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Research suggests changes to the way Tennessee treats addicted moms


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  A researcher at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital is out with a study that has striking implications for Tennessee’s opioid epidemic.

Dr. Stephen Stephen Patrick is a Neonatologist and Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy. He’s released a study looking at barriers faced by pregnant women seeking treatment for prescription addictions.

“Cash was accepted essentially everywhere, but insurance was only accepted about half the time. And that’s pretty striking when you think about a therapy that people are trying to access for a medical condition.”

Perhaps even more troubling, Dr. Patrick says roughly half of all out-patient treatment centers won’t take pregnant women at all.

He says to get a handle on the opioid problem we need to stop stigmatizing addicted moms, reduce barriers to treatment, and improve treatment training.

Dr. Patrick says Vanderbilt is innovating new standards of care for this vulnerable population.

“One of the things that we’ve found, and a way we’ve changed the way we deliver care at Vanderbilt, is to care for mom and baby together. We found that that improves engagement and it improves outcomes to.”

When WMOT asked Dr. Patrick what lawmakers might do to further aid addicted moms and their babies, he suggested increasing funding for Tennessee’s child welfare agency.

He says Tennessee needs to keep a closer eye on drug addicted infants, while also changing the model of care to include both mother and child.

Would you like to learn more about Dr. Patrick's study? Use the link below to listen to the complete WMOT interview with Dr. Patrick.

Dr. Stephen Patrick interview 7/17/18