Gateway Health and Giant Eagle Pharmacy Pilot an Innovative Approach to Addressing the Opioid Epidemic in Allegheny County

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Gateway Health Plan, Inc. ("Gateway Health"), a leading managed care organization dedicated to caring for the "total health" of its members, recently partnered with Giant Eagle Pharmacy to introduce Pennsylvania Medicaid members to a novel clinical service dedicated to fighting the ongoing opioid epidemic throughout Allegheny County.

The new service, called Project Lifeline, was championed by the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy's Program Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) in conjunction with the National Association of Chain Drug stores. It focuses on improving public health through substance abuse screening and referral of at-risk individuals.

Research shows that when more individuals are screened for addiction upfront, the process becomes a more normalized part of the healthcare visit. This removes the stigma associated with addiction and results in more people engaging in treatment.

The Gateway Health program sponsorship allows specially trained Giant Eagle pharmacists to offer screenings, brief interventions, and referrals to treatment (also known as SBIRT) to its Pennsylvania Medicaid members participating in the pilot. During these brief interventions, pharmacists will be able to identify Gateway Health members at high risk for opioid abuse or overdose and offer confidential counseling or referral to a substance abuse treatment center. The collaborative goal of Project Lifeline is to provide more comprehensive opioid care to Gateway Health's members and to improve their health through sustainable results.

"Gateway Health is proud to partner with Giant Eagle Pharmacy and PERU to deliver this advanced, evidence-based tool to use in the ongoing battle against opioid addiction," said Cain Hayes, President and CEO, Gateway Health. "At Gateway Health, we care for the whole person in all communities where the need is greatest. We see a future where everyone has equal opportunity to achieve their best health. We will continue to carry out our mission by creating innovative programming to support and treat those facing addiction."

"The health and safety of our patients and community is our top priority," said Jim Tsipakis, Executive Vice President, Giant Eagle Pharmacy. "At Giant Eagle Pharmacy, we are dedicated to finding new, innovative ways to bring programs and services to help in the fight against opioid addiction. We are proud to partner with such forward-thinking organizations as Gateway Health and PERU to provide access, education and an enhanced level of care for patients facing addiction."

About Gateway Health

At Gateway Health, we believe in caring for the whole person in all communities where the need is greatest. We see a future in which everyone has equal opportunity to achieve their best health. Through our leading Medicaid and Medicare programs, Gateway Health is coordinating healthcare that goes beyond doctors and medicine that helps members achieve not just physical health, but also delivers whole person care. Our associates are helping to drive this new kind of healthcare in collaboration with a network of 29,000 primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, and other ancillary providers. Gateway Health is also committed to supporting our neighbors through our many community outreach and engagement programs.

About Giant Eagle
Giant Eagle, Inc., ranked among the top 40 on Forbes magazine's largest private corporations list, is one of the nation's largest food, fuel and pharmacy retailers with approximately $10 billion in annual sales. Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle, Inc. has grown to be a leading food, fuel and pharmacy retailer in the region with more than 470 stores throughout western Pennsylvania, north central Ohio, northern West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana.

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SOURCE Gateway Health Plan