BMC's Project ASSERT
Project ASSERT (Alcohol & Substance abuse Services, Education and Referral to Treatment), a program based in BMC’s Emergency Department helps patients who demonstrate unhealthy alcohol and drug use behavior find the treatment and care that they need to recover. Since 1994, Project ASSERT has offered alcohol and drug use screening, counseling and/or referral to treatment for more than 80,000 patients treated for intoxication in the ED.
Staffed by Health Promotion Advocates (HPAs), these individuals are not case managers or social workers. They are Massachusetts DPH licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselors who consult and collaborate with BMC clinicians to offer ED patients access to a continuum of addiction and community support services. These unique individuals establish a relationship with the patient that is based on emotional support and the ability to advocate for them.
“Our HPA’s are resilient professionals who are all from this community,” says Project ASSERT Medical Director, Dr. Edward Bernstein. “They are truly a bridge who bring their expertise, experiences, and network from the community to our patients.”
Staff from Project ASSERT are present in the ED from 8:00 AM-12:00 AM daily and when a patient arrives at the ED who might be a candidate for services, they begin a non-judgmental conversation with someone from Project ASSERT, with the goal of determining if treatment is necessary and then making it easier for the patient to make healthy changes in their life. If the patient agrees to treatment for their drug or alcohol behavior, the HPA will help connect the patient to a substance abuse treatment center and with any other needed services (i.e. insurance, transportation, primary care, temporary housing, etc.), as well as referrals to health and social services, and primary care services at BMC.
"Project ASSERT is an inclusive program that respects the patients decision around their choice of care,” says Ludy Young, MEd, LADC1 Project ASSERT Supervisor. Patients have complete access to care, even after they have left the ED. Project ASSERT is a valuable resource in the community that strives to provide any help ED patients with substance use dependency issues may need to make them well, overall.
For more information on Project ASSERT call 617.414.4388. Representatives are available 9:00 AM – midnight, Sunday-Saturday, including holidays.