ServeOhio Awards Mercy Health $138,000 to Help Address Opiate Epidemic

Mercy Health, a Catholic health ministry serving Ohio and Kentucky, announces that it has received a $138,000 grant from ServeOhio to select for service and train a team of AmeriCorps members in reducing and/or preventing opioid abuse in adult patients at Mercy Health hospitals in Cincinnati, Springfield and Willard, Ohio. Mercy Health secured this funding in coordination with the Mercy Health Foundation, which empowers and equips the Mercy Health network to extend its healing ministry with compassion and innovation, and Mercy Health’s behavioral health services team.


The grant allows for 10 AmeriCorps members to augment the work of Mercy Health’s emergency department staff to deliver SBIRT screenings in an emergency department. SBIRT stands for Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment. The screenings help to identify patients with risky levels of substance use, allowing for early intervention and the prevention of future substance dependence, disease and other health consequences. The screenings also streamline the referral process to specialty dependency treatment services when patients need them.


The AmeriCorps members will be based at emergency departments at Mercy Health – Anderson, Clermont and West Hospitals and Mt. Orab Medical Center in Greater Cincinnati, Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center in Springfield, Ohio and Mercy Health – Willard Hospital in Willard, Ohio. These areas have experienced an increase in opioid overdoses with drug-related mortality rates that exceed state and national averages.


The AmeriCorps members provide patient education on addiction and its impact on individuals and their loved ones, help connect patients with referrals to treatment and community resources and will administer screenings, as needed. They will follow up with patients regularly and track patient outcomes.


Over the course of their year of service, Mercy Health anticipates that AmeriCorps Members will interact with 16,000 patients, helping about 2,400 with access to social services or treatment. AmeriCorps is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in service. It has identified efforts to reduce and/or prevent prescription drug and opioid abuse as a funding priority. ServeOhio, Ohio's commission on service and volunteerism, awards AmeriCorps grants to support service initiatives in the state. Of the total cost of this grant-funded project, CNCS via ServeOhio will provide $138,000 (72% of the total project budget) and Mercy Health will contribute $54,733 in match and other funds, which is 28% of the total project budget.