Seven hospitals across New Hampshire have now committed to serving as regional hubs, forming the backbone of the state’s new framework for addiction treatment, Health Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers said Wednesday.
State officials have been in negotiations with hospitals for weeks over the scope of services required under their new “hub and spoke” plan.
They’re facing a tight deadline to distribute nearly $23 million in federal funds aimed at the opioid crisis, hoping to use the money to dramatically improve access to treatment and services.
A significant portion of that money will go directly to hospitals in exchange for opening what will essentially be one-stop shops for addiction.
Some hospitals have expressed concerns, though, that the available funds may not cover all the services they are being asked to provide.
“I’m not saying it’s not enough,” said Kevin Donovan, CEO of Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia. “I’m saying we’re currently working collaboratively to define how far that money can take us.”
Hubs may be tasked with operating a 24/7 call line, providing screening and referrals, distributing the overdose reversal drug Narcan, and tracking patients for months as they move through treatment and recovery.
"In a perfect world, money would be unlimited," Meyers told Executive Councilors at their meeting Wednesday. "I think [the hospitals] understand and accept the limitations of the funding, and are going to do the best they can within that limitation."
All told, the state’s plan calls for nine hubs – two more than have committed to contracts. Speaking to the Executive Council Tuesday, Meyers pointed to “unique circumstances” in Manchester and Nashua, but declined to go into further detail.