DHSS Marks Milestone of 100,000 Referrals for Substance Use, Mental Health Services

NEW CASTLE (Jan. 4, 2022) – The Department of Health and Social Services’ (DHSS) Division of Substance Use and Mental Health (DSAMH) has surpassed a milestone of 100,000 referrals through its Delaware Treatment and Referral Network (DTRN), a system for Delawareans seeking substance use and mental health services.

Delaware is the first state to make more than 100,000 referrals using this system, built on the OpenBeds® platform, a bed registry platform owned by Bamboo Health (formerly Appriss Health + PatientPing). The DTRN system identifies and tracks behavioral health and social determinants of health resources throughout the state, giving providers immediate visibility into resource availability across a shared network. This makes it easier to get people the help they need when they need it.

“One death from an opioid overdose or from a mental health crisis is one too many,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Ph.D., RN. “For families coping with a loved one, who suffers from substance use disorder or mental illness, finding help is an immediate need that must be met. The 100,000 referrals through DTRN demonstrates that we are mending the fractured behavioral health system in Delaware, so people can get access to treatment and on the path to recovery. As Chair of Delaware’s Behavioral Health Consortium, we remain committed to saving lives through platforms like DTRN and the network of behavioral health providers. Newsweek recently recognized Delaware in November 2021 as one of only four states that the CDC reported as having a decrease in the annual percentage rate of opioid deaths. DTRN was a significant tool contributing to this reduction.”

“This milestone represents a systematic improvement in identifying and treating individuals with substance use disorders,” said Joanna Champney, Director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. “That is 100,000 times where a pathway to treatment was made available for someone so they didn’t have to end up in the emergency room or worse.”

The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health launched DTRN in October 2018 as a way to improve outcomes for Delawareans suffering from a substance use disorder, while coordinating support for accompanying needs for housing, employment, education and other wraparound services. A recent white paper summarizing first-year results showed that the cloud-based network for expedited client referrals to inpatient and residential behavioral health programs generated a 45% increase in treatment referral requests in its first year, while improving rapid acknowledgment of referrals by 25%.

“Open Beds has been a fantastic platform that has provided transparency like never before,” said Steve Beltran, MSN, an RN Nurse Manager for ChristianaCare. “It has allowed us to place our patients in the right level of care faster. And has proven to be an effective method to communicate with care providers and agencies across the state.”

Overdose deaths continue to rise in Delaware, reaching 447 in 2020 (up from 431 in 2019 and 401 in 2018). Of those 447 deaths, 372 (83%) involved the use of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine.

The state’s opioid prescribing rate in 2020 of 45.2 per 100 people is higher than the U.S. average of 43.3, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Lack of visibility for providers in determining current inpatient and residential treatment center capacity can make it challenging to connect clients with appropriate substance use and behavioral health services in a timely manner. Referring physicians and treatment providers often struggle to share client data, admission criteria, and availability. For clients in need, these delays can be dangerous and even life-threatening.

By assisting providers with the onboarding process to encourage adoption of the Delaware Treatment and Referral Network, Delaware expanded the number of active users on its network by 264% in its first year. The referral platform also improved response rates to referral requests, with 65% of receiving organizations acknowledging a client referral within 30 minutes, an increase of 25% since the program’s inception a year prior.

“DTRN has been pivotal in connecting individuals with behavioral health and substance use issues with appropriate providers in an efficient and collaborative manner,” said John McKenna, CEO of Rockford Center. “This technology has substantially improved not only access to treatment for individuals and families, but also has facilitated an enhanced level of communication between the referring agency and our Assessment Center. Whether it’s accepting individual referrals at our front door, or helping our discharging patients get connected to community services prior to leaving our facility, DTRN has assisted in removing barriers and promoted access to a wider range of resources in our state. The system also provides us with critical data that allows us to better understand patient and family needs, engagement in treatment, and potential service gaps.”

“The Delaware Treatment and Referral Network has allowed the Department of Correction to connect individuals in our custody to vital health care services upon their release to the community,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Monroe B. Hudson Jr. “DTRN makes possible a seamless transition to resources like Medication-Assisted Treatment for offenders who struggle with addiction. Simply put, keeping these behavioral and medical health care services in place without interruption saves lives and is helping the DOC and our partners improve reentry outcomes across Delaware.”

