Patrick Small stands on a stage with Ted Rogalski holding a plaque

Patrick Small, Emergency Department Manager at HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital, Highland (right) and Ted Rogalski, Administrator at Genesis Medical Center, Aledo, and 2023 ICAHN Board President

The Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN) announced its 2023 “Community Project” winners, including HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital, Highland, with their Overdose Prevention and Recovery Access Program, during the organization’s 20th Anniversary Annual Conference held November 28 and 29 at the I-Hotel and Conference Center, Champaign.

They are joined in this honor with Carle Richland Memorial Hospital, Olney, for their Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Program.

The Community Award recognizes ICAHN member hospitals that have implemented a program that strengthened the health and well=being of their communities and have built a partnership with community organizations such as schools, elderly services, children’s groups, prevention groups, or faith-based organizations.

HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital has partnered with the Metro East Recovery Council, Bond County Recovery Council, Chestnut Health Systems, and the Gateway Foundation to increase community awareness about the dangers of overdoses and to provide information and access to assistance to the community for substance abuse disorders.

The Overdose Prevention and Recovery Access Program was developed in response to the increase of drug and alcohol-related visits to their hospital. This program was designed to provide ongoing support and care to individuals.

“We recognize that the path to recovery only begins here, and does not end when our patients are discharged,” said Patrick Small, Emergency Department Manager at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital..
Since the program’s inception, the hospital was able to participate in a community-wide drug take-back day and brought in a safe drop-off box for medication. They have participated in community events to share information and resources, as well as distributing Narcan to community members.

HSHS St. Joseph’s offers free Narcan through their emergency department. They are also involved in a warm hand-off program designed to ensure that patients get where they need to be.
The Overdose Prevention and Recovery Access Program hopes to expand beyond the Highland community, and to provide resources to those throughout the county and the Metro East.

“This is important so that we are able to help prevent deaths from substance use, assist family members who are dealing with substance use, and bring access to resources the people who need it the most,” said Small.
Located in Princeton, IL, ICAHN is a network of 59 small, rural hospitals dedicated to strengthening the operations of its member hospitals through collaboration. The organization is composed of Illinois hospitals who have earned critical access hospital designation by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is recognized nationally for its work with rural healthcare, administering several state, federal, and private healthcare programs.