Addiction Recovery Mobile Outreach Team (ARMOT)
- Need: To reduce the number of overdoses and overdose-related deaths from opioids in rural Pennsylvania.
- Intervention: ARMOT provides 1) case management and recovery support services to individuals with substance use disorders and 2) education and support to rural hospital staff, patients, and their loved ones.
- Results: In the first 5 years of the program, ARMOT received over 1,950 referrals.
According to the
CDC, 4,415 Pennsylvanians died from drug overdoses in
2018, a rate of 36.1 deaths per 100,000 people.
In addition to overdoses, some patients
were going to the hospital looking for comfort
medications, while others seeking detox or treatment
didn't know where to go. The rural counties of Armstrong,
Indiana, and Clarion developed a program that would
provide these patients with treatment and support whether
they entered a hospital or a treatment facility.
The Addiction Recovery Mobile Outreach Team (ARMOT) is a
- Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission
- Armstrong Center for Medicine & Health
- Clarion Hospital
- Indiana Regional Medical Center
ARMOT provides case management and recovery support
services to adults and adolescents with substance use
disorders. Program staff encourage patients to involve
their families in the recovery process so that ARMOT
staff can educate families on the types of support their
loved ones will need at home.
This video highlights ARMOT's impact in its first 18
months through its case management and support services:
ARMOT is funded by a
2015-2018 Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP)
Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant and
received a 2019-2022 grant of the same name.
- Screen patients to determine type of substance use
- Ask patients if they would like to be referred to the
- Refer patients to ARMOT if
patients give verbal consent
The Mobile Case Manager (MCM):
- Meets with patients at their bedside
- Screens and assesses patients to determine type of
- Discusses treatment options with patients and
completes referral to treatment
- Coordinates with treatment agency to determine pickup
time for patients
- Connects patients to community resources
- Educates hospital staff on
substance use disorders and the recovery process
The peer Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS):
- Can share lived experience and knowledge of substance
use disorder and the recovery process
- Can meet first with patients on request
- Educates patients' families on the recovery process
- Connects patients to community support, such as
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
- Attends first AA/NA and other support group meetings
In addition, through ARMOT, two hospitals now distribute
naloxone to overdose survivors and their families.
The ARMOT program received over 1,950 referrals between
September 2015 and November 2020. ARMOT staff have
screened 75% of the patients who were referred to the
program and completed a Level of Care Assessment with 62%
of these screened patients. Of the patients assessed by
ARMOT staff, 87% went to treatment. However, of the
patients referred to ARMOT, 12% were discharged prior to
meeting with ARMOT staff and 10% of patients declined to
meet with ARMOT staff.
ARMOT is also featured in RHIhub's
Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders
Toolkit Program Clearinghouse.
You can read more about ARMOT in the Rural
Monitor article Pennsylvania
Mobile Team Addresses Substance Use Disorders.
Because of hospital staff turnover, educating line staff
is an ongoing process. There's also the challenge of
being a mobile unit working among three hospitals,
especially in scheduling adequate coverage and
transporting records. Currently, an ARMOT staff member is
present in the hospital from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Patients entering the hospital at night might not be
willing to wait until 8:00 a.m. the next day to speak
with an ARMOT employee.
To address this barrier, two additional staff were added
to the ARMOT program. These staff members work in the
hospitals Monday through Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00
p.m. and from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the weekends.
Adding the evening/weekend staff has really helped with
better patient engagement and the number of patients who
are discharged prior to meeting with ARMOT staff has
HIPAA regulations can make sharing patient information a
challenge as well. Hospitals invited ARMOT staff to new
employee orientations so that they could become familiar
with confidentiality policies. ARMOT staff are considered
sub-contracted volunteers with the three hospitals,
giving them minimal but sufficient access to each
hospital's electronic medical records.
Stigma around substance use disorders can be a barrier
when implementing a program like this. Education is
important to help understand the patient population whom
program coordinators are trying to reach. The use of peer
Certified Recovery Specialists has been vital to the
program's success, helping with both patient engagement
and education of hospital staff on addiction and
Some doctors in the three hospitals' emergency
departments were hesitant about utilizing buprenorphine
to treat withdrawal symptoms, but ARMOT has been able to
increase the number of physicians in the emergency
department willing to use buprenorphine to treat opioid
The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional barriers for
patients accessing treatment services. ARMOT had to
utilize telehealth more often when staff members were not
allowed in the hospitals. It's also been challenging to
find treatment facilities that will accept a patient
coming from a hospital and to coordinate transportation.
Management staff at AICDAC met with interested partners
at the very beginning of program implementation to
establish the need for services and collaborate on a
program that would meet identified needs. Local agency
investment is key. This program would not be possible
without FORHP funding and the support the agency receives
as the ARMOT program progresses.
Behavioral health workforce
Substance use and misuse
December 16, 2016
Date updated or reviewed
December 30, 2020
Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub,
Addiction Recovery Mobile Outreach Team (ARMOT) [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at:
[Accessed 28 November 2022]
Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information
about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The
programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural
community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s
needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep
in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.