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction in Delaware, call DHSS’ 24/7 Crisis Hotline to be connected to treatment and recovery options at 1-833-9-HOPEDE or visit www.HelpIsHereDE.com or treatmentconnection.com.

DHSS lanza un número de teléfono para los que están confinados a su hogar para acceder a las vacunas de COVID-19

La agencia también lanza una campaña de marketing para animar a las personas con discapacidades y a las personas mayores a vacunarse

WILMINGTON (14 de Diciembre de 2021) – El Departamento de Salud y Servicios Sociales (DHSS) lanzó hoy un número gratuito para que los habitantes de Delaware soliciten vacunas de COVID-19 para personas mayores elegibles y personas con discapacidades que no pueden acceder a un lugar de vacunación debido a una discapacidad, edad o enfermedad grave. El DHSS también lanzó una campaña de marketing destinada a ayudar a las personas mayores y las personas con discapacidades a obtener respuestas a las preguntas que tengan sobre la vacuna y los refuerzos.

En el Programa de Vacunación en el Hogar, DHSS se está asociando con farmacias independientes en cada condado para entregar las vacunas a los residentes de Delaware de 5 años o mayores que cumplan con los requisitos. La vicegobernadora Bethany Hall-Long, la secretaria de DHSS Molly Magarik y otros anunciaron el nuevo programa de vacunación durante un evento el martes en una de las farmacias independientes, Ivira Pharmacy en Wilmington. Otras farmacias participantes son la ubicación de Ivira Pharmacy en Milford, Camden Pharmacy, Seaford Pharmacy y Express Pharmacy en Laurel.

“Nada es más importante que vacunar a más habitantes de Delaware,” dijo la vicegobernadora Bethany Hall-Long. “Como estado, estamos comprometidos a eliminar tantas barreras de accesibilidad como sea posible. Una línea gratuita a la que los residentes de Delaware y otras personas confinadas a sus casas puedan llamar para ser evaluados para una vacunación en su hogar es un paso importante. También lo es una nueva campaña de marketing con personas mayores de Delaware, cuidadores y personas con discapacidades.”

Todas las solicitudes de vacunación o refuerzos en el hogar se filtrarán a través de un número gratuito – 1-888-491-4988 – para ser evaluadas y programadas. Los operadores en vivo contarán con personal en la línea gratuita de 8 a.m. a 8 p.m. De lunes a viernes y de 8:30 a. M. A 6 p. M. Sábados. Para obtener más información, visite el sitio web de DHSS en VaccineAccessDE.com.

“Una de las muchas lecciones que hemos aprendido durante los 21 meses de esta pandemia es que tenemos que atender a las comunidades donde se encuentren,” dijo la secretaria del DHSS, Molly Magarik. “El anuncio de hoy trata atender a las personas con discapacidades, sus familias y las personas mayores donde se encuentren. Se trata de apoyarlos a obtener acceso a la vacuna de COVID-19 y refuerzos, y se trata de garantizar que podamos responder las preguntas únicas que tienen las personas mayores y las personas con discapacidades sobre la vacuna.”

A principios de este año, en la primera fase de su Programa de Vacunación en el Hogar, las enfermeras comunitarias de la División de Salud Pública y la División de Servicios para Adultos Mayores y con Discapacidades Físicas del DHSS, junto con enfermeras contratadas de la División de Servicios para Discapacidades del Desarrollo, trabajaron con la comunidad socios, incluido DART Para-transito, para identificar y vacunar a más de 500 residentes de Delaware que están confinados en sus hogares.

En relación con esta nueva fase del Programa de vacunación en el Hogar, DHSS está lanzando una campaña de marketing destinada a animar a las personas con discapacidades, sus familias y las personas mayores a llamar a la División de Salud Pública al 1-833-643-1715 si tienen preguntas sobre la vacuna de COVID-19 o para visitar la página web del DHSS para obtener información y recursos en VaccineAccessDE.com. Como parte de la campaña, las personas con discapacidades, los familiares y las personas mayores hablaron sobre lo que ha significado para ellos recibir la vacuna de COVID-19. La campaña se financia a través de una subvención de la Administración para la vida comunitaria de EE. UU.

