Espanola Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) Clinic Grand Opening

(left to right) Jon Brunetti, Primary Care Manager Espanola Regional Hospital and Health Centre, Jane Battistelli, Jane Battistelli, Director of Clinical Services /Chief Nursing Officer, Espanola Regional Hospital and Health Centre, Nancy Lacasse, Director with the North East LHIN, Dr. Brian Dressler, and Stephanie Paquette, Mental Health and Addiction Lead with the North East LHIN.

Increasing Access and Coordination of Addiction Treatment for People in Espanola

June 11, 2019 – People in the Espanola area are now receiving more timely medical treatment for substance use disorders closer to home.

The Espanola Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) Clinic, based in the Espanola and Area Family Health Team, had its grand opening on Tuesday to introduce patients and partners to its location on the Espanola Regional Hospital and Health Centre campus as well as to share information about the service. The clinic provides expedited, barrier-free treatment for patients who have a substance use disorders, particularly with alcohol or opioid use.

The RAAM clinic is part of the North East Local Health Integration Network’s (North East LHIN) Regional Opioid Strategy, designed to meet the rising rates of opioid use disorder, accidental overdoses, hospitalizations, and hospital emergency room visits across Northeastern Ontario. The strategy was developed by the Regional Mental Health and Addiction Advisory Council which continues to work with local mental health and addiction planning tables across the region to support implementation, ensuring Northerners have timely and equitable access to care.

How the Espanola RAAM Clinic Works

The RAAM clinic is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, weekdays; it welcomes walk-ins or calls to find out more about its services (705-862-7991 ext. 4245). No referral is necessary, although referrals from doctors, nurses, social workers, addiction counselors, and community providers are certainly accepted. Patients will be seen by an Addiction Worker within 24-48 hours after calling the clinic or after referral. They will then be seen by the Addiction Specialist to create and implement a treatment and medication plan. Through the RAAM clinic, patients can also access addiction counselling, case management and receive assistance in securing residential treatment services. 

The RAAM model is designed to initiate therapy for Substance Use Disorders, primarily opioid or alcohol use, and then transition clients to the most appropriate ongoing care provider. It is not intended to replace or duplicate the care provided by a primary care provider.

Espanola’s RAAM clinic is unique in that it is based on a strong collaboration between the Family Health Team and the hospital, as well as the Espanola & Area Mental Health / Addictions Community of Care Planning Network made up of more than 20 agencies.

The North East LHIN’s Strategy uses a “hub and spoke” model, in which larger RAAM Clinics are located within each sub-region’s urban centre (the hub) with links (spokes) to outlying areas. The Espanola RAAM Clinic is a “spoke” site connected to a hub in Sudbury, operated by Health Sciences North.