2023 Ludwig Nominee: Munson Healthcare Expanding Substance Use Disorder Treatment, Recovery in Northern Michigan

Since 1990, the MHA has honored member healthcare organizations working to enrich the overall welfare of their local communities through the Ludwig Community Benefit Award. This year, the MHA is excited to showcase all award nominees, highlighting the exceptional and creative work being accomplished by Michigan’s hospitals.

Munson Healthcare (MHC), a 2023 nominee, is advancing the health of northern Michigan communities through the Regional Community Health Opioid Initiative, which offers resources for Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery. This includes efforts to address stigma, ensure safe prescribing and educate both patients and providers.

In a 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment, SUD was identified as a top concern in the regions Munson serves. The issue affects people from all demographics, income levels and educational backgrounds. Although SUDs are common, recurrent and often serious, treatment options in rural Northern Michigan are limited. In many cases, patients seeking help are tasked with travelling several hours for treatment or go without care because of this barrier.

The MHC initiative improves access to treatment by providing on-demand resources in the emergency and inpatient setting while reducing SUD-related medical complications through offerings like take-home naloxone for at-risk individuals. The health system also focuses on fostering community partnerships; implementing stigma reduction campaigns, staff education and peer recovery coaching; expanding harm reduction and enhancing suicide prevention efforts.

In addition to serving the residents of Grand Traverse, Wexford, Manistee, Kalkaska, Antrim and Otsego counties, MHC teams hope to expand programming into more areas where SUD resources are limited or not available. Simultaneously, they are working to share best practices for treatment with regional primary care clinics and extend long-term recovery resources for Michiganders.

Members with questions about the program or the Ludwig Community Benefit Award should contact Erica Leyko at the MHA.

Grants Awarded to Address Substance Use Disorder in Upper Peninsula

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan announced Jan. 19 that four Upper Peninsula community organizations will receive $490,000 in grant funding to help them address gaps in service for individuals and families facing substance use disorder (SUD) and to support the development and growth of recovery communities. Recovery communities offer a variety of services to support people recovering from SUD and their family members.

The MHA is a community partner in the project, along with the Upper Peninsula Health Plan and four members of the Michigan Opioid Partnership: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and the Superior Health Foundation.

The organizations’ two-year grant programming begins in January 2022. Organizations receiving the funding include the Eastern Upper Peninsula Opioid Response Consortium, Great Lakes Recovery Centers Inc., the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department and Superior Housing Solutions.

The MHA Board of Trustees identified behavioral health as a critical priority for the association in its 2021-2022 Strategic Action Plan. The board established goals for behavioral healthcare that include setting guiding principles, overcoming obstacles and seeking new funding. The MHA’s partnership in this grantmaking project is one of several steps toward achieving those goals.

Coverage of the press release includes stories from WJMN-TV and WLUC-TV6. For more information on the grants, contact Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA. Additional information on the association’s efforts to address behavioral health is available from Laura Appel at the MHA.