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“As a navigator, I take a comprehensive, whole-person approach to each patient.” – Rebecca Bartley, Substance Use Navigator

 “Our experience at St. Mary’s was great. My son was very happy with his care, which is saying a lot considering he’s an RRT. He was thankful for the care he received.”

Bridge Builders Program Receives Major New Grant

The opioid crisis has impacted Americans of all ages, but those who suffer most are often overlooked: babies born to mothers suffering from addiction. From birth defects to seizures to severe withdrawal symptoms, infants are the hidden victims of the opioid epidemic.

Providence St. Mary Medical Center has recently seen a 30% increase in babies born to opioid users. It’s a problem that won’t go away on its own, but the hospital’s Bridge Builders program is offering hope to help pregnant mothers break their addiction before giving birth.

Bridge Builders provides guidance and support for expecting mothers suffering from opioid-related illness, serving as a link between traditional medical care and specialized substance abuse treatment.

As Dr. Ali Ebrahim, medical director of the hospital’s Emergency Department, explains, when a patient comes to the department seeking opioid dependency treatment, doctors can only do so much.

“We do the initial routine medical exam and screening, and if they qualify, we start the treatment in the E.D.,” Dr. Ebrahim says. “But it’s one thing to give a patient a dose of a medication, and it’s a whole different thing to link them with a follow-up resource.”

That’s where navigators like Rebecca Bartley come in.

“Without Rebecca, we could not operate this program,” Dr. Ebrahim says. “Bridge Builders bridges patients between the initial E.D. visit to outpatient resources for long-term care.”

The job of the navigator is to help patients find necessary care to protect their health and the health of their babies, including finding a treatment clinic, help with insurance, housing and transportation assistance and long-term support for them to stay off opioids.

Bartley says everything she does is targeted at a patient’s unique needs. “As a navigator, I take a comprehensive, whole-person approach to each patient,” she says. “My role is to really be there for folks.”

Her efforts just got a big boost, thanks to a $490,000 grant from UniHealth Foundation to support the Bridge Builders initiative. The funds will help provide the necessary tools, programs and support for mothers and their infants to alleviate the impact of opioid abuse during pregnancy.

The grant will make an immeasurable difference in the lives of patients who depend on Bridge Builders, and in the community that Providence St. Mary Medical Center serves.

“It’s important for people to know that addiction is treatable,” Bartley says. “The more options you give people, the better the outcome for the community will be.”

To support our mental health initiatives, please visit supportstmaryfoundation.org/donate.

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Phone: 760-946-8841
Address: 18300 Hwy 18, Apple Valley, CA 92307
Email: StMaryFoundation@providence.org

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