Providing the COVID-19 Vaccine


Patients were coming to Main Street Addiction Recovery Center unvaccinated and uncertain about getting the COVID vaccine. However, news about filling emergency rooms and spread of the Delta variant has caused growing concern. In addition, the Recovery Center is working to keep their patient population safe and build trust that the facility is a protective environment to receive care. To create this safer environment and offer patients an important public health service, Main Street Addiction Recovery Center decided to commence the braided strategy of administering COVID vaccines.

There were two key steps required to implement this braided strategy:

  1. The Center had to apply to become a COVID vaccine provider from the local public health department and secure promotional COVID vaccine materials and doses of the vaccine (once approved).
  2. Workflow needed to be adjusted so patients (and even members of the public) could receive the vaccine without interrupting existing clinical workflows.

Based on NIATx guidance, the Center established a NIATx team to quickly implement the new service. The team completed a NIATx Charter Form, which outlined how the change would be tested and implemented. They developed a flowchart of the new workflow and conducted a patient simulation walkthrough to work out the initial kinks of the service. Once the service was tested on a half-dozen patients, the team reconvened to finalize how the service would be delivered. A private exam room was created off the lobby where patients could get their vaccines, as well as extended release naltrexone injections. The flowchart also included the required steps to receive revenue for the service. Finally, a sustain leader was assigned to the project so the Center can ensure the service continues to work effectively.

Mutually Beneficial Outcomes of Braided Strategies

  • Patients can conveniently receive a service that could prevent sickness, long-term disability, or even death without having to schedule another appointment, fill out paperwork, etc.
  • The Recovery Center realizes multiple benefits, including:
    • Keeping staff safe.
    • Earning additional (limited) revenue from administering the vaccine.
    • Preventing lost revenue from patients who have avoided the Recovery Center out of concerns for their safety (a reality during the initial COVID pandemic).
    • Establishing the Center’s reputation with patients and the public as more than a behavioral health provider.
  • Of the 140 patients served thus far, there have been zero lost charges and a significant increase in reported patient satisfaction at the ease of getting protection from COVID.