“Es importante para nosotros lanzar esta campaña que se dirija específicamente a las preguntas y preocupaciones que puedan tener los habitantes de Delaware mayores y las personas con discapacidades y sus familias,” dijo Melissa Smith, directora de la División de Servicios para Ancianos y Adultos con Discapacidades Físicas del DHSS. “Estamos entusiasmados porque podemos exhibir en esta campaña a los habitantes de Delaware que cuentan sus propias historias en mensajes impresos y en video para ayudar a otros a sentirse cómodos al hacer preguntas y buscar las acomodaciones que puedan necesitar para recibir la vacuna.”

Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC, por sus siglas en inglés) han descubierto que las personas con discapacidades y las personas mayores tienen un alto riesgo de enfermedad grave, hospitalización y muerte por COVID-19. En Delaware, aproximadamente el 80% de las 2218 personas que murieron por COVID-19 tenían 65 años o más.

Para ayudar a proteger a las personas en grupos vulnerables, es importante que todos se vacunen, practiquen el distanciamiento social, usen máscaras en el interior en público, se hagan las pruebas según sean necesarias y se laven las manos. En Delaware, casi el 63% de todos los habitantes de Delaware están completamente vacunados, incluyendo más del 91% de quienes tienen 65 años o más. Pero solo el 55% de las personas mayores de 65 años han recibido refuerzos.

Aunque Delaware no tiene datos sobre el porcentaje de personas con discapacidades que están vacunadas, alrededor del 79% de los adultos estadounidenses con discapacidades han informado haber recibido al menos una dosis de la vacuna de COVID-19, en comparación con el 84% de los adultos sin discapacidades, según a una Encuesta de pulso de hogares del censo de EE. UU. La encuesta de la Oficina del Censo, que se llevó a cabo entre más de 100,000 adultos en dos fases de junio a agosto de este año, encontró que las disparidades entre las personas con discapacidades persistieron en todos los grupos de edad, en la mayoría de las categorías de raza y etnia, y en todos los tipos de discapacidad, a pesar de que los adultos con discapacidad informaron menos vacilaciones para vacunarse.

Un estudio de CDC, publicado en Octubre, encontró que los adultos con una discapacidad anticipan o experimentan más dificultades para recibir las vacunas de COVID-19 que los adultos sin una discapacidad. Para ayudar a mejorar las tasas de vacunación, CDC recomendó reducir las barreras para la programación de la vacunación y hacer que los lugares de vacunación sean más accesibles.

DHSS to Launch Toll-Free Number for Eligible Delawareans Who Are Homebound to Access COVID-19 Vaccinations

Agency Also Kicks off Marketing Campaign to Encourage Seniors, Individuals with Disabilities to Get Vaccinated

WILMINGTON (Dec. 14, 2021) – The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) today announced a new toll-free number for Delawareans to request COVID-19 vaccinations for eligible seniors and people with disabilities who cannot access a vaccination location because of disability, age or severe illness. DHSS also kicked off a marketing campaign aimed at supporting seniors and individuals with disabilities to get answers to questions they have about the vaccine and boosters.

[En Espanol]

In the Homebound Vaccination Program, DHSS is partnering with independent pharmacies in each county to deliver the vaccinations to eligible Delawareans 5 and older. Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik and others announced the new vaccination program during an event Tuesday at one of the independent pharmacies, Ivira Pharmacy in Wilmington. Other participating pharmacies are Ivira Pharmacy’s location in Milford, Camden Pharmacy, Seaford Pharmacy, and Express Pharmacy in Laurel.

“Nothing is more important than getting more Delawareans vaccinated,” Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long said. “As a state, we are committed to removing as many barriers to access as possible. A toll-free line that older Delawareans and others who are homebound can call to be assessed for an at-home vaccination is an important step. So, too, is a new marketing campaign featuring older Delawareans, caregivers and individuals with disabilities.”

