- Aug 23
Warm Hand Off Program Has Assisted Over 5,000 People into Addiction Treatment
CHICAGO, IL (August 23, 2022) – A multi-year partnership between Gateway Foundation and 26 Illinois hospitals now places addiction treatment specialists inside emergency departments and med-surg floors, leading more people to lifesaving treatment.
The Warm Hand Off Program, now in its fifth year, aims to immediately refer hospital patients showing signs of addiction into treatment services. Since its inception, more than 5,000 Illinois residents have received education, outreach and screenings about their substance use disorder and treatment options. Prior to Gateway Foundation’s program, these patients were released from hospitals without any concrete addiction recovery plans and often cycled back into the hospital.
“Nearly 72% of those who die of an overdose averaged four previous hospital visits. If we don’t collectively address the core of someone’s substance use disorder, their next overdose could be their last. The Warm Hand Off program is saving lives, and we’re proud to partner with Gateway Foundation to help more people recover from substance abuse and addiction,” says Karen Lambert, President at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital.
This announcement comes as the U.S. continues to face mounting addiction issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 107,622 people overdosed in the U.S. in 2021 – an increase of nearly 15% from 2020. Fatal overdoses rose from 21.7% to 28.3%. In addition, fentanyl-laced opioids continue to cause mass overdose deaths.
The Warm Hand Off Program goes into action when a hospital staffer identifies patients in their emergency rooms with substance use disorder. Then, a Gateway Foundation addiction specialist performs an intake screening to determine next-level care. Specialists work to transfer the patient to the appropriate level of treatment upon discharge.
“The Warm Hand Off Program gives us the ability to respond quickly to these patients. When someone makes the decision to seek help, time is of the essence. If they don’t immediately go into treatment, the chances that they will go at a later date are slim, and we may lose a life,” says Dr. Teresa Garate, Senior Vice President of Gateway Foundation.
Advocate Health Care piloted the first Warm Hand Off Program in 2018. Today, the following 26 Illinois hospitals have an active partnership with Gateway Foundation to offer the Warm Hand Off Program.
- Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove (Advocate Health Care)
- Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington (Advocate Health Care)
- Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville (Advocate Health Care)
- Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin (Advocate Health Care)
- Advocate Lutheran General in Park Ridge (Advocate Health Care)
- HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon (Hospital Sisters Health System)
- HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield (Hospital Sisters Health System)
- HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur (Hospital Sisters Health System)
- HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville (Hospital Sisters Health System)
- HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham (Hospital Sisters Health System)
- HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese (Hospital Sisters Health System)
- HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville (Hospital Sisters Health System)
- HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland (Hospital Sisters Health System)
- HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield (Hospital Sisters Health System)
- Edward Hospital in Naperville (Edward-Elmhurst Health System)
- Linden Oaks Behavioral Health in Naperville (Edward-Elmhurst Health System)
- Elmhurst Hospital in Elmhurst (Edward-Elmhurst Health System)
- Vista Medical Center in Waukegan (Quorum Health)
- Rush Oak Park Hospital in Oak Park (Rush University System)
- St. Anthony Hospital in Chicago
- UIC Medical Center in Chicago
- Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood (Trinity Health System)
- MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn (Trinity Health System)
- Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park (Trinity Health System)
- Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon
- St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria (OSF Health Care)
“Gateway Foundation continues to partner with more Illinois hospitals in our collective fight to battle substance use addiction,” Garate says. “As the number of people with substance use disorder and overdoses continues to rise, Gateway Foundation is expanding this program, with the expectation to be engaged with a total of 30 hospitals by the end of 2022.”
This work is funded, in part, by a grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery.
About Gateway Foundation
Gateway Foundation is Illinois’ only statewide provider of addiction treatment services for clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders. For over 50 years, Gateway Foundation’s professional clinicians helped one million families recover from substance use disorders by developing personalized plans to treat the underlying causes of their addiction. 24-hour hotline 855-925-GATE (4283) |www.gatewayfoundation.org