PITTSBURGH (Oct. 16, 2018) — County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Allegheny County officials were joined today by Highmark Health, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and Gateway Health representatives to celebrate the completion and opening of a new 45-bed unit at the Kane Community Living Center in McKeesport. The post-acute unit is for patients with medical conditions and co-occurring substance use disorders.
"The mission of the Kane Community Living Centers is to provide quality nursing and rehabilitation services that enhance the lives of our residents, families, and communities. We do that by listening to what the needs are of our residents and trying to meet them — that's exactly what occurred in this case," said Fitzgerald. “We heard from admissions counselors and community services staff about the need for this specialized service. We were fortunate to have space at the McKeesport Center, and could move quickly to respond to this need by repurposing the vacant unit for this service.”
The first of its kind in the county, this unit will combine skilled care and addiction services for patients who meet Nursing Facility Clinically Eligible (NFCE) criteria, requiring 24-hour care. Kane's team will provide skilled nursing care and work collaboratively with AHN addiction medicine specialists embedded in the unit to provide medication-assisted treatment and supportive services.
"At Highmark Health, Allegheny Health Network and Gateway Health, we're addressing the epidemic of substance use disorders on many critical fronts through our hospitals, physicians, health plans, and through community outreach programs," explained Dan Onorato, executive vice president of corporate affairs at Highmark Health. "This new unit at Kane will provide patients with the right kind of care in the right setting, offering high-quality, high-value, addiction-informed services and the positive health care experience necessary to heal and feel supported. We are getting health care right for these patients."
Recent Commonwealth of PA data indicates that more than 12,000 individuals on Medicaid alone in Allegheny County have a substance use disorder related to prescription pain medications or heroin. Until now, following hospitalizations, these patients have lacked reliable post-acute care alternatives because traditional nursing homes aren't equipped to manage addiction.
"This specialized new unit provides patients who are recovering from hospitalization and coping with substance use disorder with a good pathway forward," said Dr. Mitchell West, DO, MHA, medical director of addiction services at AHN, who will direct the addiction services at the new unit. "By providing them with evidence-based addiction care, we can offer patients their best opportunity to recover from their hospitalization and continue the fight to overcome their addiction."
Program partner Gateway Health is a leading Medicaid and Medicare Advantage managed care organization and other partners include AHN's Center for Inclusion Health and HM Home and Community Services, a Highmark Health company centered on post-acute health care management solutions.
"Gateway Health is very pleased to be able to support Allegheny Health Network and Kane in their innovative partnership to provide improved care for our members with substance use disorders and skilled nursing needs," added Steven E. Szebenyi, MD, MMM, chief medical officer, Gateway Health. "By working together, bringing AHN's addiction specialists into the skilled nursing facility setting, our members can receive timely, high quality care in a manner not otherwise available to them."
Beginning October 17, the Kane unit will begin accepting patient referrals from AHN hospitals. Following an initial pilot, it will admit patients from hospitals across Allegheny County and, as demand allows, from surrounding counties, accepting coverage from all health plans.