Starting Dec. 15, all requests for a homebound vaccination or booster will be filtered through a toll-free number – 1-888-491-4988 – to be assessed and scheduled. Live operators will staff the toll-free line from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. To learn more, visit DHSS’ website at VaccineAccessDE.com.

“One of the many lessons we’ve learned during the 21 months of this pandemic is that we have to meet communities where they are,” DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik said. “Today’s announcement is about meeting seniors, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers where they are. It’s about supporting them in getting access to the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters, and it’s about ensuring that we can answer the unique questions that seniors and people with disabilities have about the vaccine.”

Earlier this year, in the first phase of its Homebound Vaccination Program, community nurses with DHSS’ Division of Public Health and Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities, along with contract nurses with the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services, worked with community partners, including DART Paratransit, to identify and vaccinate more than 500 Delawareans who are homebound.

In connection with this new phase, DHSS is launching a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging individuals with disabilities, their families and seniors to call the Division of Public Health at 1-833-643-1715 if they have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine or to visit DHSS’ webpage for information and resources at VaccineAccessDE.com. As part of the campaign, seniors, individuals with disabilities and their family members talked about what getting the COVID-19 vaccine has meant to them. The campaign is funded through grants from the U.S. Administration for Community Living.

“It is important for us to launch this campaign that specifically addresses the questions and concerns that older Delawareans and individuals with disabilities and their families may have,” said Melissa Smith, Director of DHSS’ Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities. “We are excited because it features Delawareans telling their own stories in print and video messages in order to help others feel comfortable about reaching out with questions and any accommodations they might need to get the vaccine.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that people with disabilities and seniors are at high risk for serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. In Delaware, about 80% of the 2,218 people who have died from COVID-19 were 65 or older.

To help protect people in vulnerable groups, it’s important that everyone get vaccinated, practice social distancing, wear face masks indoors in public, get tested as needed, and wash their hands. In Delaware, almost 63% of all Delawareans are fully vaccinated, including more than 91% of those age 65 or older. But only 55% of seniors 65 or older have gotten their boosters.

While Delaware does not have data on the percentage of people with disabilities who are vaccinated, about 79% of American adults with disabilities have reported receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 84% of adults without a disability, according to a U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey. The Census Bureau survey, which was conducted among more than 100,000 adults in two phases from June to August of this year, found that the disparities among individuals with disabilities persisted across all age groups, in most race and ethnicity categories, and across all types of disability, even though adults with a disability reported less hesitancy to getting vaccinated.

A CDC study, published in October, found that adults with a disability anticipate or experience more difficulty getting COVID-19 vaccinations than adults without a disability. To help improve vaccination rates, the CDC recommended reducing barriers to vaccination scheduling and making vaccination sites more accessible.

Governor Carney, Lt. Governor Hall-Long Announce Community-Based Mental Health Services Fund

ARPA-funded program will provide support for community-level mental health services

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney and Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long on Wednesday announced the creation of a Community-Based Mental Health Services Fund to support the delivery of mental health services in Delaware communities.

The program is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The federal legislation was supported in Congress by Delaware’s congressional delegation – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester – and signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11.

Visit de.gov/rescueplan to learn more about how Delaware is investing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. 

“Now more than ever, we know the importance of providing access to quality mental health services for Delawareans in need,” said Governor Carney. “This Community-based Mental Health Services Fund will help community health care providers, nonprofits, and faith-based institutions provide those services, and strengthen the communities they serve. Thank you to members of our federal delegation and President Joe Biden for providing these important resources.”

Nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, and for-profit providers that provide community-based mental health services in Delaware may apply for funding through the program. Applicants should review Delaware’s Developmental Framework to make Delaware a trauma-informed state.

Click here to view the Community-Based Mental Health Services Fund application.

Applications must be submitted electronically by 6:00 p.m. on January 15, 2022 to be considered for funding.

“This fund provides much needed resources for persons with behavioral health challenges in order to give families access to early intervention and quality treatment to support their loved ones. As a nurse and Chair of the Behavioral Health Consortium, I am committed to making Delaware a leader in providing access to quality behavioral health services to truly help people. This investment is a critical support for our healthcare providers, non-profits and faith-based institutions to deliver services and breakdown stigma,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “Thank you to our federal delegation and President Joe Biden for their commitment to get Delawareans the help they deserve, and a behavioral health system that works for everyone.”

