Sarah Crawford and Ted Rogalski stand on stage holding a plaque

Sarah Crawford, Grant and Population Health Manager at Jersey Community Hospital, Jerseyville, 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 Jersey Community Hospital District, Jerseyville, for the CARES Consortium Revitalization Project 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 Lincoln Memorial Hospital, for their Swing Bed Outcomes Improvement Project.

The Community Awards showcase ICAHN member hospitals that initiated a new approach to improve patient relationships and care, implemented a new process flow or life-safety improvement, found a creative way to motivate and inspire staff, and improved the well-being of staff or patients.

The CARES (Community Addiction Recovery and Education Services) Consortium was designed in response to the opioid epidemic and statistics released from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) regarding a large increase in opioid overdose deaths in Jersey county. The goal of the program is to reduce stigma around substance use disorders (SUD) and mental health, create awareness for local resources, identify community needs and opportunities to fill those needs, and break down any divisions between organizations and find ways to work together.

In collaboration with local law enforcement, Jerseyville Community Hospital was able to bring Medication Assisted Recovery (MAR) into the community jail. The program screens detainees for SUD upon entry, and then connects them with a nurse practitioner who helps diagnose and works one-on-one with individuals, bringing treatment directly into the jail.

“This innovative approach meets individuals seeking recovery where they’re at, without delay,” said Sarah Crawford, Grants and Population Heath Manager at Jersey Community Hospital.

To date, the MAR program has helped more than 250 patients in seeking recovery.

CARES Consortium has also brought vital education to the area’s youth. Jersey Community Hospital’s Pediatric Nurse Practitioner gave presentations to local junior high students about vaping. She also talked with high school athletes and their parents about substance abuse and mental health.

“Youth form a critical demographic, as they are at a pivotal stage in their lives where early intervention can prevent the development of substance use habits,” said Crawford. “Students have shared that they have a desire to stop vaping and/or want to find resources to share with their parents who use substances.”

The CARES Consortium has a community-centric mission and continues to work to break down barriers and stigmas regarding SUDs and mental health and continues to provide education and resources.

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.