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JPS Earns New Federal Grant to Expand Care for Patients with Substance Use Disorders

JPS  Health Center

Grant awards nearly $5 million over five years to enhance JPS capabilities in crisis and preventive care

JPS Health Network has received a new federal grant to increase identification and treatment of patients with substance use disorders (SUD). The UPLIFT grant, one of only eleven awarded nationwide, totals almost $5 million over the next five years and will be used to implement screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment at three locations.


“The substance use problem in our community isn’t going anywhere,” says Dr. Melissa Acosta, JPS Director for Clinical Research. “This grant will help us help people right away, and allow us to build more capacity for treatment that is sustainable over the long term.”

Federal data shows overdose deaths by prescription drugs went up by 35% between 2019 and 2020 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with increases also seen in deaths from cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin use.

The new grant is the second one awarded to JPS in the past two years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. The first grant, awarded last year, is helping fund JPS efforts to treat individuals with substance use disorder, targeting more critical cases and implementing the concept of a bridge clinic to connect patients to additional care as needed.

“This new grant will allow us to address the front end of the spectrum, including early diagnosis and treatment, before we get to that crisis point,” says Dr. Acosta. “We try to meet the people where they are. We can intervene by helping them set healthier lifestyle goals, discuss the risks, and encourage a change in behaviors.”

“This new grant will allow us to address the front end of the spectrum, including early diagnosis and treatment, before we get to that crisis point.”

The latest SAMHSA grant will be applied at three locations which will be best equipped to address the greatest need as identified by demographic data, specifically the Viola M. Pitts/Como and the Stop Six/Walter B. Barbour Health Centers, and the JPS main campus.

“UPLIFT funding will be used for direct patient care in both the inpatient and outpatient services. Patients who struggle with substances will have increased access to resources and treatment,” says Dr. Katherine Buck, Director of Behavioral Science in the JPS Family Medicine Residency. Dr. Buck is the principal investigator for the grant, responsible for programmatic aspects as well as day-to-day management.

“Given our role in managing the health of all Tarrant County citizens, it is crucial for JPS to also address this key, but often overlooked, area of health,” says Dr. Buck. “We know that patients with substance use disorders often do not get the healthcare they need. As a provider of both mental health care and high quality primary care, JPS is poised to meet patents where they are to receive this care when they need it.”

The grant will also fund five additional positions for JPS to hire staff members to directly address the substance abuse issues in those locations and build its capacity for SUD treatment over time. “We will be looking for more opportunities to build our capability to help our community,” says Dr. Acosta.

This new grant covers medicines, and can additionally be used to pay for transfers to and care in other facilities for patients that need long term treatment options.

The grant also pays for some ancillary services such IT costs to set up the infrastructure needed to address the needs of these patients. Plans at JPS include computer-based tools and forms to help collect and maintain patient data and integrate it with existing systems, giving healthcare providers a broader view of the patient’s needs.