| Photo via NYC Health + Hospitals Website
NEW YORK – The NYC Test & Trace Corps (NYC T&TC) launched Feb. 9 a Buprenorphine Treatment Pathway to connect New Yorkers struggling with opioid use disorder to treatment with buprenorphine through NYC Health + Hospitals’ Virtual Buprenorphine Clinic. The initiative will expand drug treatment options offered by the Street Health Outreach + Wellness program to provide comprehensive care for patients with opioid use disorder.
The Buprenorphine Treatment Pathway builds upon the success of the Street Health Outreach + Wellness (SHOW) program, a mobile urgent care initiative that bridges gaps in access to care for the city’s most vulnerable and has engaged over 100,000 unique patients on the streets of New York City. SHOW’s dedicated teams of nurses, advanced practice providers, EMTs, and social workers provide a range of medical treatments, and social services focused on New Yorkers experiencing homelessness, including COVID testing, vaccinations, physical and mental health screenings, and harm reduction services.
Providing buprenorphine in the community offers additional care for people living with opioid use disorder, including substances such as heroin, fentanyl, and oxycodone. SHOW teams can now refer to the Virtual Buprenorphine Clinic (VBC) at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, a virtual buprenorphine assessment and prescription program.
“As a primary care doctor, I care deeply about my patients. Every time I prescribe buprenorphine to one of my patients with opioid use disorder, I know that in that moment I have had the opportunity to help them with a permanent recovery, and may have saved their life,” said Dr. Ted Long, Executive Director of the NYC Test & Trace Corps and Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Population Health at NYC Health + Hospitals. “The Buprenorphine Treatment Pathway is a critical addition to the Street Health Outreach and Wellness program, ensuring all New Yorkers can get the comprehensive care they need including for opioid use disorder, wherever they are, without exception.”
The VBC provides virtual/telephone appointments for assessment with an x-waivered medical provider, works in partnership with local pharmacies across NYC to help facilitate multi-week prescriptions for buprenorphine, and provides referrals to substance treatment programs for ongoing treatment, extending the Clinic’s impact within the community. SHOW teams will provide New Yorkers assessments in the field, hand out information about buprenorphine assisted-treatment, and connect them to the VBC.
The design of the Buprenorphine Treatment Pathway is to meet New Yorkers when and where opening the door to drug treatment options conversation by conversation. Regardless of whether someone is interested in or meets the criteria for the VBC, SHOW teams still offer other harm reduction services, including Narcan, fentanyl test strips, and connection with Safe Syringe Providers, such as New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE), for clean needles and safe injection.
SHOW mobile units are deployed to high-need areas in New York City Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM. For the most up-to-date information about mobile site locations and schedules, please visit the Street Health Outreach & Wellness Mobile Units website.
–With Jay Domingo/PDM