UMass Memorial Health Rolls Out the Kraft Community Care in Reach Mobile Unit, Donated by the Robert K. Kraft Family, to Enhance Lifesaving Addiction and Medical Services
Worcester, Mass – UMass Memorial Medical Center has a new mobile vehicle on the road to support addiction services in the Worcester homeless community. Made possible through the kindness of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his family, the Kraft Community Care in Reach® mobile unit is equipped and staffed to bring substance use disorder (SUD) and other health care services to those who need them, where they need them.
Robert Kraft and Josh Kraft attended the event held in Worcester. UMass Memorial Health CEO and President Eric Dickson, MD and UMass Memorial Medical Center President Michael Gustafson, MD, were joined by elected officials, and the dozens of interdisciplinary and interprofessional UMass Memorial Health employees who supported the growth of this program.
“As the largest medical system in Central Mass., we have made it our mission to care for all people in our community,” said Dr. Dickson. “This Kraft Community Care in Reach® mobile unit will extend our reach beyond the walls of our clinics and medical center to provide substance abuse and medical care to people where they are and in a more private and comfortable place.”
The Community Care in Reach program is a mobile addiction services model developed by The Kraft Center for Community Health that combines harm reduction and clinical addiction services on a mobile medical vehicle. The innovative program was originally launched in Boston in 2018 and has since expanded to four sites across Massachusetts. The arrival of the Community Care in Reach mobile unit in Worcester will allow the Road to Care street team, funded by the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services and the MA Department of Health, to provide care to more people in more locations.
Since its inception, UMass Memorial Health's Road to Care team has provided care to more than 700 patients in more than 2,200 encounters in our community. The addition of a mobile unit in Worcester will bring on-demand access to addiction care where people need it most and help steer addicts toward long-term services.
The team offers free care for a wide variety of illnesses and injuries but maintains a primary focus on treating patients with opioid use disorder. To that end, the team has offered low-barrier Suboxone treatment – an essential component of overdose prevention -- to 169 individuals to date.
Prior to the arrival of the Community Care in Reach mobile unit, the team of physicians and advanced practice providers worked out of backpacks and rolling cases and focused primarily on brick-and-mortar settings. The arrival of the Community Care in Reach mobile clinic will expand the team’s range and allow greater opportunity to serve patients in multiple locations throughout the day. The goal is to have the community recognize the Community Care in Reach vehicle and know that it will be a welcoming place to receive care.
“We find that when people are treated for their substance use disorder, they start to care for the rest of their health and we can help,” said Hugh Silk, MD, Vice Chair, Department of Family Medicine. UMass Memorial Health - Community Healthlink.
“This is good medicine,” said Dr. Kavita Babu, Chief of Medical Toxicology and Director of the Road to Care Program. “We focus on meeting our patient’s needs in a compassionate, modern environment and deliver life-saving care where patients need us most.”
In addition to offering medications for addiction treatment and naloxone distribution, the Road to Care team provides services including diabetes and hypertension management, sutures, splints, Hepatitis C and HIV screening, women’s health care, vaccines, and basic mental health care. The mobile unit offers a modern exam space that provides privacy and necessary equipment for patient care that is not available in many shelters and public spaces.
About UMass Memorial Health
UMass Memorial Health is the largest not-for-profit health care system in Central Massachusetts with more than 15,500 employees and 2,100 physicians, many of whom are members of UMass Memorial Medical Group. We are the clinical partner of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Our comprehensive system includes UMass Memorial Health – HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital, UMass Memorial Health – Marlborough Hospital, UMass Memorial Medical Center and UMass Memorial Health – Community Healthlink. Visit www.ummhealth.org.
ABOUT THE KRAFT CENTER FOR COMMUNITY HEALTH
The Kraft Center for Community Health is an organization within Massachusetts General Hospital with a mission to incubate and develop solutions to community health problems; execute solutions locally; and spread the best solutions with local/national partners. Please visit the Kraft Center’s Community Care in Reach program.