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Rural Health Information Hub

Palo Alto County Hospital

  • Project Title: Palo Alto County Health System Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
  • Grant Period: RCORP-MAT Grantee (09/2019 – 08/2022)
  • Program Representative Interviewed: Jared Ball, Director of Behavioral Health Services
  • Location: Northwest Iowa
  • Program Overview: The Palo Alto County Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) within the Palo Alto County Health System, provides medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services to rural residents of northwest Iowa. This CAH partnered with other local CAHs to develop the Northwest Iowa Rural MAT program with the goal of increasing access to treatment options for opioid use disorder (OUD).

    The program provides outpatient MAT and behavioral health services, reaching patients through both telehealth and in-person care. The program has a team of 12 providers who deliver clinical and social services to MAT patients. Patients can be referred by nurses who are trained to use validated screening tools, including Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), to assess risk of substance use disorder during the intake process. MAT patients may also be initiated through emergency department admissions involving substance use.

    There are two providers with a DATA 2000 waiver who can prescribe medication as needed and connect patients with substance use disorder counselors. The counselors determine if the patient would benefit from an intensive outpatient program or the program's standard outpatient program. The program also helps connect patients with inpatient services through other programs, if needed. By providing comprehensive services, the program uses a “whole patient” approach to care.

    The program advertises through social media and the program website, which includes a self-referral form for individuals interested in receiving treatment services. There are plans to advertise in a local health magazine.

Models represented by this program: