Healthy Connections, a multi-partner group addressing the opioid addiction problem in western West Virginia and spearheaded by Marshall University and Marshall Health, has received a $1 million, in-kind gift from Quality Insights, a national health care company headquartered in Charleston.

The gift, which will be over a three-year period, includes a loaned executive who will serve as a program coordinator for Healthy Connections handling the program’s full-time responsibilities. Crystal Welch, M.S.N., R.N., currently an education and training lead for Quality Insights, has been named to the position.

“Collaboration is key to solving the opioid crisis that affects so many aspects of our community,” said Bob Hansen, director of addiction services for Marshall Health and the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.  “The agreement with Quality Insights provides Healthy Connections with more tools to deliver services in a region where help is desperately needed. We are eager for Crystal Welch to join us.”

Quality Insights specializes in improving health care through education, data, networking and individualized technical assistance. Its 300+ employees and consultants lead local, regional and national initiatives for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Veterans Health Administration (VHA), state governments, private payers and more. In addition to providing networking, web and data support services, Quality Insights will determine the effectiveness of Healthy Connection’s communications campaigns for future community health endeavors.

“We are honored to lend our resources and expertise to such a dedicated coalescence of partners,” said Sven Berg, M.D., chief executive officer of Quality Insights. “This contribution not only supports our mission of bringing people and information together to improve health, but also represents a springboard for further statewide collaboration that will move us closer to a future where improving health is a priority in every community.”

Healthy Connections was launched in 2017 and includes representation from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, River Valley Cares, the City of Huntington, Lily’s Place, Marshall Health, Cabell Huntington Health Department and Marshall University.  The program is a clearinghouse to help those affected by substance use to identify treatment options and support services including trained recovery coaches, child care and life skills.

(Leah C. Payne for Marshall University).