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Ascension Saint Agnes

SBIRT program


Three years ago, 150-year-old Ascension Saint Agnes in Baltimore, part of a national Catholic health system, created the Saint Agnes Health Institute to address health care disparities and the social determinants of health that have a negative impact on patients.

The institute has since grown from fewer than 30 associates to more than 110, all dedicated to serving patients – especially the poor and the vulnerable.

Since it opened, the institute has provided cardiovascular disease prevention and diabetes prevention programs at churches and community centers and opened a weekly, year-round produce market on the Saint Agnes campus.

In March of 2018, in response to Baltimore’s opioid crisis, Ascension Saint Agnes launched the Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program.

ascension-sbirt-programThe program focused first on visitors to Saint Agnes Hospital’s emergency department but eventually expanded to outpatient OB-GYN practices and the inpatient Labor and Delivery and Mother-Baby units.

Since SBIRT started, some 3,500 patients have been screened positively for substance use disorder – including not just opioids but other problematic use and abuse of illicit drugs and alcohol — and Ascension’s peer recovery coaches have completed 1,600 interventions.

“Ascension Saint Agnes is proud to be recognized as a leader in building innovative health models and providing exceptional care for our patients,” said Christopher A. Chekouras, president and CEO of Ascension Saint Agnes.

“The SBIRT program’s success in helping patients with substance use disorders get the help they need is core to our goal of reducing health disparities in our community.”

This is a winner profile from The Daily Record's Health Care Heroes awards. Information for this profile was sourced from the honoree's application for the award.