Tri-County Health Care was awarded $39,213 through the Minnesota Rural Hospital Planning and Transition Grant Program to implement a case management program for opioid patients. Known as the Opioid Management Program, this project will address opioid use for chronic non-cancer pain management and develop consistent standards of practice for opioid management for Tri-County's patients.

During the 12-month grant cycle, Tri-County will create a system-wide, standardized opioid management process and implement tools to assist patients in reducing opioid use. Tri-County will also establish a dedicated registered nurse case manager for patients. The case manager will meet with patients to develop an individualized plan of care that meets evidence-based practices, using the support of an interdisciplinary team to help patients achieve their goals.

"Our goal is to decrease opioid use by developing non-opioid pain management solutions that will reduce the number of patients requesting refills on opioids and the number of prescriptions written by TCHC providers," said Ben Hess, M.D., chief medical officer. "The case manager will work with providers to execute pain management care plans for patients, which will be critically important for patients with chronic pain."

A Transforming Care at Tri-County (TCAT) project has already begun the preliminary development for the program. These grant funds, which will be matched by Tri-County, will assist in elevating it from a small team project to a fully functioning, well-developed Opioid Management Program. Phase one of the program will focus on expanding services to patients while phase two will focus on developing collaborative community partnerships including law enforcement.