RWJBH Institute for Prevention and Recovery eclipses 100K patient referrals to Peer Recovery Program

The RWJBarnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery’s Peer Recovery Program recently surpassed its 100,000th patient referral milestone, according to a release from the health system.

Since its start, PRP has helped to save countless lives by providing compassionate, evidence-based recovery services that meet patients where they are and continue throughout their recovery journey.

PRP’s 100,000-patient-referral milestone demonstrates IFPR’s ability to provide patient-centered, whole-person services to patients across the state. As part of this approach, IFPR also works to reduce substance use disorder stigma by addressing SUD as a medical condition.

RWJBarnabas Health’s PRP provides 24/7 hospital-based recovery support services for all patients who present with SUD, employing over 100 nationally certified Peer Recovery Specialists systemwide.

Peer Recovery Specialists, who are in recovery from substance use disorder for a minimum of four years, provide peer support as part of the full continuum of care for individuals with SUD. PRP also provides clinical navigation and case management for patients in need of clinical services. All services offered by PRP go beyond the hospital’s four walls and provide long-term support in the communities where the patients work and live.

Since its establishment in 2016, IFPR’s PRP has provided low-barrier access to recovery support services for all patients who present with SUD in RWJBarnabas Health emergency departments and inpatient units.

In response to the rise in SUD, in 2023, the program saw an increase of 2,000 patient referrals from 2022, totaling an estimated 20,000 patients referred in 2023.

By implementing innovative solutions to tackle SUD, such as comprehensive provider education, evidenced-based resources and automatic chart triggers, PRP helps enable health care providers to seamlessly connect PRP staff with a patient in need. These solutions help to improve access to life-saving SUD services.

“Our program’s peer recovery specialists, patient navigators and case managers embody a harm reduction-focused, holistic, patient-centered approach to recovery. Their dedication and shared experience empower individuals to confront substance use and overcome physical, mental and emotional obstacles to healing,” Michael Litterer, vice president, RWJBarnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery, said. “As we mark this milestone, we’re grateful for the individuals who have exhibited tremendous courage by accepting our help and are reminded of the far-reaching impact addiction still has within our communities. We remain committed to supporting individuals throughout every stage of their recovery journey. Everyone knows someone impacted by substance use. By increasing access to peer recovery supports, we take great strides in making communities across New Jersey healthier.”

PRP teams are currently available 24/7 at 11 of RWJBarnabas Health’s 12 New Jersey hospitals, with plans to expand to Hamilton this spring, ensuring patients throughout the system can access these vital services.