintaining a relationship with the patient once they are discharged from the hospital and helps connect them to the resources they need to get treatment for addiction.”

“The NYC Health and Hospital’s CATCH program is an important step forward in addressing the substance abuse crisis in the City of New York, particularly as it relates to opioids,” said City Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “This program acknowledges that substance abuse is a public health concern that necessitates a comprehensive approach to combat it. I am also encouraged that this program will receive intensive study, ensuring that we are learning and constantly improving our approach to treating substance abuse in NYC.”