“Access to affordable, quality mental health services should be available to everyone – no matter their income or zip code,” said Carper, Coons and Blunt Rochester. “Far too often, we focus on the physical symptoms of the pandemic; however, we must not overlook the mental health challenges faced by so many during difficult times. As the pandemic continues to take its toll on our nation and here in Delaware, we are proud of Governor Carney’s commitment to helping all Delawareans get the help that they need.”


Governor Carney Launches Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative (TEDI)

Public invited to enter trees they plant in new TEDI tracker

NEW CASTLE, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday launched a new program that aims to plant a tree for every Delawarean as part of the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This initiative was originally announced in Governor Carney’s 2020 State of the State Address and discussed in Delaware’s Climate Action Plan as a strategy to support local communities’ enhancement of urban greenspaces.

Click here for photos from the event.

“Last week, when I announced Delaware’s Climate Action Plan, I said that as the country’s lowest-lying state, climate change is a very real threat to Delaware’s future,” said Governor Carney. “Reducing emissions is essential to our efforts to deal with climate change, and the Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative – TEDI – helps us move forward on accomplishing one of the strategies outlined in the Climate Action Plan.”

“We all have a stake in improving our environmental health to ensure a stronger and healthier Delaware,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “By involving the community and encouraging Delawareans across the state to plant trees, we are taking steps to mitigate carbon emissions and their impact on our state, our children and future generations.”

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary Shawn M. Garvin and Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) Secretary Michael T. Scuse joined Governor Carney, Lt. Governor Hall-Long, state and county officials, and stakeholders at a tree planting at Lieutenant Szczerba Memorial Park in New Castle to help launch the program. The two state agencies are partnering on the initiative.

DNREC and the Delaware Department of Agriculture partnered to develop a new website where residents can access information on selecting, planting, and caring for their trees. In addition, residents, non-profit organizations, and municipalities can visit de.gov/tedi to enter information and photos of their tree plantings to help count the trees planted throughout the state.

Healthy and resilient forests are a vital part of the efforts to combat the negative impacts of climate change. As part of a comprehensive approach in Delaware’s Climate Action Plan that includes energy efficiency, clean transportation and transitioning to clean energy sources. Planting and nurturing trees is a nature-based solution to reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“Along with our programs that help Delawareans reduce their energy use, TEDI provides an opportunity for everyone to contribute to our statewide effort to improve air and water quality, preserve soil, and support wildlife – all while reducing the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.

Urban trees and forests help decrease energy use and emissions by providing shade, cooling temperatures and changing wind speeds. Studies have shown trees can reduce temperatures by 9 degrees and energy and heating costs by $7.8 billion a year in the United States.

Encompassing 1.25 million acres, Delaware has nearly 360,000 forested acres. With 78 percent of the state’s forests privately owned, the Delaware Forest Service provides technical assistance, funding and education to serve as a foundation for tree planting, conservation, reforestation, forest management and wildlife protection throughout Delaware.

“We are proud to have the Delaware Forest Service as part of the Department of Agriculture. With fewer than 25 staff, the Forest Service continually works with communities and private landowners all over Delaware to harness the power of trees to transform communities,” said Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “The Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative is an important investment in our state’s forestland that will help improve our economy and public health. Every $1 million invested in tree planting and reforestation efforts creates 40 forest-related jobs. And from a health perspective, research has shown that trees absorb 17.4 million tons of air pollutants a year, helping to prevent 670,000 cases of asthma and other acute respiratory symptoms annually.”

DDA’s Urban and Community Forestry Program works to increase tree canopy in communities statewide. The Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program has provided more than $1.86 million in matching tree grants for more than 588 projects in the First State – with more than 16,000 trees planted. Municipalities, communities and organizations can assess their current level of tree cover as a starting point to explore opportunities to plant new trees using the Delaware Forest Service’s online tree canopy tool at de.gov/treecanopy