New unit at Good Samaritan Hospital supports pregnant patients with substance use disorder in getting much-needed care

MultiCare press release.

TACOMA, Wash. — MultiCare announces the opening of the new Substance Treatment and Recovery Training (START) inpatient unit at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital to address the needs of pregnant patients who have had issues with substance use. The START unit will begin providing service July 19, 2022 to help fill this outstanding need for one of the communities most vulnerable populations.  

The new inpatient unit at Good Samaritan will offer patients in need with medical stabilization/withdrawal management, followed by intensive inpatient treatment for up to 26 total days. The inpatient treatment program includes counseling, educational and recovery activities, pregnancy-specific addiction consultation, prenatal care and connections to community obstetricians for ongoing care.  

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“For the first time, pregnant people in the South Sound will have integrated substance use treatment and obstetric care close to home – lowering barriers to getting needed help quickly,” says Abi Plawman, MD, START Medical Director. “Pregnant patients who have a history of substance use disorder often face challenges finding appropriate care. Many obstetricians hesitate to treat patients because of risks to the fetus and medication providers may discontinue substance disorder medication once a patient becomes pregnant. It takes tremendous strength to be able to ask for help with drug or alcohol use in pregnancy, and we are grateful to be help women begin or strengthen their path to recovery.” 

MultiCare’s START program has offered a walk-in, outpatient clinic for pregnant patients who are currently or have previously struggled with substance use disorder since 2015 at its East Pierce Family Medicine clinic in Puyallup. Clinic patients can receive OB care, medications to treat substance use disorder and access to referrals for support services including treatment programs, basic needs assistance, WIC, and agencies that provide wrap-around support for at-risk pregnant patients. The clinic, which serves as one of two of MultiCare’s medical residency training programs, also provides new physicians with valuable training in addiction medicine and working respectfully and compassionately with this patient population. 

Learn more about the START program on Good Samaritan’s website or call 253-697-2450. For help with substance use disorder, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) national help line at 800-662-HELP (4357).

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Source: The Suburban Times