Ribbon Cutting for New Mobile Community Care Vehicle Brings Coordinated Services Into the Greater Newark Community
Newark, N.J. (May 11, 2023) – Integrity House, one of the largest not-for-profit providers of substance use disorder treatment and mental health services licensed in the state of New Jersey, with programs in Kearny, Newark, Secaucus, Toms River, Morris Plains, and Paramus, today cut a ceremonial ribbon formally launching it’s new Mobile Community Care (MCC) program that will deliver medications for substance use disorder (SUD), care coordination services, harm reduction resources, and recovery support to the Greater Newark community via a retrofitted vehicle. The ribbon cutting was attended by community leaders, including Newark Deputy Mayor Rahaman Muhammad; Newark City Council President LaMonica McIver; New Jersey Department of Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman; and Assistant Commissioner for the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), Valerie Mielke.
A major expansion of Integrity House’s substance use disorder services in the community, MCC is made possible through a contract with DMHAS. Integrity House will use the specially-equipped and branded vehicle to increase community members’ access to FDA-approved medications for SUD and other services to assist them in their treatment and recovery from SUD.
Mobile Community Care is intended to reduce barriers to medications that are proven to be lifesaving. It is designed to engage individuals who experience obstacles in connecting to care at traditional brick-and-mortar facilities, with a focus on individuals, including veterans, who are homeless. Mobile Community Care will enable those in need to connect with clinicians in real-time to address their behavioral health, medical, and recovery needs.
“Too many people have died avoidable deaths due to addiction,” said Commissioner Adelman. “With the Mobile Community Care vehicle bringing treatment directly to the community, a wider array of people can receive proper treatment and more fatal incidents can be prevented.”
Bringing low-threshold medication and related healthcare services directly to areas of high need addresses a significant gap in healthcare services. In addition, it will help provide a stronger and more effective connection to needed services offered by Integrity House, including behavioral health services, traditional healthcare, and other community engagement activities, such as the Reach for Recovery education and prevention program Integrity implements in collaboration with the Essex County Division of Community Health Services.
“Access to medical treatment and behavioral healthcare is a vitally important step that will help to stem the soaring overdose rates that we have been seeing over the past several years,” said Robert J. Budsock, President and CEO of Integrity House. “Integrity House’s new mobile medical unit will accelerate our efforts to bring treatment directly to individuals struggling with addiction, meeting with them literally in their community, in the places where treatment is most needed, enabling us to better help these people on their path to recovery, to reduce overdoses and to save lives.”
Naima Briscoe, Senior Director of Development and Strategy at Integrity House, is tasked with implementing this initiative. The program features a robust case management component, incorporating both a case manager and two peer recovery specialists who will work closely with community members to ensure they remain engaged in treatment after initially interfacing with the program, even if they are referred to a service provider other than Integrity House. The case manager and peers will also be charged with implementing creative strategies to retain clients in treatment even when they are hospitalized or incarcerated.
Integrity House will use the mobile unit to travel to targeted areas within the community to perform on-the-spot screenings and assessments with individuals with SUD, and, if clinically indicated, immediately prescribe medications to treat SUD. The agency will partner with a variety of community providers to ensure those seeking services have access to “whole-person” care. This includes other licensed SUD and mental health programs, primary care providers, and community-based agencies such as Hyacinth and the North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI) to ensure individuals have access to HIV testing and treatment and COVID-19 vaccination.
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