Published on March 21, 2022

Essentia Health receives $523,000 grant to treat opioid use disorder

Essentia Health’s primary care clinics in Baxter, Walker and Park Rapids have expanded access to medication for opioid use disorder, thanks to a Minnesota Department of Human Services State Opioid Response Grant totaling more than $523,000.

These funds are intended to treat opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders in rural communities. Currently, there are seven providers within Essentia Health’s primary care clinics in Baxter, Walker and Park Rapids who now have more resources to treat patients overcoming substance use and offer them a continuum of care across various settings. Just as importantly, Essentia will be able to more effectively conduct outreach, assess social determinants of health and increase referrals to treatment and recovery programs, as well as other community organizations.

This work strengthens the network of community organizations, which work together to assist people impacted by opioid use disorder and other substance-related issues. Essentia Health is thankful for the continued partnership with other community members to confront the substance use crisis affecting our region, a crisis that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Minnesota alone, drug-overdose deaths increased 27% from 2019 to 2020, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

“Being able to offer medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) in our community has undoubtedly changed patients’ lives,” said Dr. Andrew Bader, a family medicine physician at the Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Baxter Clinic. “MOUD is a best-practice recommendation, and we hope more patients will be able to benefit from this work.”

The grant aligns with Essentia Health’s successful Opioid Stewardship Program, an initiative that has resulted in significantly fewer opioid prescriptions. Within five years of this program’s 2014 launch, Essentia reduced the number of long-term opioid prescriptions by half. More information can be found on Essentia's page on substance use disorder.

This grant is funded fully or in part through the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (MN DHS). Nothing in this press release constitutes a direct or indirect endorsement by SAMHSA or the MN DHS of content, services or policies.